'When It Comes to Charity, Israeli High-tech Billionaires Are Stingy and Arrogant'

For nearly 20 years Adi Altschuler has been involved in social projects – from youth movements for people with special needs to new ways to commemorate the Holocaust. But today, she finds that the startup generation isn’t as generous as their elders. A frank talk with an entrepreneur who overcame her lack of confidence and now has the ear of presidents, tycoons and celebrities

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Adi Altschuler.
Adi Altschuler.
Hilo Glazer
Hilo Glazer

Extreme situations call for extreme acts, and for Adi Altschuler, a moment of that sort arrived when Krembo Wings – the youth movement she founded two decades ago for children with and without special needs – ran up a debt of 400,000 shekels (currently about $125,000).

“The richest person I knew was Morris Kahn,” Altschuler recalls. “I reached the conclusion that I had no choice. If I didn’t get the money, I was done for. I heard that Morris was going to speak at the Israel Business Conference [sponsored by the financial newspaper Globes], and I decided to ambush him there. To muster courage, a friend who was with me went to a nearby gas station, bought a bottle of vodka in the convenience store and had a few chasers with me. I went in and simply accosted him as he made his way to the stage. With my breath reeking of alcohol, I told him about the initiative and about the debt. During the panel discussion, he committed himself publicly to not letting Krembo shut down. The next day he called and asked how much money I needed.”

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