Athena Fund - Empowering the teachers of Israel
The Athena Fund is a non-profit organization which was established in 2006 in order to promote the empowerment of teachers in Israel by providing them with tools for self- fulfillment and professional advancement. The fund is named after the Goddess of Wisdom in Greek mythology. The fund was founded by several prominent business leaders under the direction of President Uri Ben-Ari (CEO of UBA Ventures and former Executive VP of Ness Technologies). The Fund's flagship initiative is the innovative program "A Laptop Computer for Every Teacher in Israel"
The program’s mission is to empower teachers in Israel and raise their status to that of officers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The goal of the program is to provide a laptop computer and 120 hours of professional training to each and every teacher in Israel by the year 2020. These innovative and "connected" teachers possess the professional tools required for successfully addressing the information revolution and elevating themselves from mere "sources of information" to true "mentors".
More than 19,000 teachers (working with over 100,000 pupils) have already received a laptop computer and professional training in some 131 municipalities, and regional councils across Israel include: Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, Arad, Yeruham, Ashdod, Sderot, Dimona, Ashkelon, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Be’er Tuvia, Ofakim, Eilot Regional Council, Eilat, Tel Aviv, Azur, Bney Brak,Holon, Ramla, Lod, Oranit, Brenner Regional Council, Shoham, Ra’anana, Kedumim, Ariel, Petach-Tikva, Netanya, Yehud–Monosson, Kadima-Zoran, Beit Aryeh–Ofarim, Jordan Valley Regional Council, Nesher, Faradis, Tirat Hacarmel, Zichron Ya’akov, Yemin Orde Youth Village, Zevulun Regional Council, Afula, Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council, Mateh Asher Regional Council, Nahariya, Tiberias and Katzrin. Mayors and directors of regional councils from an additional 65 communities have already expressed their interest in joining the program and providing local resources necessary for implementation.
The results of a professional survey conducted among 300 participating teachers in the Negev indicated a substantial improvement in teacher and student performance. 75% of the teachers reported that as a result of using a laptop computer, their teaching effectiveness improved and student interest increased. Moreover, 35% of the teachers noted a significant decrease in classroom discipline problems.
Launched in August 2007 under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister's Office, the program has been implemented as a strategic partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Fund for Professional Advancement of the Israel Teachers' Union, and Bank Massad.
Athena Fund is supported by donors from the philanthropic third sector in Israel and abroad as well as by partners from the Israeli business and public sectors.