U.S. trust awards $1.75 million to Israeli agencies for disabled

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two agencies that care for Israelis with disabilities and their families are the recipients of $1.75 million in grants from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The grants announced last week will go to two Israeli institutions that help disabled children and IDF veterans and their families.

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A $1 million grant will go to SHALVA, The Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel, to fund a dining hall and events floor in the organization’s new National Children’s Center located in Jerusalem.

SHALVA currently provides services to more than 500 Israelis with special needs, including infants, children, adolescents and young adults, providing tailored programs and round-the-clock therapies.

A $750,000 grant will go to the Beit Halochem-Tel Aviv, which provides services for disabled IDF veterans. The grant is to provide funding for the creation of a professional hydrotherapy facility and renovations to existing pool facilities.

The Beit Halochem center serves about 5,500 disabled IDF veterans living in the center of the country, as well as about 13,000 members of the veterans’ immediate families. The center provides a place for the veterans to receive rehabilitation services and to spend time with their families.

It is unusual for organizations that deal with programs and services for people with disabilities to receive grants of this size anywhere in the world, according to the trust.

Since the Helmsley Charitable Trust began awarding grants to Israel in 2009, over $112 million has been committed to charitable organizations in the country, including scientific research, healthcare and communications.