British philanthropist Gerald Ronson CBE has visited World ORT’s Kfar Silver Youth Village in Israel to see first-hand the results of significant renovations made possible by his foundation’s investment.
The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation made a substantial anchor donation to the $11 million four-year project early in 2021.
Mr Ronson toured the village alongside his wife, Dame Gail Ronson, and their daughters on Monday.
They met students who are already benefiting from the modernization of Kfar Silver’s kitchens and dining hall and officially opened the new facilities.
Gerald Ronson CBE said: “Seeing the transformation here since my last visit to Kfar Silver two years ago has been a really uplifting experience. The vital renovations that have taken place have already made huge changes to the lives of the students we met during our tour.
“Our Foundation is delighted to continue supporting this inspiring project in the knowledge that thousands of young people will now be able to live and study in an environment that gives them every opportunity to thrive.”
Further renovation of the Senior High School and Junior High School, as well as continued improvement of the general infrastructure of the youth village, will form the next stages of the investment.
Speaking ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, told the Ronson family: “Thanks to your generosity you can see the transformation today within this building – we intentionally chose the kitchen and dining hall complex to be the first phase because it is the hub for the whole school, the place where our boarding students come for nourishment and the place where they can hang out. This is their home away from home.”
He said the impact of the work was already clear, with the capacity of the school having risen from just over 600 students when World ORT bought the campus five years ago to nearly 1,000 today.
Mr Green said parents had been inspired by the progress at the Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation Campus and praised the foundation for making it one of the most sought-after schools in the region.
Amos Gofer, CEO of Kfar Silver, spoke about the challenges faced by students at the village. The majority of the 260 boarding students are from former Soviet Union countries, and in recent weeks around two dozen Ukrainian students have arrived at Kfar Silver after fleeing the conflict.
More are expected to arrive during the summer and World ORT is working with the Kfar Silver team to ensure all necessary resources are available to accommodate, clothe and feed the students while ensuring they have the support they urgently need.