Photo Credit: Image by Robert Cheaib from Pixabay

Ogen (the name means Anchor), a social lending enterprise offering credit solutions and financial guidance for low- and middle-income Israelis, on Wednesday announced a significant expansion of its impact goals for the Swords of Iron Emergency Relief Fund, which provides individuals, non-profit organizations, and small businesses with zero and low-interest loans. Having so far raised $55 million for the fund, a new fundraising target of $100 million will help expand Ogen’s reach to impact over a quarter of a million individuals.

With its 33-year track record of rapid crisis response, Ogen is uniquely positioned as Israel’s sole social lender to provide immediate support in cases where government assistance is delayed or insufficient. As such, Ogen is offering interest-free loans of up to 60,000 NIS to individuals and families experiencing financial hardships as a result of the war.


The fund, launched in the wake of the unprecedented and brutal attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists on October 7, has already made significant strides, providing critical loans totaling $21 million to date, with over half directed to Israel’s social periphery. Among the vulnerable populations being supported, farmers and reserve soldiers have received targeted assistance, ensuring their ongoing resilience and vital contributions to Israeli society.

However, with a staggering $109.2 million in loan requests, it’s evident that the need for aid far outstrips current resources. Small businesses have sought $75.1 million, families $14.9 million, and non-profits $4.1 million, highlighting the widespread impact of the conflict on diverse sectors of society. Recognizing the escalating need, Ogen is now announcing its new fundraising goal to further strengthen its capacity to assist families, businesses, and non-profits. The loans provided by the funds are expected to help over 250,000 Israelis directly and indirectly.

The success of the fundraising campaign was made possible through generous donations from Trudy and Bob Gottesman; businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison; the Jewish Federations of North America, which awarded Ogen a $10 million grant and an additional $2 million to SparkIL, which is jointly owned by Ogen and the Jewish Agency for Israel; UJA NY, which contributed $1.5m; and others. Ogen stretches donations through blended financing, ensuring each dollar donated multiplies its impact, thereby expanding its reach and providing vital assistance where it’s most needed.

With the war taking a toll on the financial stability of reserve soldiers and their households, Ogen has earmarked a 30 million NIS loan fund to provide concrete assistance to approximately 30,000 small business owners and self-employed individuals who have served in the IDF reserves since the start of the war. Through the Reservists Fund, eligible individuals will have access to loans of up to 650,000 NIS with low-interest rates set at prime minus 2%, significantly lower than the prevailing market rates, and borrowers will benefit from a grace period of up to 3 months for loan repayments. Ogen’s partners in establishing the Reservists Fund include  Shari Arison, Jonathan Bendheim, the Civil Emergency Headquarters, Brothers and Sisters for Israel, the municipality of Sderot, and the JGive donation platform.

Alongside its lending activity, Ogen has also created mentorship and financial guidance opportunities for more than 600 small businesses, 90 nonprofits, and over 100 families. Many of these are continuing into long-term mentoring processes which will create financial resilience to cope with the uncertainty of the current situation. Additionally, and with the support of its generous donors, Ogen has recently opened a new impact center in Jerusalem to meet growing demand.


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