Q: What is ORT?
A: ORT is the largest Jewish education non-profit in the world and our supporters are defining generations of Jews globally. We provide state-of-the-art technology education, whose focus is in the sciences and mathematics from environmental engineering to computer graphic design to bio-chemical studies.
ORT’s commitment to Jewish communities from Buenos Aires to Kiryat Yam to Odessa stands firm. ORT teaches Hebrew, Jewish History and culture; in many cases, this is the sole exposure to Jewish life students have.
ORT’s key component to successful job placement is rooted in our strong science and technology curriculum, but it our Jewish values which sets ORT above the rest and makes ORT critical to the Jewish people.
Q: When did ORT begin and how?
A: During modernization in tsarist Russia, the country’s significant economic reforms encouraged capitalism which left many Jews marginalized by this new system, because they lost their customary employment on the great estates of feudal landlords. New capitalist production needed factory workers and skilled craftsman, but Jews did not have the necessary skills, having been excluded by law from many occupations.
This is when a group of wealthy respected leaders of the Russian Jewry petitioned the tzar to offer classes in the trades and in agriculture. The tzar accepted, and ORT was born in 1880.
Throughout history ORT worked on behalf of Jewish communities in Russia and well beyond. In World War I, ORT set up a relief-through-work project employment for displaced Jews. During World War II (WWII), ORT worked in France and in the Warsaw Ghetto, training people to operate sewing machines.
After WWII, ORT moved into the Displaced Persons' Camps, training more than 80,000 Jews. When the State of Israel was created, ORT was there. After the fall of the Soviet Union, ORT moved back in and opened schools and educational programs in Jewish communities providing students with a connection to Judaism that they hadn’t had in decades. When the economy became problematic for the Jews of Argentina, ORT stepped in, providing basic necessities, scholarships and Jewish education to its 8,000 students. For more details on how ORT began and evolved into the global network we know today, visit our history section.
Q: What does 'ORT' mean?
A: ORT is derived from the original Russian term Obschestvo Remeslenovo i. Zemledelcheskovo Trouda, which literally means Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor. Through the years, the term ORT has become synonymous with quality high-tech education that gives people necessary training to obtain meaningful employment in their local economy.
Q: What does ORT America do?
A: ORT America raises money for ORT programs worldwide. Our funding helps ORT schools remain open and up-to-date, with the most state-of-the-art technological equipment. Learn more about ORT programs!
Q: How does ORT America support and raise funds for ORT programs?
A: ORT America’s fundraising efforts include programs and events, missions, a planned giving programs, as well as generous gifts from committed donors. The organization is led by a national board of directors and a professional staff operating out of its national and regional offices.
Q: How can I help support ORT students?
A: There are many ways to donate to ORT America including making a secure donation online, calling our 24/7 donation call center at 800.590.7088 or sending your donation by mail addressed to ORT America, National Office, 75 Maiden Lane, NY, NY 10038.
Additionally, you may choose to support ORT through a Planned Gift. Learn more about Planned Giving.
Q: If I make a gift to ORT America, can I designate my gift for a specific program?
A: Gifts over $1,000 can be designated to a certain program country or project. Due to administrative costs, gifts under $1,000 cannot be designated which ensures the maximum amount goes directly to programs.
Q: Is my gift to ORT America tax deductible and do I need tax substantiation for my gift?
A: Yes. Your gift to ORT America is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. ORT America sends a letter of thanks, which also serve as a tax letter for each gift in a calendar year. This includes actual cash, checks, or gifts charged to credit cards. For gifts of property, tax substantiations are sent when the items are received.
Q: How does ORT America recognize supporters nationally?
A: To recognize our donors, we have six giving societies
- Golden Circle - annual gift of $1,000 and above.
- Diamond Ladder - making an upfront commitment of an annual gift of $5,000 and above for a minimum of three years.
- 1880 Society - making an upfront commitment of $100,000 and above, payable within a three-year period.
- Guardian Society - recognizes those who have been members of ORT for 25 years or more
- De Gunzbourg Society gifts naming ORT America for a charitable bequest.
- Heritage Club gifts made by a planned gift of $50,000 or more.