Maayan Aviv Leads American Friends of NATAL’s Mission Forward

Maayan Aviv American Friends of NATAL's Mission Forward
Photo Courtesy: Maayan Aviv

Maayan Aviv’s journey from experiencing the intense realities of conflict in 1990s Israel to her leadership role at American Friends of NATAL (AFN) perfectly illustrates her deep connection to and passion for the organization’s mission. As a veteran of the IDF and a native of Israel, she has a personal understanding of the pivotal role that NATAL, an organization providing crucial mental health support to those affected by terror and hostilities, plays during challenging times. This background has been instrumental in shaping her leadership at AFN, an apolitical, internationally recognized non-profit known for its work in trauma and resilience.

Throughout her career in Jewish non-profits, moving from entry-level positions to executive leadership, Aviv has developed exceptional multitasking skills and a strong capability in strategic oversight. These skills have become increasingly vital since October 7th, when the need for NATAL’s services surged dramatically. Under her leadership, the organization has not only continued its vital work within Israel but has also expanded its outreach around the world, from Chicago to Ukraine, for example, exporting NATAL’s expert methodologies to support individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD globally.

At every stage of her career, Aviv has fostered a culture of understanding and responsiveness within the organization, from fine-tuning donor relations to effectively managing a diverse network of supporters and volunteers. Her commitment is not just to maintain but to significantly expand the impact of both NATAL and American Friends of NATAL, ensuring they remain at the forefront of mental health and resiliency initiatives. 

Building Bridges of Resilience in Global Trauma Recovery

AFN supports the work of NATAL, an organization that, since 1998, has delivered crucial support and training to over 400,000 individuals, including veterans, educators, and community leaders. This work has cultivated healthier societies across the country and around the world. Aviv directs AFN’s efforts to provide essential resources that bolster NATAL’s capacity to address the growing need for trauma support. This includes managing a helpline, clinical and mobile units that support hundreds of families weekly, and delivering resiliency programming to thousands annually. Her strategic pursuit of partnerships with U.S. organizations allows NATAL to share its specialized trauma expertise, aiding American communities and enhancing global trauma-informed care. Through these initiatives, AFN also supports a broader global goal to secure a resilient future for communities worldwide.

Engaging Donors in Real Impact: A Strategy for Showing Daily Success in Healing Trauma

Aviv faces the considerable challenge of keeping supporters engaged and informed about the impact of their contributions, especially during times of heightened need. Under her leadership, American Friends of NATAL responds to immediate crises and also ensures that donors see the tangible effects of their support on the ground every day. Aviv’s ability to multitask shines as she orchestrates complex campaigns that communicate how each donation helps heal the invisible wounds of trauma among Israelis affected by terror and war. This transparency and regular reporting help maintain a deep and lasting engagement from supporters, reinforcing the critical nature of their continued involvement in changing lives.

Taking A Collaborative Approach Expands NATAL’s Reach and Impact

American Friends of NATAL leverages the power of collaboration with prominent organizations in the U.S. These strategic alliances enhance the breadth and impact of NATAL’s services. For instance, the partnership with TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) focuses on a unique fundraising campaign to provide therapeutic weighted blankets to trauma survivors, directly addressing their needs with innovative solutions. Similarly, collaborations with Boulder Crest and TURN expand the scope of support and healing methodologies available, integrating varied approaches like Boulder Crest’s focus on resilience training and TURN’s community-driven trauma care. These partnerships not only broaden the resource pool but also foster a network of shared knowledge and mutual support, enhancing the overall effectiveness of trauma care provided.

Communicating in an Era of Social Media

In an era where digital connectivity is key, Aviv has spearheaded an innovative social media strategy to enhance communication and education efforts for American Friends of NATAL. Recognizing the power of digital platforms, Aviv has worked to significantly expand AFN’s social media presence, aiming to help supporters and those new to the organization learn what is happening, the resources available, and the impact the organization is having on the mental health field. 

Commerce and Compassion: Merging the Real Estate Industry and Philanthropy

In 2023, the Real Estate Network by American Friends of NATAL was established. This strong partnership highlights the intersection of philanthropy and business within the real estate sector. Conceived by a dedicated group of professionals and philanthropic leaders, this initiative is a strategic extension of Aviv’s commitment to integrating meaningful societal contributions with business growth. The network facilitates a dynamic environment where members can develop their professional relationships while simultaneously advancing philanthropic efforts within the industry. Through exclusive events and opportunities, Aviv ensures that these engagements promote business connections and support NATAL’s crucial mission. This sets a robust example for the next generation of real estate professionals, emphasizing that business success and philanthropic impact can go hand in hand, thereby enriching both the community and the industry.

Charting the Future with a Strategic Vision

Under the leadership of Aviv, American Friends of NATAL is poised to significantly expand its influence and scope in the coming years. Aviv envisions AFN as a leader in mental health support and a leading partner for businesses and other organizations seeking expertise in these areas. Her strategy includes transforming AFN into a vibrant hub for community engagement through diverse events like community programs, alliances with other organizations, fundraising galas, and other projects that impact mental health. These gatherings are designed to foster long-term relationships, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to a collective community focused on mental health and resiliency.


Published by: Khy Talara


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