Shani Zanescu, Children's Fund

Startup Nation United
Children’s Fund: Investing in the future of our young victims

Investors and entrepreneurs have banded together to do all in their power to ensure the young victims in our nation have the opportunity to lead exceptional lives.

The past weeks have seen a flurry of organizations gathering equipment for our soldiers. But beyond the urgent needs of those on the frontlines, our nation is facing a great societal and psychological crisis, and a large portion of those victims are children.
Children who have had one or both of their parents murdered or taken hostage by Hamas terrorists. Children who, in some cases, have witnessed their family members being tortured. Children who have just been freed from the clutches of terrorists over the past few days. Children who are in deep trauma and are in desperate need of immediate assistance, and long-term support.
Shani Zanescu and the Children Fund’s story is part of Startup Nation United, a series showcasing how individuals and organizations in the tech industry have united under a common vision to do their part during the ongoing war. The podcast is produced and moderated by Michael Matias and Yaffa Abadi, in collaboration with CTech, as a spin-off of the popular podcast series “20 Minutes Leaders”, also published in collaboration with CTech.
We spoke to Shani, a climate tech investor, the co-founder and chair of PLANETech, and part of the leadership team of Israeli Children’s Fund, the initiative with the goal of giving all the children victims not just a normal life, but exceptional lives.
The Children’s Fund does not aim to take the place of governmental agencies or replace the support of the extended families of these victims. Rather it is there to ensure none of these children fall between the cracks of bureaucracy and have all the advantages possible going forward.
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Shani Zanescu Children's Fund United
Shani Zanescu Children's Fund United
Shani Zanescu, Children's Fund
(Photo: Noam Dor)
Their organization has a two-pronged approach. The first is to fundraise and ensure these children and their affected families have everything they need in the short term. They already support 69 families, with more on the way, supporting over 170 children so far.
The second is to ensure the children are set up for long-term success. As Shani explains, “We have the longer term part of the program, which is endowment funds for the children to make sure they get the extra…for example, higher education, but we want them to be able to go to private schools and we want them to be able to go abroad and we want them to have a Barmitsva grant, we want to wrap them with everything.”
Their goals are valiant and beautiful, but Shani recognizes their learning curve and the scope of this sensitive work they are taking on.
As a group of entrepreneurs and investors, including Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of, Michelle Latzer co-founder and CEO of Tweed, Eyal Niv, Managing General Partner at Pitango, Tom Livne, co-founder and CEO of Verbit, Ido Ivri, co-founder and CTO of Zencity, and many more dedicated members and tens of champions worldwide - they are focusing on the strengths, networks, and resources the tech industry can bring in support of the children and their families, and are careful to move slowly and sensitively in this new line of work.
As Shani expresses, “We are approaching this with the most sensitivity, and we are always learning, We want the children and their families to live fulfilling lives and to make sure they have everything they need in order to dream and live the most exceptional life they could have in this world."
Children’s Fund and everyone on its team is engaging, communicating, fundraising, and doing all in their power to ensure the families and children affected have all the opportunities they could hope for the rest of their lives.
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Michael Yaffa United
Michael Yaffa United
Michael Matias and Yaffa Abadi
(Photo: Omer HaCohen/Hagar Bader)
Yaffa Abadi is the founder and CEO of Abadi Brands, a boutique consultancy specializing in personal branding and thought leadership for investors.
Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the CEO of Clarity, a startup that preserves trust in digital media by fighting deepfakes, and an active angel investor in the AI and Cyber domain.