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YRF Darca Raises Over $1.5m For Low-Income Israeli Students

Press Release – NEW YORK, May 17 – More than 450 supporters of Youth Renewal Fund (YRF) Darca packed the organization’s annual gala at Tribeca’s Spring Studios Monday night, raising over $1.5 million to boost social mobility for lower-income students in Israel.

The sold-out YRF Darca gala at the trendy Tribeca space featured Columbia recording artist Rachel Platten, whose hit “Fight Song” is an anthem about never giving up. YRF Darca supports a network of 25 schools and two learning centers across Israel that provides students in lower-income communities with a first-class education. The schools include students in grades 6-12 regardless of academic ability, socio-economic status or background, emphasizing academic achievement and the values of tolerance, democracy and active participation in national and community life.

The YRF Darca event honored YRF Darca leaders Allison and Bennett Rosenthal of Los Angeles, who are helping to grow the organization in the L.A. area. Bennett Rosenthal is a co-founder, director, and senior partner of Ares Management and co-head of its Private Equity Group. A retired attorney, Allison Rosenthal is active in the Parent Guild at The Windward School and is also on the board of NuRoots, which works with unaffiliated and inactive Jews in their 20s and 30s to create inspired local experiences and engaged Jewish communities.

“Our success wouldn’t be possible without the exemplary leadership and vision of our dear friends Allison and Bennett. As longtime supporters, Allison and Bennett have dedicated over 25 years toward advancing the scholastic excellence of Israel’s underserved populations and have spearheaded the exponential growth in LA,” said YRF Darca CEO Raphael Sutton.

YRF was founded in 1989 as Youth Renewal Fund with the goal of bringing education to Israel’s lower-income communities. In June of 2014, YRF merged with the Darca network of schools in Israel and became YRF Darca.

Israel faces one of the largest and fastest-growing gaps in educational achievement between rich and poor, challenging Israel’s predominantly knowledge-based economy. Through Darca schools, Israeli children discover and harness the power of education as a means to improve quality of life for themselves, their communities and their country.

Only half of Israeli high school students passed their matriculation exams in 2014-2015, making them eligible to apply to university, though in poor communities that number dropped to 37 percent. However, that same year, 85 percent of lower-income students in YRF Darca schools passed the exams.

“Our students are not only outperforming their peers and the national average, but they are achieving at the same or higher rates as students in communities with far greater resources and where far more money, likely six to eight times what we have is spent. Just by attending a YRF Darca school, our students are doubling their chances of post-secondary education,” said Bennett Rosenthal, the gala’s honoree and a YRF Darca board member.

About YRF Darca:

YRF Darca is the philanthropic funding partner for the Darca network of schools in Israel. Darca provides Israeli high school students in lower income communities—regardless of ability, religion, birthplace, geographic or socio-economic status — an excellent education designed to improve social mobility. The schools emphasize academic achievement and the values of tolerance, democracy and active participation in national and community life. Darca currently operates a network of 25 high schools and 2 learning centers in 16 Israeli cities, educating over 15,000 students in some of the country’s most under-resourced communities.

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