Frequently Asked Questions

What is JNF's Mission?

JNF UK is a Jewish charity. It supports good causes within the State of Israel through the provision of grants to individuals, charities, groups and other organisations consistent with its purposes. Those good causes aim to relieve poverty; advance health; advance Jewish belief and faith; advance community development; relieve those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage; advance education and training; provide youth projects; advance arts, culture, heritage; and advance environmental protection or improvement.

JNF UK’s current focus is on supporting charitable projects in the Negev. The Negev is an impoverished area, lacking infrastructure and community cohesion. While the central and northern areas of Israel are well supported by numerous charities and organisations, the Negev has received significantly less support: JNF UK sees an opportunity to make a real difference.

JNF UK’s Objects

The furtherance within the State of Israel of any of the following purposes, being charitable according to the laws of England and Wales, for the benefit of the population of the State of Israel, namely:

1 The prevention of relief of poverty by providing grants or other forms of financial or other material assistance to individuals or groups who are in need or at risk of falling into poverty, either directly or through charities or other organisations which are working to prevent or relieve poverty.

2 To advance, preserve and protect physical and mental health, and to relieve sickness, disability and infirmity, by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities, support services and equipment not normally provided by the statutory authorities.

3 To advance the Jewish religion, Jewish beliefs and religious education (including supporting the education of Jewish culture, history, practices and beliefs).

4 The promotion of urban or rural regeneration in specific areas of social and economic deprivation by all or any of the following means:
4.1 the relief of financial hardship;
4.2 the relief of unemployment;
4.3 the advancement of education, training or retraining, particularly among unemployed people, and providing unemployed people with work experience;
4.4 the provision of financial assistance, technical assistance or business advice or consultancy in order to provide training and employment
opportunities for unemployed people in cases of financial or other charitable need through help: (i) in setting up their own business, or (ii)
to existing businesses;
4.5 the creation of training and employment opportunities by the provision of workspace, buildings, and/or land for use on favourable terms;
4.6 the provision of housing for those who are in conditions of need and the improvement of housing in the public sector or in charitable ownership, provided that such power shall not extend to relieving any local authorities or other bodies of a statutory duty to provide or improve
4.7 the maintenance, improvement or provision of public amenities;
4.8 the preservation of buildings or sites of historic or architectural importance;
4.9 the provision of recreational facilities, including parks, for the public at large or those who by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, financial hardship or social and economic circumstances, have need of such facilities;
4.10 the protection or conservation of the environment;
4.11 the provision of public health facilities and childcare; and/or
4.12 the promotion of public safety and prevention of crime.

5 To help young people, especially but not exclusively through leisure time activities, so as to develop their capabilities that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society and providing support and activities which develop their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as mature and responsible individuals.

6 To act as a resource by providing facilities, equipment, advice and assistance and by organising programmes of physical, educational and other activities as a means of:
6.1 advancing education;
6.2 relieving unemployment; and
6.3 providing recreational and leisure time activities in the interests of social welfare for individuals and groups and/or for those who are in special need by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disability, poverty or social and economic circumstances, with a view to improving the conditions of life of such persons.

7 To promote religious and racial harmony and social cohesion by:
7.1 creating and making available spaces, both covered and open, for constructive interaction;
7.2 organising and promoting programmes for constructive interaction;
7.3 promoting faith and interfaith projects which are conducive to social
cohesion; and
7.4 relieving the needs of those people who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society.
For the purpose of this clause ‘socially excluded’ means being excluded from society, or parts of society, as a result of one of more of the following factors: unemployment; financial hardship; youth or old age; ill health (physical or mental); substance abuse or dependency including alcohol and drugs; discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, belief, creed, sexual orientation or gender re-assignment; poor educational or skills attainment; relationship and family breakdown; poor housing (that is housing that does not meet basic habitable standards); crime (either as a victim of crime or as an offender rehabilitating into society).

8 To promote the conservation protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment by planting trees, building and creating parks, and promoting biological diversity.

9 To promote sustainable development by:
9.1 the preservation, conservation and the protection of the environment and the prudent use of resources;
9.2 the relief of poverty and the improvement of the conditions of life in socially and economically disadvantaged communities; and
9.3 the promotion of sustainable means of achieving economic growth and regeneration.
In this clause “sustainable development” means development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

10 To develop the capacity and skills of the socially and economically disadvantaged, in such a way that they are better able to identify, and help meet, their needs and to participate more fully in society.

11 Such other purposes that are charitable according to the laws of England and Wales as the trustees in their discretion may determine from time to time.

What is the Origin and History of JNF?

In 1901, on the fourth day of the fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, the assembled delegates debated a proposal to set up a national fund to help build the Jewish State in the land of Israel, then under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

JNF/KKL was the vision of Theodor Herzl who, having witnessed incidents of anti-Semitism, proposed the establishment of an organisation to purchase land for an independent Jewish State in what was then the Ottoman Empire, and subsequently British Mandatory Palestine.

Herzl pleaded with delegates: “After striving for so many years to set up the fund, we do not want to disperse again without having done anything.”

His speech turned the delegates around, the motion was passed and the Congress resolved that a fund should be established called the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeYsrael in Hebrew) noting that “the fund shall be the property of the Jewish people as a whole.”

JNF/KKL was founded on Zionist principles and ideals: establishing and developing a Jewish state for the benefit of Jewish people.

On 8 April 1907, JNF/KKL set up the Juedischer Nationalfonds (Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael) Limited, which was renamed Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael Limited or ‘KKL Limited’ in 1921. In 1953 KKL Limited reorganised as an Israeli company under the name ‘Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael’ or ‘KKL’. KKL, also referred to as KKL-JNF, is a not-for-profit organisation but it is not a charity. In Israel, a reference to ‘the JNF’ is likely to mean KKL; it should not be confused with JNF UK.

In 1905, JNF/KKL activities started in England and by 1908, a body called the Jewish National Fund Commission for England had been set up, which eventually became the Jewish National Fund for Israel in Great Britain and Ireland.

The Jewish National Fund for Israel in Great Britain and Ireland was the precursor to JNF UK. JNF UK was incorporated in July 1939 as an association under the Companies Act 1929, and registered as a charity. Despite originating from the same movement, JNF UK was, and remains, a completely separate entity to KKL or any other JNFs: JNF UK is not a ‘branch’ of KKL or any other JNFs.

JNF UK was incorporated in July 1939 and since then has become an environmental and humanitarian trail-blazer: planting in excess of 240 million trees; building more than 210 reservoirs and dams; developing over 250,000 acres of land; creating more than 1,000 parks and providing crucial infrastructure and humanitarian support to over 1,000 communities.

Please click on the following links to read more about the Relationship between JNF UK and KKL, What is JNF Educational  Trust?, What is KKL Charity Accounts?, What are JNF UK’s Purposes?JNF UK’s Support for the Negev, How does JNF UK selects its projects? What is JNF UK’s Project Criteria? and What is Zionism and what does it mean to JNF UK?

What is JNF Charitable Trust and JNF UK?

JNF Charitable Trust and JNF UK are the same.

JNF UK is officially called JNF Charitable Trust. JNF Charitable Trust uses JNF UK in order to avoid confusion. This is particularly important in Israel where ‘Jewish National Funds’ from all over the world undertake projects.

What are JNF UK’s Purposes?

JNF UK’s purposes are set out in its objects and fall into the following categories:

– the relief of poverty;
– the advancement of health;
– the advancement of the Jewish faith and Jewish belief;
– the advancement of community development;
– the relief of those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage;

– the advancement of education and training;
– the provision of youth projects;
– the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage; and
– the advancement of environmental protection or improvement.

JNF UK’s Support for the Negev

The majority of the projects are located in the part of the State of Israel known as “the Negev”. The Negev is a large desert region in the south of Israel which comprises around 60% of Israel’s landmass and is largely unpopulated. It is home to less than 10% of Israel’s population. The Negev region is incredibly poor and is in need of support.

JNF UK’s support for the Negev dates back to the mid-1990s. The reasons for this support were threefold. First, the Negev was and remains an impoverished area, lacking basic infrastructure and community cohesion. Second, while the central and northern areas of Israel are and have been well supported by numerous charities and organisations for many years, the Negev has received significantly less support: JNF UK saw an opportunity to make a real difference. Third, the Negev was a politically uncomplicated area; philanthropic focus on the Negev would not engage matters of political controversy.

How does JNF UK select its projects?

JNF UK has a tried and tested method of selecting projects to fund.

In assessing which projects to support and fund, the trustees send out an invitation to municipalities (including local and regional municipalities), organisations and other groups, as well as government offices in or connected to the Negev.

The recipients of the invitation are invited to submit project proposals. The invitation notifies them of the opportunities JNF UK provides in respect of support and funding, and invites them to submit an application to be considered.

The invitation includes the project-criteria which all projects must satisfy.

JNF UK receives hundreds of proposals each year. The list of responses is collated by employees of JNF UK in Israel and sent to the trustees. JNF UK calls this ‘the Long List’. The Long List is then reduced by eliminating projects that are unfeasible or do not meet JNF UK’s charitable criteria and ‘the Short List’ is produced.

If a project passes the initial selection process, JNF UK asks for a project funding form to be submitted. Employees of JNF UK in Israel then collate more detailed information and where possible and depending on the size of the project, a trustee will visit the project site. The Short List is reduced further and a final list of projects is produced to be reviewed by JNF UK’s Projects Committee.

The Projects Committee is a committee made up of a small number of the trustees and the CEO of JNF UK. The Projects Committee applies the Project Criteria in assessing which projects are appropriate to support. It carries out a detailed assessment of project applications and it then agrees which projects should be put before the trustees.

The trustees make the final decision regarding which projects JNF UK will support. Once a project has been approved, a funding agreement is entered into which governs the terms and conditions of the relationship between JNF UK and the relevant body receiving funding and/or support in relation to that specific project. Funds as detailed in the funding agreement are only released or disbursed upon the satisfactory fulfilment of the project conditions.

To ensure that a project complies with the terms and condition of the agreed contract and to monitor the progress of the project, representatives of JNF UK in Israel visit the projects and produce regular status reports.

If your organisation or group is based in the Negev and your project meets the Project Criteria, you are able to submit a project proposal by filling out an application form which you can find here.

What is JNF UK’s Project Criteria?


The criteria for JNF UK’s assessment of projects is summarised as follows:• Projects can only be for charitable purposes as set out in the Charity’s articles.
• The project must be charitable under UK law and must comply with all relevant legal and regulatory constraints both in the UK and Israel.
• The project may be anywhere in Israel but preferably in the peripheral regions of Israel (i.e. the Negev and Galilee).
• Projects shall not be over the “Green line”.
• The contribution and support of JNF UK and its donors will make a significant difference to whether the project is implemented and succeeds.
• Both the project and partner organisations must satisfy JNF UK’s requirements regarding transparency and accountability


Considering whether proposed projects are acceptable on merit for submission to the JNF UK project committee and the Board of Directors should also take into account matters such as:

  • Whether project complement existing or proposed new projects.
  • Diversity of projects being undertaken by the JNF
  • Marketability and attractiveness to donors
  • Cost and affordability
  • Timetable issues
  • Recognition/acknowledgement factors
  • The advantage or disadvantages if the proposed project is in receipt of support from any existing UK charitable organisations that are raising funds in the UK for the same project/organization
  • Priority given to capital / infrastructure projects rather than operating / running costs
  • The advantages or disadvantages where the project has substantial financial support from other sources.
  • Preference to projects that have not yet commenced.
  • Impact for money (analogy of value for money in the business sector).
  • Whether the project has potential donor/s already expressing an interest in or committed to donate to it
  • Impact on local community
  • Review any potential reputational risk associated with the project


What is Zionism and what does it mean to JNF UK?

The State of Israel was founded in 1948. Zionists committed to the political work of establishing a state achieved their goal. But Zionism as a philanthropic activity did not lose momentum. Zionists committed to projects of philanthropy for the benefit of the State’s inhabitants (land reclamation, community building, and the relief of poverty) have yet to achieve their goals – though great progress has been made. For JNF UK, Zionism in the philanthropic sense remains central to its aims

What is the Relationship between JNF UK and KKL?

JNF UK and KKL have a similar history. However, JNF UK has always been independent of KKL.

Originally, the trustees of JNF UK decided that the appropriate way to fulfil its objects was to remit funds to KKL to support charitable projects of KKL. Historically, JNF UK’s relationship with KKL was governed by a series of trust deeds which set out how KKL was to use JNF UK’s money.

The relationship between JNF UK and KKL broke down in 1999. The main issue was that KKL wanted JNF UK to recognise that it was a branch of KKL and to recognise its supremacy over JNF UK; JNF UK refused to acquiesce. In order to attempt to move on from this argument, on 9 June 1999 the parties reached an agreement, which acknowledged that JNF UK was an independent UK charity.

In March/April 2005, JNF UK stopped sending funds to KKL; it had lost confidence in KKL’s ability or willingness to apply JNF UK’s funds as directed by JNF UK. On 17 October 2005, KKL purported to terminate the Memorandum of Understanding. Lengthy litigation followed, which was settled with a re-affirmation of JNF UK’s independence.

Today, KKL is one organisation among many in Israel invited by JNF UK to submit project proposals which are assessed in the same way as all other project proposals. JNF UK is not obliged to support KKL’s projects, nor the projects of any other JNFs. JNF UK operates independently; it has no formal relationship with any other JNF or KKL, other than its subsidiary and related companies in England
(including JNF Educational Trust and KKL Charity Accounts?).

What is JNF Educational Trust?

JNF Educational Trust is a charity and an unincorporated association. It was registered with the Charity Commission on 12 October 1984. When it was operational, JNF Educational Trust shared offices with JNF UK who also provided its resources.

JNF Educational Trust’s aim was to educate young people in England about the history of the Jewish people. There was a focus on teaching children about poverty in Israel and what JNF UK is able to do to help address this. However, the primary purpose of JNF Educational Trust was to increase awareness of the work/projects carried out by JNF UK amongst young people in the UK, in order that JNF UK could benefit from their interest (either financially or through volunteer work) in the future.

In July 2004, it was decided by JNF Educational Trust that as of January 2005, it should be absorbed into JNF UK’s Education Department. JNF Educational Trust has itself thus been dormant since January 2005, though it could not be removed from the Register of Charities in case it received any further donations. From January 2005, JNF Educational Trust neither received nor spent any income.

What is KKL Charity Accounts (SmartGiving)?

KKL Charity Accounts was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee on 4 May 2004. It is also a charity. Individuals can open an account by paying money into KKL Charity Accounts – donations can then be made from that account to any UK registered charity on the account holder’s instructions.

KKL Charity Accounts is managed by JNF UK: currently all of KKL Charity Accounts’ trustees are trustees of JNF UK. The accounts for KKL Charity Accounts and JNF UK are drawn up separately. Accounts for KKL Charity Accounts are then consolidated into JNF UK’s accounts, as KKL Charity Accounts remits its annual profits to JNF UK.

SmartGiving trading as KKL Charity Accounts

KKL Charity Accounts Limited operates under the operational name SmartGiving providing a charity accounts and payroll giving service and KKL Executor & Trustee Company Limited operates a will writing and executorship service and the JNF UK’s legacy administration.

In 2013 KKL Charity Accounts Limited was rebranded as SmartGiving, an online charity accounts and fundraising platform.

Click here to learn more