Ex-Education Ministry deputy chief ditches politics for philanthropy

Avi Ganon tapped to lead nonprofit organization helping marginalized populations start businesses and create job opportunities; 'At IVN, we have the privilege and ability to turn around the lives of many Israeli citizens'

Former Education Ministry director-general Avi Ganon is leaving the public sector and was tapped to lead a philanthropy group aiming to empower disadvantaged groups.
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Ganon will lead IVN – Israel Venture Network, a nonprofit organization focused on reducing social inequalities in Israel via advanced management tools, support, empowerment, and employment opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
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Avi Ganon
Avi Ganon
Avi Ganon
(Photo: GPO)
Ganon, 53, has over 25 years of educational experience. He began his career in the Prime Minister's Office as head of the education department of "Nativ" in the Former Soviet Union. He continued at World ORT, the largest and oldest educational organization focused on disseminating scientific and technological knowledge to Jewish youth worldwide.
Over the years, Ganon established himself as CEO of ORT's local representation in Israel, "Kadima Mada," and later as CEO of World ORT. He advanced cutting-edge projects in technological education, established massive-scale educational infrastructures in Israel and 40 countries globally, excelled in resource development, and built partnerships with the world's most prominent educational and welfare institutions.
As Education Ministry deputy director-general, he served as chairman of the committee for coexistence and the chair of the committee in charge of standardizing the Ulpan services in Israel. He was responsible for running large-scale infrastructure projects in youth villages across Israel and established the authority and administration accountable for the education of Bedouin children.
Furthermore, Ganon oversaw implementing the arrival and integration of 10,000 Ukrainian children and facilitating the relationship with the Jewish Diaspora education services.
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עולה חדש
עולה חדש
Ukrainian Olim making their way to Israel
(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews)
"IVN is turning a new page with the board of directors' decision to appoint Avi Ganon as CEO, who brings his rich experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. Avi has been tasked with expanding IVN into new realms and drawing in new partners," stated IVN Vice Chairman Benny Levin. "With Avi, IVN will expand its operations to a more diverse audience while offering tools for advanced employment opportunities."
Ganon, ahead of assuming his role as IVN CEO, said, "IVN has the potential to be a game changer in social activism and the bridge between Israeli and Jewish philanthropy. I see a tremendous social calling in this position and will hone my relationships and partnerships across all sectors in Israel to create efficient and immediate solutions to empower the country's disadvantaged populations."
IVN was founded twenty years ago by American and Israeli high-tech executives under the leadership of Arik Ben Hamo, Shlomo Dovrat, Nir Barkat, Benny Levin, and Itsik Danziger, who wished to hone their rich business experience and management practices to lead successful social initiatives in Israel.
In recent years, IVN has employed a model of Impact Investment for social businesses in Israel. The organization has invested over $8.5 million in funds offering loans with comfortable conditions and offering mentorship to dozens of enterprises to meet their social and economic goals.
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Ultra-Orthodox men receive computer training
Ultra-Orthodox men receive computer training
Ultra-Orthodox men receive computer training
(Photo: Eli Mandelbaum)
Thanks to these practices, IVN has successfully ensured a stable career for over 3500 employees from disadvantaged backgrounds (at-risk youth, persons with disabilities, ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, and more). So far, over 10,000 men, women, and children have benefitted from the opportunity to develop themselves and earn respectable salaries.
In the last five years, thanks to the involvement of IVN's members and partnerships with philanthropic funds and government bodies, IVN launched several innovative projects and models focused on talent development, recruitment, and employment of Ultra-Orthodox men in leading high-tech companies in Israel.
This year, over 500 ultra-Orthodox men received training and reached an unprecedented 90% success rate in overall job placement in software development positions.
In its early days, IVN was focused on educational projects, with the flagship project "Avnei Rasha" Institute, a training school for school principals, created in collaboration with "Yad Hanadiv" and the Ministry of Education.
Under Ganon's leadership, IVN is expected to expand its operation model in new directions. The fund will identify social and educational issues and develop scalable, efficient, and immediate solutions using its members' expertise, partnering with government offices, funds, and philanthropies.
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