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A4BGU Rallies Support for BGU’s ‘Way Forward’ Campaign

A4BGU Rallies Support for BGU’s ‘Way Forward’ Campaign

April 10, 2024

Press Releases

New York, N.Y., April 10, 2024 Americans for Ben-Gurion University (A4BGU) announced the United States launch of “Way Forward,” Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) landmark $1 billion global fundraising campaign to strengthen the future of Israel through its South, with BGU as the region’s anchor institution and engine for growth.  

To date, supporters of the University from around the world have committed more than $380 million to the campaign. Tasked with securing 60 percent, or $600 million of the campaign’s $1 billion goal, A4BGU is galvanizing American supporters into action.  

The $1 billion raised in the Way Forward campaign will support BGU’s capital building and expansion projects ($500 million), student access and support ($250 million), and research excellence ($250 million). The $380 million already raised toward the campaign’s goal include gifts from an array of prominent philanthropists and foundations, including Sylvan Adams ($100 million), Katja Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt ($20 million), The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust ($18 million), the Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation ($15 million), and Ernest Scheller ($6 million). 

Planning for the campaign was in the works long before the tragic events of October 7, and initially focused on amplifying BGU’s research and academic excellence. In the aftermath of the Hamas massacres — a turning point of greater magnitude than any other since the establishment of the state of Israel — the campaign has now gained even greater urgency. As the largest employer in the region, BGU is key to the economic vitality of southern Israel and will play a pivotal role in rebuilding the Negev and propelling it forward. 

“On October 6th, it was already evident that the future of Israel is in the South and that Ben-Gurion University would drive that future. On October 7th, BGU’s community was disproportionately affected by the attacks. In the days that followed, the University began demonstrating just how vital it is to the remarkable resilience of the entire nation,” said Doug Seserman, CEO of A4BGU. “Through this historic campaign, Diaspora supporters are rallying around Israel’s essential efforts to rebuild the South, with the University leading the way forward as both the epicenter of the region and the key to its recovery.” 

A number of BGU students volunteered in hospitals throughout Israel, providing medical and psychological assistance to wounded Israelis and their families. Students and faculty members supported the families of IDF soldiers called up for reserve duty by looking after their children and maintaining their homes. University dormitories opened to families of casualties, evacuees, and army reservists, while evacuated families were also being hosted at the homes of BGU faculty and staff. Dozens of students and staff members supported a massive logistical operation for sorting and preparing food and supplies contributions. 

Eighty percent of Israelis killed in the October 7 attacks were from the Negev, while close to 3,000 were treated at BGU’s Soroka and Barzilai Medical Centers, and 200,000 Negev residents were displaced from their homes. The BGU community was disproportionately impacted compared to other universities in Israel, with 111 people killed (including fallen soldiers, students, and immediate relatives); 29 wounded; eight missing or kidnapped; 1,000 displaced from their homes; and more than 6,600 called to reserve duty, with several hundred still in active service.   

“From its inception, Ben-Gurion University has had a major role in building the future of Israel through developing the Negev,” BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz said. “Over the past half century, we have accomplished the remarkable in transforming the desert into a center of research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In the wake of the tragedy of October 7th, the dual calling of BGU — the fostering of cutting-edge research and building the Negev — is clearer than ever. We are proud to take a central role in continuing to build Israel’s future from the Negev.” 

The University’s Way Forward campaign also puts into action A4BGU’s mission of building a movement of Americans who are committed to improving the world through a new 21st century unifying vision for Israel. This mission is rooted in the pioneering spirit of David Ben-Gurion, who envisioned that Israel’s future would emerge from the Negev. Today, that vision is manifested in the cutting-edge research carried out at BGU, resulting in scalable solutions for all of humanity in water conservation, environmental science, medical research, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and more.

Featured News Coverage

eJewish Philanthropy: https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/your-daily-phil-a-road-map-for-saving-israels-strained-welfare-system/

JNS: https://www.jns.org/ben-gurion-university-launches-1-billion-campaign-to-rebuild-south/

Israel Hayom: https://www.israelhayom.com/2024/04/09/bgu-launches-1b-campaign-to-rebuild-south/

Cleveland Jewish News: https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/jns/ben-gurion-university-launches-1-billion-campaign-to-rebuild-south/article_a5d8dc52-b6fc-5c5f-abcf-e6d22e84c2bf.html

Columbus Jewish News: https://www.columbusjewishnews.com/jns/ben-gurion-university-launches-1-billion-campaign-to-rebuild-south/article_7c340c93-a96f-5018-9be9-ef14825e1e94.html

Akron Jewish News: https://www.akronjewishnews.com/news/nation_world/ben-gurion-university-launches-1-billion-campaign-to-rebuild-south/article_318ffad5-875b-5bd3-9cb2-5529b3ff1424.html

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent: https://www.jewishexponent.com/ben-gurion-university-launches-1-billion-campaign-to-rebuild-south/


By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.

We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.

BGU at a glance:  

20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.


For all press inquiries, please contact:

James Fattal, J Cubed Communications


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