From Jewish values to global action

OLAM is a network of Jewish individuals and organizations committed to global service, international development and humanitarian aid.

From Jewish values to global action

OLAM is a network of Jewish individuals and organizations committed to global service, international development and humanitarian aid.


A global Jewish community that supports and partners with vulnerable communities in developing countries in order to foster a more just and compassionate world for all.


Inspired by Jewish values and committed to high ethical standards, OLAM convenes and mobilizes leaders and organizations to take meaningful action in support of the world’s most vulnerable people.


In an interconnected world marked by numerous challenges - climate change, refugees, extreme poverty, and more - the Jewish community cannot and should not stand idly by.

OLAM, a direct translation from the Hebrew word for "world," deeply embodies the essence and values of our organization: The use of Hebrew expresses the Jewish character of our work, while simultaneously conveying a universal message. This elegantly simple word also alludes to the Jewish concept of "tikkun olam," widely recognized in mainstream culture, which refers to an imperative to improve the world.


Strengthening Practitioners

OLAM brings together Jews and Israelis working in international development, humanitarian aid, and global service to network and learn. We do this through our Focal Point conference, virtual and in-person meetups, our Aspire ethical practices program, microgrants, field-wide research, Jewish learning opportunities, and by amplifying our partners' work in the Jewish community.

Want to know more? Visit our Partners & Members page >

Empowering Jewish leaders

OLAM provides Jewish leaders with the tools to become champions for the world's most vulnerable people. We do this through workshops and training sessions, study trips, educational resources, and thought leadership infused with Jewish wisdom.

Want to know more? Visit our Jewish Leaders & Funders page >

Cultivating the Next Generation

OLAM offers students and young professionals the information they need to volunteer, pursue a degree, find a fellowship, or take the next step as international development professionals, in a Jewish context.

Want to know more? Visit our Students & Young Professionals page >

OLAM launch 2015

How did we start?

OLAM was founded in 2015 by three foundations – Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Pears Foundation, and the now defunct Alliance for Global Good.

OLAM, a powerful field-builder, has always had two sides to our work: building a robust network of Jewish international development practitioners, on the one hand, and engaging the broader Jewish community with global responsibility, on the other hand.

When it comes to practitioners, initially, our focus was on building relationships with and among the senior staff of our partner organizations. This made sense in OLAM’s early years, when we were focused on fostering trust, a collaborative spirit, and a sense of belonging to a larger field among our partners. As time went on, we expanded our work with practitioners to include all staff of our partners as well as individual members.  

Over the years, our Jewish engagement strategy has evolved as well. At first, we experimented with a variety of approaches, ranging from mass communications and sign-posting strategies aimed at young Jewish adults to more targeted interventions focused on Jewish leaders. In the end, we decided to concentrate on leaders, as a way to smartly leverage OLAM’s own resources and staff capacity to unleash a ripple effect in the broader Jewish community.

A letter from our founding funders, 2015

Our values

A ‘big tent’ approach

OLAM brings together organizations and individuals around a shared commitment to improve the quality and integrity of our work. Though we do not vet our partners, we strive to be a space for continuous learning, particularly around ethical standards.

Deep and authentic Jewish conversations

Jewish tradition, values, history and culture have much to contribute to contemporary thinking about global issues. They can spur deep, authentic and action-driven conversations about Jewish responsibility to the wider world.

Humility and respect

We feel a deep sense of humility towards the wisdom and experience of local communities in developing countries as well as towards the volunteers, professionals, and organizations working with them.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Only by combining resources, wisdom and expertise can we make a real difference.

Multiple circles of Jewish responsibility

As Jews, we have a responsibility to serve vulnerable communities at home, in Israel, and around the world, whether Jewish or not. OLAM is one piece of this puzzle.

Israel as a resource

Israel’s own relatively recent experiences as a developing country can provide important insight to developing countries. We see value in having Israel, with its knowledge and resources, play an integral role in global Jewish efforts to improve the world.

OLAM is generously supported by

Adnim Foundation
Anne Heyman and Seth Merrin Family Fund
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies
Kirsh Foundation
Laurie and Jeff Franz Fund
Pears Foundation
Toleo Foundation

Explore how to get involved


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