TOPAZ is an international dynamic social change movement that initiated and incorporates Israeli and International Social Change enterprises and movements. Topaz engages passionate social entrepreneurs, activists and social leaders, working in the Israeli social field and the international development arena since 2000. In the past twenty years, Topaz advanced over sixty creative new initiatives.
Together with its partners, both in Israel and worldwide, Topaz pursues a wide range of education, social welfare, health, the Arts, international volunteering, women empowerment, disaster relief and humanitarian aid, intensive agriculture, and refugee assistance. Through its work, Topaz contributes to the Israeli society and global well-being by advancing Tikkun Olam (the Jewish value of “repairing the world”) notions and values. Topaz has established several branches around the world. The most prominent among them are in Germany and Uganda. The 2021 – 2024 work plan focuses on opening new chapters in the United States, Russia, France, Brazil, and South Korea. Besides, Topaz continues to operate in various countries through Brit Olam’s, Inspiration’s and Natan platforms, operations and programs, and the growing IMPROVE movement.
To enhance social change, promote social engagement and advocate social justice by advancing a wide range of innovative intervention models, knowledge management platforms and human capacity building strategies. Through our social ventures, we increase pluralism, tolerance and social resilience. Through creative social innovations, we turn social challenges into opportunities, which unravel social problems and reinforce sustainable change.
Topaz works in the social and public spheres to ensure that Israel will provide high quality social, educational, health and cultural services to all its citizens. Topaz believes that Israeli society must be a sensitive and supportive society for global and universal needs and challenges. A society that preserves and promotes the civil, social and cultural rights of every person and every citizen whoever he may be and wherever he may be.
Four sets of core values are embedded into all operations: 1) pluralism and social tolerance 2) civil and social justice 3) commitment to peace – between people, cultures and among nations and 4) the values of voluntarism, mutual responsibility, giving and compassion.
Topaz’s overall goal is to advance social change and develop civil society infrastructure through entrepreneurship, volunteering and developing international social change movements in education, welfare, health, sustainability, culture and recreation both in Israel and worldwide.
✔ Initiating, designing and operating replicable and high social impact social programs and developing social change movements in Israel and worldwide.
✔ Empowering and improving the quality of life of disadvantaged populations and marginalized groups, primarily focusing on children and youth at risk and their families.
✔ Identifying and nurturing social entrepreneurs who fuse a deep social commitment with great compassion and endurance.
✔ Exporting and assimilating Israeli knowledge in the areas of social entrepreneurship and development.
✔ Advancing international development projects and delivering humanitarian aid in health, education, community development and gender equality, agriculture and livelihood.
✔ Developing educational, social, and artistic projects and institutions that combine art, leadership, and social change strategies.
✔ Creating and operating civil society infrastructure programs in the fields of digital technology, volunteerism and lay leadership.
✔ Activating an Israeli-Jewish volunteer movement in Israel and the Diaspora, based on Israeli culture and tradition’s universal and humanitarian values .
Volunteering and Lay Leadership Our members, volunteers and activists represent a wide array of citizens from diverse fields, including the social sciences, social work, law, philosophy, and business. Many of our programs are carried out on a volunteer basis, including the investment of personal time, knowledge and financial resources. The founders of and leaders of Topaz are experts in the field of community and development work with an emphasis on children and youth. Some of our leaders have been working as consultants and program developers for more than 40 years. We combine our experts and activists’ skills to plan, train, and instruct field workers, entrepreneurs, volunteers, and community leadership. Topaz incorporates in the various activities over 300 volunteers each year.
Topaz is composed of five organizational platforms, each led by a team of lay leadership:
✔ The SEE Incubator – The Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Enterprises Incubator
✔ Brit Olam – International Development and Volunteering Movement
✔ Inspiration – International Movement for Art, Leadership and Social Change
✔ The Israeli Global Initiative (I.G.I.) – Research, showcase, and advocate for a more significant presence and impact of Israeli expertise in international development
✔ IMPROVE – International Movement of Professional Volunteers
The SEE Incubator – The Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Enterprises Incubator Topaz strives to shape a dynamic, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables Israeli citizens to think and act as agents of change. Topaz provides a unique model of sustainable social innovation. Topaz’s Entrepreneurship mission is to drive large-scale change by identifying, investing in, connecting, and supporting social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving some of Israel’s most pressing problems. Topaz encourages social businesses to form as an investment opportunity with “non-monetary returns,” combining business expertise with the maximization of social benefits. Two examples of our leading programs to date are “In Between” and “Mifrasim”. In Between: In many western countries, including Israel, divorce rates are high. A third of Israeli families today experience divorce, and around half a million children of divorced parents are in Israel. The divorce process has emotional, behavioural, health, and economic implications, many of which persist many years beyond the divorce. The effect of divorce on child development is mostly negative. Hence, the tendency nowadays is to view children of divorced parents as at-risk children and youth. In Between believe that every child and teenager should receive the support they need to cope with their parents’ divorce, adjust to the new familial structure, and gain strength through it. Unfortunately, awareness of the multiple implications that divorce has on children and society is sorely lacking. Against this backdrop In Between has developed a holistic strategy to cope with this phenomenon and its widespread implications.
In-between advocate that supporting families going through a divorce is an investment in three generations simultaneously: The family members in the present, the children as future parents, and their children. Today’s children going through divorce are tomorrow’s parents. The program illustrates in Israeli society the notion that it is part of their parental responsibility to minimize any harm to their children when parents choose to separate. In-between promote the idea of “a separation checklist,” which all separating parents must follow, including guidance on joint parenting and supporting them through this period.
In Between goals: Support: development of support and treatment centres dedicated to children and divorced or blended families. Awareness: Increasing social awareness of the individual and societal repercussions of divorce and promoting a sense of social responsibility towards families going through a divorce. Community: harnessing friends, relatives, and volunteers to support children and families undergoing a divorce. Guidance and education: promoting up-to-date guidance and education among education, welfare, judicial, and health professionals who interact daily with divorcing or blended families. Policy and legislation: shaping a pro-active
public policy toward the children and their families and harnessing public education and welfare systems. Research: deepening our base of knowledge regarding how divorce and blended families affect Israeli children and families.
Mifrasim (Sails) is an innovative social venture utilizing one of Israel’s unique natural resources – the Mediterranean Sea – as a powerful and useful tool for leading social change and improving the quality of life for thousands of people each year. With its dynamic and unpredictable nature, the sea provides multiple educational, social, and therapeutic learning opportunities. The program focuses on serving adolescents, the disabled, and underprivileged sections of society who otherwise might not have access to such an experience at sea. Mifrasim creates an influential platform for social, educational, and therapeutic learning experiences through sailing. Large sailboats for learning experiences have proven to be a powerful and life-changing tool all around the world. The group sailing voyage provides its participants with physical, mental, and emotional challenges that help them develop life skills. In addition to fostering individual skills and emotional development, the sailing experience brings together people of diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, encouraging learning, broadening horizons, and promoting new friendships. Sailing a 67 ft. Yacht under professional leadership, participants, face acquiring and honing skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and resilience.
Brit Olam (meaning – world alliance or everlasting covenant) is a humanitarian founded in Israel in 2005 in light of the Jewish imperative of Tikkun Olam. Brit Olam promotes the participation of volunteers from Israel and other communities in international humanitarian activities. Brit Olam’s activities include sustainable community-based projects designed to reduce poverty, hardship, and vulnerability in fragile communities, humanitarian relief to victims of natural and man-made disasters, and dispatching volunteers to support and empower children and families and communities in need. Our programs promote tolerance and cultural open mindedness and disseminate Israeli expertise in education, health, environmental studies, agriculture, assistance for refugees, and disaster relief.
Throughout the years, Brit Olam has operated in over 20 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, both in relief operations and development programs. In 2008, jointly with the Kibbutz Movement, Brit Olam established Natan – the Israeli International Humanitarian Relief Coalition. Brit Olam’s activities are conducted in partnership with local development organizations, business organizations, and international development agencies.
Topaz initiated inspiration in 2011. Inspiration’s vision is to cultivate art as a catalyst for effective social change. Its mission is to instil artists and social activists with the tools needed to translate their talent into a measurable impact on the world’s most pressing social challenges. Inspiration stands on the foundation of three central pillars: Education: Training students worldwide to develop their art as a vehicle for high impact social change. Knowledge: Building the foundation for social change by developing methodologies, providing knowledge accessibility, organizing conferences and workshops, and connecting similar-minded individuals and
organizations. Practice: Creating programs that inspire, educate, motivate, and cultivate the next generation to become social artists and entrepreneurs. Inspiration’s communities host artists on the spearhead of social change and train them to become inspirational leaders. Inspiration connects nations and cultures, artists and youngsters, faiths, and languages. Inspiration’s vision is deep-rooted in the universal language of art and can promote peace, camaraderie, and dialogue between communities.
Inspiration is based on fifteen years of accumulated experience developed within the Topaz Social Incubator in Israel. One of Inspirations‘ leading trucks is establishing creative schools, day centres, and boarding schools in Israel and abroad. The core activity is the training of students as young artists and the use of the arts as a means for personal growth broader social change. Some of these organizations successful initiatives include Mozut, a high school for the Arts in Jaffa – Israel, the academic arts centre Muse Uganda (2009-2015) in Uganda, the Avant-garde arts centres in Atlit, and Osifia, the Masachim school of communication in Or Yehuda, and the Bikat Kinorot Israeli Inspiration action, experience and training centre (2013-2016).
During 2014 Inspiration initiated and developed The Guiuan Eastern Samar Community Art Center in the Philippines (after the Yolanda typhoon), participated in the 8000 paper clips encounter with South Sudanese refugees (initiated by the artist Raffael Lomas) (2015). In 2016 Inspiration established in Uganda Inspiration Interdisciplinary Center of Art and Social Change (IIC-ASC) at Makerere University, Kampala, and in 2018 The I.I.A. program in NIAAD – the International Academy for Arts’ Leadership and Social Change. During 2019 Inspiration Germany initiated a unique documentary, learning and artistic project jointly with the Emmaus Kirchengemeinde Adendorf, educational trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau with young community volunteers and leaders.
IMPROVE is a social and professional volunteer movement that mobilizes skilled volunteers from all fields and occupations. It is based on notions of cultural pluralism, community capacity building, and full offering of humanitarian care – among individuals, states, and communities. The movement is driven by fundamental principles drawn from Jewish and Israeli ethics and traditions – principles of sharing with others, mutual reciprocity, and “Tikkun Olam,” the commitment to transform the world into a better place for everyone. IMPROVE activities are anchored in the universal values of human love, brotherhood, and solidarity, embedded in a deep commitment to friendship and peace between people and nations. IMPROVE revolves around four core principles, which complement and enhance one another: Voluntarism; Universal Human, Social and Economic Rights; Multiculturalism, and Humanitarian Care. These four moral values codify IMPROVE’s profound rotted duty to provide care and support to disadvantaged communities and
marginalized people wherever they are. IMPROVE‘s mission is to recruit each year thousands of volunteers from industrialized countries, professionals in their fields from a variety of areas, as well as non-professional and young volunteers. They will work together to deal with social and community challenges and needs in Israel, overseas, and in non-industrialized countries.
I.G.I. is a joint creation of – Topaz and TAG International, an international, a British-American development organization based on Jewish values to help disadvantaged communities in the world. I.G.I. was launched in 2015 to research, showcase, and advocate for a more significant presence and impact of Israeli expertise in international development. Our vision is for Israeli know-how in various fields – such as intensive agriculture, emergency medicine, rural development, and immigration absorption– to be recognized globally for its value in helping countries accelerate their development.
The U.N. General Assembly convened in September 2015 with the participation of more than 150 world leaders. It approved the second phase of the Global Sustainable Development Plan for 2016-2030 (The Sustainable Development Goals – S.D.G.’s). The global outline addresses eradicating poverty and underdevelopment in the world and the guarantee of the social, cultural, economic, and civil rights of all.
For seventy years, Israel has been a unique microcosm for developing and leading technological, scientific, social, economic, and human changes.
Advantages of the Israeli capabilities
∙ Israel has proven experience in establishing infrastructures for assistance and knowledge transfer in developing countries.
∙ Israel has experts who speak many foreign languages thanks to the ingathering of the exiles in Israel. ∙ It has proven experience in training programs that support local development programs, and the creative ability to find an immediate response to the problems that arise from the field.
∙ Moreover, Israel is an example of a country that has managed to cope with development challenges in the face of domestic and external problems and difficulties in a relatively short period. The Global Israeli Initiative‘s ultimate aim is to identify, analyze, and formulate the unique knowledge and experience that Israeli society has accumulated in development and make this knowledge and expertise accessible to all international development actors.