Participants are Great, But Alumni? Even Better! - 12/13/2019
by Ilan Wagner
Onward Israel President & CEO
All of us who have the privilege of meeting Onward Israel participants at the beginning and end of their experience are usually struck by their growth and maturation over the course of those two short months. We know from our longitudinal studies that this growth (Jewish, Israel related and professional) continues apace after the programs and that the impact of the program sticks after 3 years. Next month we will learn more about alumni when our external evaluators (Rosov Consulting LLC) finish our first ever 5-year after study and an additional 3-year after report as well. Tracing the program’s impact on alumni is important for future funding and support, but we clearly can gain a lot more from our alumni now. To this end, we have worked with our partners over the past few months to identify outstanding alumni in order to form the first cohort of the Onward Israel Alumni Council. Consisting of 11 outstanding program alumni, this first cohort is impressive and representative of the full breadth of Onward Israel: six women and five men; eight students and three young professionals; from Tulane (2), University of Pennsylvania (2), University of Delaware, Harvard, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina), University of Central Florida, Indiana University, University of Florida and Syracuse. One member of the council is from Latin America, one currently lives in Israel and one is studying in the UK. Truly a global group! The purpose of the council is to provide guidance and wisdom to help with the future development of Onward Israel on aspects as diverse as internships, education, recruitment, social media, fundraising and partnerships. The group will conduct several webinars with Onward Israel staff and then come together once a year for an alumni council retreat in New York. You can learn more about the council here.