The Israel Free Loan Association
) is a non-profit organization
that offers interest-free loans to Israeli citizens living in Israel
. It is supported primarily by private donations and grants. The IFLA's basic principle is that loans must be repaid on schedule so that they can be recycled and reissued to other borrowers.
The Israel Free Loan Association is the largest Jewish microlending
interest free loan organization in Israel, and worldwide. The IFLA is a grass roots nonprofit that combines the tradition of Judaism and modern philanthropy. It does not consider itself to be a charity, but rather a means to self-help, inspired by the teachings of Maimonides
. Its motto is "Helping people to help themselves". The IFLA office is located in Jerusalem
, but the IFLA serves Israelis anywhere in Israel. The IFLA hopes to eventually have enough funds to serve any request for loans regardless of the category of need. The office is located at 29 Rivka Street, Jerusalem, Israel 93460, fax number 972-2-5669504. Email address is email@example.com
The IFLA is a non-profit organization which is operated primarily by volunteers. The founder and volunteer Chairman of the IFLA is Prof.Eliezer Jaffe, an expert on nonprofit associations and philanthropy, who is a Professor at the School of Social Work of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
From 1990 to 2006, the Israel Free Loan Association provided over $87 million in interest-free loans to more than 34,000 needy Israelis to help them through a temporary financial crisis. The IFLA approves nearly 400 new loans each month,including personal and small business loans.
The IFLA offers loans to new immigrants in Israel from any country ($3,000), to Ethiopians moving from caravans to permanent housing ($3,000), to parents raising a seriously handicapped child at home ($5,000), to single parents or large families ($3,000), to adopting couples ($5,000), to needy students for college tuition ($3,000), to immigrants and other struggling Israelis for small business loans ($15,000), to victims of terror or those with economic problems due to the security and war situation ($5,000) and to those in special emergency situations. There is no limitation on geographical location of the borrowers, so long as they are Israeli citizens living in Israel.
Applicants must be employed and earning at least an NIS 2,500 steady monthly income, and must have two guarantors who are employed. Loan repayments are flexible, but the basic principle is that loans must be repaid on schedule so that they can be constantly recycled and reissued to other borrowers.
From 1990 to 2008, the IFLA's capital had been recycled almost three times the original value of donations.
The IFLA is supported by private donations, grants and legacies from individuals and private foundations in Israel and other countries around the world. Only 1.5% of the loan funds are defaulted. Administrative expenses are less than 5% of total financial activity, which are mostly for salaries, bank charges and legal fees. Administrative expenses are partially covered by occasional overhead grants from some donors. No funding has come from the Israeli government or the Jewish Agency
. Court cases constitute only 1% of the total loans provided.
Donors who have a named Loan Fund receive a periodic report of loans made from their loan account at the IFLA, and anyone who makes a $5,000 donation can create and dedicate a named loan fund account in their own name or the name of a loved one. Over 250 individuals, Jewish federations and foundations have chosen to open a named interest-free loan fund account in their name at the IFLA, which range from $5,000 to several million dollars. Others have included the IFLA in their will. The IFLA depends on these donations to meet requests for loans and to open new loan categories.
Awards and Recognition
The Israel Free Loan Association is a highly regarded national association. It has received the President's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Organization, the Mayor of Jerusalem Citation for Nonprofit Activity, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption award for help to new immigrants, and the Sderot Conference Award for contribution to Israeli society. The IFLA website www.freeloan.org.il is in both English and Hebrew, and the Hebrew site contains application forms for use of borrowers.