Israeli Environmental NGOs and Philanthropic Foundations: Donor Dependence, Organizational Characteristics, and Selection Mechanism

Thumbnail Image
Degree type
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Graduate group
Nonproift organizations
Philanthropic Foundations
Organizational Behavior and Theory
Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies
Social Work
Grant number
Copyright date
Related resources

This study explores the external environment within which Israeli environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) operate, with particular attention to their relationships with, and dependence on, philanthropic foundations. A growing body of literature has been devoted in recent years to the importance of foundation philanthropy in support of ENGOs. Much of this literature focused on outcomes, but did not pay much attention to the processes leading up to such outcomes. In particular, little is known about the selection mechanisms involved in establishing links between donors and grantees. In Israel, where the empirical work of this dissertation took place, the environmental movement has been growing in the past twenty years, and the number of ENGOs is on the rise. One of the reasons for this success is the inflow of money from foreign donors, especially Jewish American philanthropic foundations. Yet, a study of ENGOs' funding sources that focuses on the centrality of foundation funding is lacking. This study fills both the theoretical and empirical gaps by exploring the question of resource mobilization and donor dependence among Israeli ENGOs. In particular, it assess three issues: the level of dependence of Israeli ENGOs on foundation funding, the organizational characteristics that are associated with an ENGO's success in receiving foundation funding, and the barriers to establishing links with foundation donors. A mix method research design is used to address these questions. A quantitative analysis of cross-sectional survey data from a sample of Israeli ENGOs (n=100) is used to assess the association between organizational characteristics and foundation funding. Four key organizational characteristics were examined: demographics, organizational structure, strategies of operation, and ideational characteristics (i.e., environmental paradigms). In-depth qualitative interviews with ENGO representatives were used to understand the barriers to foundation funding faced by non-funded ENGOs. The analysis suggests significant association of foundation funding with ideational characteristics and strategies of operation, and only a partial significant association with organizational structures. Based on the findings, a typology of foundation-grantee relationships is proposed, creating a nuanced understanding of the non-funded ENGOS, which are often overlooked in existing studies of donor-grantee relationships. Results contribute to theoretical literature on foundation philanthropy, to the emerging literature on philanthropy in Israel, and the study of Israeli ENGOs.

Femida Handy
Date of degree
Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Series name and number
Volume number
Issue number
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
Recommended citation