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“He was an avid reader and enjoyed fixing things, but remained a very private person.”

A Recluse Farmer, A Miracle, Advancing the Negev with Strategic Grants

“He was an avid reader and enjoyed fixing things but remained a very private person.”

This simple obituary describes Mack Ness, a man who was never married nor had children and had no connection to the local Jewish community. Yet, this man who lived a simple life, as a farmer living in a dilapidated home in Watchung, New Jersey made a “miracle” happen. 

While Mr. Ness had never traveled outside of New Jersey, he wanted to benefit the land and the State of Israel. Upon his death and through the proceeds of the sale of his land, the two philanthropic funds were established. His name, Ness, is the Hebrew word meaning a “miracle”, and his life and his gift are supporting miracle work in Israel. We invite you to explore the map of the programs that have received support from the Mack Ness Fund.


The Mack Ness Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, awards grants annually in pursuit of its mission of supporting economic development in the Negev as a whole, as well as growth within local communities in the region. The application process entails an on-line Letter of Intent application, followed by an on-line application.  Finalist applications receive site visits in Israel or on Zoom, with decisions made by the Ness Fund Advisory Council. 

Since its inception, more than $10 million in grants have been awarded. These are spurring strategic economic development efforts and more demographic growth in the Negev -- truly making the Negev bloom. For more information about eligibility and the timeline for applying, click here.

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