Division for advancement and external relation, working together - HUJI Bulletin HUJI bulletin

October 22, 2020


Dear Friends, in lieu of our regular bulletin, we are sending out a letter with an update on our Division's activities this year. This is an English version of what will be sent out to the entire University community next week. Thank you to all who sent detailed updates - due to space we were not able to include everything (particularly the very comprehensive updates from the Friends), these will be included in future bulletins. We look forward to "seeing" you on Sunday and Monday at the BOG.

The Division for Advancement and External Relations – Working Together  

Our Mission  

To strengthen the Hebrew University's ties with its supporters and to provide support for partners and Friends in Israel and throughout the world in order to secure the resources necessary for the continued development of the Hebrew University as a world-leading institution, extending the frontiers of knowledge for the benefit of Israel, the Jewish people, and humanity. 

A Seven Year Campaign: A Tradition of Innovation  

We are in the middle of a seven-year fund raising campaign (2018-2025), under the banner, A Tradition of Innovation. Bridging between the University’s history as a leading research institution and current researchers, facilities, and students, the Campaign brings the Hebrew University’s ongoing excellence to the fore.  

Over the course of the campaign, we aim to raise $1 billion for the University. (Prior to the campaign, we were raising 1 billion over 9.5 years). To this end, we have developed (and continue to develop) a website, films, brochures and other materials to introduce the University’s top-notch faculty, programs, and projects to our supporters worldwide.  

To date, we have raised $377 million, of which $145 million were raised 2019/20 – a record-setting amount for our University!  

Last year our Division launched our "working together" initiative that includes multiple layers. We have found that the power of partnership in a changing world brings us together. 

  • We created partnership circles of individuals with a common goal in order to leverage the differences and diversity that exist between the participants. 
  • These individuals must feel ownership of the change, and from these circles, work teams with common goals must be created. 
  • For this to work, there must be a real and structured dialogue with the environment and the partners with whom we want to impact. It’s key to listen to the opinions of everyone who is involved, and for them to be a part of shaping the goal and changing/improving the reality. It is after all for this benefit that the resources are mobilized. 
  • Another issue we are focusing on is raising awareness of the University' role on social impact. This is done through a variety of tools such as the importance of measuring the impact of donations, as well as additional steps in that direction, taken together with other partners. 
  • Another issue that keeps us occupied is the ability to use AI tools, digital technologies, and the wisdom of the crowd. All with the goal of improving our abilities to reach new donors, alumni, and friends and have a conversation with them that will benefit all.  


Fundraising in the Age of the Coronavirus  

The pandemic and its effects were well-felt within our Division. We sprung into action along with the University’s dedicated researchers and scientists, seeking (and successfully obtaining!) support and funds for their cutting-edge research.  

We worked with faculty members to define coronavirus research activities and specific needs, while collaborating with our Friends associations and lay leaders worldwide to systematically approach donors and funding sources. We are extremely proud to have raised $16 million to date specifically for coronavirus research. This is in addition to the million shekels that were raised primarily from our Israeli friends in support of student scholarships.  

Although many of our Division’s ongoing activities were disrupted by the Coronavirus (e.g. ceremonies, visits), we were able to leverage the “pandemic time” to advance our fundraising efforts in many new and creative ways, as outlined below.  

The Inner Workings  

Although many of us have been working for the Division for decades, this year we took a giant professional step forward by developing and participating in a course on Philanthropy. The course featured faculty speakers and outside lecturers and was also attended by representatives of other University units.  

The Division comprises a variety of units and an archive. 

The Visitors & Outreach 

In ordinary times, this Unit organizes on-campus visits and organizes tours for donors, academics, government leaders, foundations, missions, delegations, and VIPs – from all around the world. The Unit also sends student ambassadors and faculty members to Friends events worldwide. Between October 2019 and February 2020, the Unit hosted 150 visits from 29 countries – comprising 1,200 visitors!  

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Unit has been doing outreach – primarily online. With much thanks to Zoom, the Unit has brought together scholarship recipients and funders and held webinars, virtual parlor meetings, and more. On average, 3-5 such meetings take place a week.  

Together with the Donors Services Unit, we’ve organized HUJI Campaign School, a virtual and in-depth introduction to various University departments and programs – for the benefit of our fundraisers and lay leaders worldwide.   

Ceremonies & Events 

This Unit organizes all management ceremonies and events that take place on campus. These include scholarship ceremonies, the inauguration of new centers or labs, the launching of new scholarship fund, the dedication of faculty chairs, and more. More often than not, these ceremonies and events are tailored to recognize and honor a particular donor or family who has reached a milestone in their relationship with the University.  

In addition, the Ceremonies & Events Unit oversees and coordinates the annual Board of Governors. While all Division staff play a role in the board – from planning logistics, to creating written materials, and staffing events, this Unit orchestrates the entire effort.      

Needless to say, the Coronavirus greatly reduced the number of in-person events this past year. Yet the Unit organized two noteworthy visits. The first, ambassadors to Israel visited ELSC in June, touring the labs and meeting the researchers. Second, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin visited the University’s research laboratories.  

Donor Services 

This unit writes all proposals and contracts for funding and reports on donations. They also identify new donor opportunities. Since the coronavirus, proposals have included projects which encompassed every faculty and topics ranged from entrepreneurship and computational medicine to student services and scholarships, legal clinics, digital humanities, disability studies, theater, children’s rights, nanotechnology, photography, musicology - and much more. 

The Hebrew University shows its profound appreciation to donors in many ways: reports on how their gift has made a difference, special ceremonies, thank you letters from grateful students, engraving the donor's name on one of the prestigious walls of recognition, or by creating a plaque on the site of the funded project.  

Marketing & Communication  

This Unit develops marketing and communication materials, including brochures, films, a website, newsletters, Scopus, the annual donor magazine, and more. Thmaterials, which are aligned with the current campaign, A Tradition of Innovation, are developed in collaboration with HU faculty and Friends associations worldwide, in order to maximize their effectiveness among University donors. These publications highlight various University programs, projects, and proposals, sharing the achievements and activities of the University faculty, staff, and students. These materials help Friends associations raise the profile of the Hebrew University among their donors and communities.    

International Desks 

Since the earliest days of the Hebrew University almost 100 years ago, a network of Friends organizations has been established across 30 countries and every continent – including in Israel. Their raison d’etre, both professional and lay teams, is to act as partners in the Hebrew University’s growth, standards of excellence and global impact, promoting the University and engaging in fund-raising.  


The North American, British/Australian/South African, Latin American and European Desks all work directly with the different friends organizations to make their goals achievable. The Desk Directors are in extensive contact with the representatives of the Friends organizations, and they handle fundraising projects, such as major scholarship projects and other various donations, both through the Friends organizations and others.   



Months before the pandemic started, the Division has been hosting webinars (a tradition of innovation) but since the onset of the pandemic we  quickly kicked into gear and has since held 28 webinars on topics ranging from the financial impact of the coronavirus, agriculture, medicine, and many more. All are available here for viewing


Our Friends Worldwide  

Israeli Friends and Israeli Alumni Association: 

The Israeli Friends and Alumni Association work with two main target audiences in Israel: University graduates, and Friends and members of the Board of Governors. 


The pandemic has greatly affected all sectors of the Israeli economy and impacts the work as a result. The nonprofit sector was particularly affected, and many health/aid organizations have launched emergency fundraising campaigns to save lives and purchase medical equipment. The Division launched an emergency fundraising campaign for an aid fund for students in-need. Fundraising focused mainly on donations from graduates and Israeli Friends. In addition, significant contributions were raised for coronavirus research at the University.  


Steps that the Association has taken include to help strengthen the organization and stay top of mind with alumni and donors include the following: developing an alumni database, programs for alumni involvement to help create a sense of pride and belonging, the Alumni Credit Card Club, alumni benefits, events and collaborations, the Leading Alumni Forum (targeting strategic alumni), profiling leading alumni online, conferences, Career Development, assisting friends organizations to establish an International Alumni Database, promoting under-represented populations among our graduates (Hebrew graduates from Arab, Ethiopian, ultra-Orthodox society), developing a crowd funding platform,  and projects on Socio-Economic Impact. 


European Friends 

The main mission of the European office has always been to raise donations for the Hebrew University as well as to develop relationships and raise awareness through its Friends Associations in Europe. In the past year and since the beginning of the Corona virus, its Office has changed its focus to include activities and projects such as: prospecting and successfully securing funds from significant philanthropic foundations in Europe in a very systematic and efficient way with the friends in Europe, establishing a strategic plan that will connect to the French-speaking population in Israel, increasing the number of webinars spreading awareness about HU amongst new audiences (not only limited to Friends of the University), working closely with our European friends ; and strengthening and renewing relationships with elderly Friends in Europe who have benefited from frequents calls during the challenging time in quarantine. 

American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU)  

AFHU exists to connect the passions of Americans to the talent at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And its success is thanks to a devoted lay leadership, a close relationship with the University, and a talented team of fundraising professions.  

Throughout the year, AFHU holds events, galas, ceremonies, and programs across the United States. These events recognize donors, raise significant funds, host Hebrew University faculty members, award scholarships, or highlight specific University programs.  

AFHU maintains an active online presence, while also coordinating with US media outlets to feature Hebrew University faculty. Since the pandemic, AFHU has held numerous webinars and online events, bringing together supporters, faculty, lay leaders, and alumni.  

Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU) 

CFHU has adapted its activities to the pandemic, maintaining a close relationship with the University, while continuing to host socially distanced events throughout the summer. Virtual events have included an online book club and HUJI@Home, an online series of talks featuring HUJI academics. A new line-up will begin this November.  


In addition, CFHU has been organizing virtual meetings between donors and recipients. These moving encounters received wonderful feedback, and they see potential for such meetings beyond the pandemic.  


CFHU also promotes a Professorship Exchange between the HU and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Due to the pandemic, the most recent “exchange” required the “visitor” to teach in the wee hours of the night, due to the time difference.  


British Friends of the Hebrew University (BFHU) 

BFHU enjoys a strong local and international reputation and enjoys working closely with the Hebrew University and other Friends organizations worldwide. BFHU works on long-term, multi-generational relationships and maintains tight contact with its donors.  


The BFHU team is fully dedicated to meeting their annual fundraising goals, while remaining engaged and motivated at work. When the pandemic struck, BFHU quickly transitioned all its programming online. Their website and social media channels had recently been revamped, offering a great viewing experience to the public and supporters. In addition, BFHU employed Zoom to connect with donors, the University, and other Friends organizations worldwide – enabling a new form of outreach and taking cooperation between Friends up a level.   

BFHU publishes the annual magazine Future and distributes 4,000 copies as part of their Rosh Hashana annual appeal. The organization continues to grow their database. Looking forward, 2020/21 is being planned as a year without visits to/from HU or face-to-face events within the UK.  


Brazilian Friends of the Hebrew University  

The Brazilian Friends hosted a March dinner to grant the Scopus Award to Dr. Celso Lafer, in gratitude for his continued support of the Hebrew University and the community of Sao Paulo. This event was attended by 150 people, who heard about different HU research projects, especially ELSC projects.  


In August, the Brazilian Friends participated in the Zoom “fair” that the Brazil-Israel Federation organized in Sao Paulo, showcasing academic opportunities at all degree levels at the Hebrew University.  


Argentinian Friends of the Hebrew University  

The Argentinian Friends organize a number of symposia and conference sessions, in which they pay tribute to noteworthy donors and host Hebrew University faculty who talk about their research. The most recent conference focused on the intersection between the Armenian Genocide and the Shoah.  


As the pandemic struck, the Argentinian Friends moved their activity online, and hosted two webinar series for the Spanish-speaking public. Each of the seven webinars featured a local speaker alongside a member of the Hebrew University faculty and reached hundreds of viewers. A special webinar was presented in honor of Engineer Roberto Nul, an honorary fellow of HU and a member of the Argentinian Friends Board.  


In August, the Argentinian Friends organized an online exposure to the Hebrew University mechina, introducing students to academic opportunities at HU. They are currently focusing broadening their alumni network and connecting alumni with the University. Lastly, the Argentinian Friends launched The Academy, online courses attended by participants from Latin America, North America, and Europe.  


South African Friends of the Hebrew University (SAFHU) 

Last year, SAFHU sent 12 top academics and administrators from universities in South Africa to visit HU and encourage collaboration. The academics met with Yissum and soon SA companies will partner with Yissum and HU. 


SAFHU has been involved in Higher Education Expos and makes significant strides in encouraging South African students to study at the Hebrew University, with attractive scholarships available to students.  


The main source of fundraising is through bequests (due to SA tax legislation). Financial and legal advisors encourage clients, where appropriate to leave bequests to HU.  


Australian Friends of the Hebrew University (AUFHU) 

Founded in 1936, the Australian Friends are active in bringing awareness about Hebrew University to the Australian community, raising funds and encouraging bequests, and encouraging Australian students to study abroad at HU.  


In June, the Annual Yearbook was sent - a publication of over 100 pages - including adverts – with articles on HU related stories. AUFHU has entered into a partnership with the only Jewish newspaper in Australia, the Australian Jewish News to foster relationships between the youth and older generation through a proposed “Einstein It Show” but due to the pandemic, it has not been possible to progress the concept for the moment.