Beit Issie Shapiro, a charity founded and largely run by Anglo immigrants, was named Israel's "most efficient nonprofit organization" by Midot, a group that monitors the effectiveness of the third sector.

Headquartered in Ra'anana, Beit Issie develops and provides services for people with disabilities, and has played a leading role in promoting the inclusion of people with special needs in Israeli society.

"Beit Issie Shapiro's award ... was judged according to impact on society, leadership, management practices, financial planning, ethics, transparency and collaboration with others to increase its circle of influence," Midot announced last month. "Over the past 30 years the organization has grown from serving 16 children with disabilities to impacting 30,000 people every year. Not only does Beit Issie Shapiro help train thousands of therapists in Israel in its new therapies, it also conducts research and shares best practice internationally."

"It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen for this award," said Beit Issie Shapiro's South-African-born executive director, Jean Judes.

Beit Issie Shapiro established Israel's first early intervention center for babies with developmental disabilities and then lobbied the Knesset to pass a law forcing the government to provide such services throughout Israel, said Benjy Maor, the nonprofit's director of international resource development.

"Due to that initiative of ours, today there are some hundred early intervention centers that are government-funded," the Los Angeles native said.

Beit Issie Shapiro was founded in 1980 by South African-born Naomi Stuchiner, who named the center after her late father. Caron Bielski, who chairs the nonprofit's board of directors, was also born in South Africa, where she met and later married MK Zeev Bielski (Kadima ).

Last month marked the first time that Midot - created to promote the effectiveness of Israeli charities by analyzing and rating them - delivered awards at its annual conference in Tel Aviv. In addition to honoring Beit Issie Shapiro, Midot named former Amdocs president and community activist Avi Maor "most effective private donor." The Fishman Group was named the most effective corporation.

The winners were chosen by a public committee headed by former Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar. The committee included former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev and Microsoft Israel CEO Danny Yamin.