When members of the board are tuned in to the needs of their organization, a new kind of giving becomes possible.

When one thinks about philanthropy, one most likely thinks of bettering humankind through the donation of money for a specific cause. But money is not the only “gift” philanthropy brings.

What most of us think of as philanthropy has no doubt undergone some revision this past year. Particularly in an environment where there is more competition over fewer funds, it is important to do things differently, with increased cooperation and awareness. And it is important to get everyone on board – including an organization’s board.

I feel privileged to have recently seen one such example of effective cooperation when, through board members’ awareness and speedy intervention, the Jerusalem College of Engineering (JCE) received valuable advanced equipment from a high-tech company that closed its operations in Israel.

JCE welcomed the substantial addition of a one-of-a-kind electron microscope, a gift from Tessera Israel Ltd., generously given as it closed down its operations in Israel.

A beneficial partnership between academia and industry

This unusual gift, a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), images a sample surface by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons. But, technical jargon aside, this advanced piece of equipment, priced at over half a million dollars, can magnify an object to up to 300,000 times its size.

As Tessera was closing its doors, JCE Board Member Shlomo Oren, who was at the time also the CEO of Tessera Israel, aware of the value of educating engineering students with the use of advanced equipment, secured the donation of the microscope to JCE.

The same students who will benefit from studying with this equipment today are being prepared for employment in high-tech companies like Tessera after they graduate.

The college had to respond just as quickly as Oren did. The microscope had to be moved right away – but it was no simple task. The SEM contains very fragile systems that are easily damaged in transit. Its relocation was therefore carefully planned, and the SEM successfully reached JCE’s Materials Lab without as much as a scratch.

Generosity leads to more giving

To operate the microscope, JCE needed to add a chiller to keep the diffusion pumps and microscope lenses at a cool temperature. Mr. Yonathan Wand, Numonyx Israel Ltd.’s General Manager and also a member of JCE’s board, searched for a compatible chiller. Within a few weeks, Intel’s Manager in Jerusalem, Mr. Ariel Wasserstrum, graciously announced the donation of a chiller to JCE on behalf of Intel.

Having recently joined JCE for the purpose of resource development, I could only hope to see such a feat. It is precisely this kind of collaboration, awareness and intervention for a common goal that enables such innovative donating to occur.

At the Jerusalem College of Engineering, it is the collaboration between academia and industry that has inspired several of its board members to be highly involved.

As further evidence of the successful partnership between academia and industry, JCE has created educational programs that not only meet high academic standards, but also meet the standards and needs of the high-tech industry. Having advanced machinery in the laboratories enhances the smooth integration of JCE graduates, as engineers, into the industry.

Creating win-win situations

And so this is a win-win situation for both industry and academia, working in partnership in Jerusalem. And it is exactly these types of partnerships, when utilized effectively, which can bring about win-win situations.

When a board of governors is fully on-board – not just showing up for the annual meeting, but effectively seeking out and recognizing opportunities for the benefit of the non-profit that it represents – its members can seize an opportunity when it arises.

This case further proves that it is not only in prosperous times that philanthropy can thrive. Even when shutting down a company, there are ways to help others – gifting, or perhaps “re-gifting,” included. Cooperation, while focusing on a common goal, recognizing an opportunity and seizing it are what it takes – at all times.

In this case, those who will benefit from this generous donation are the 165 students of JCE’s Advanced Materials Engineering program, Jerusalem’s next generation of engineers.

Naomi Shmueli David works in resource development at the Jerusalem College of Engineering (JCE)