CITY AT THE CENTER
In Israel today, social mobility continues to elude the residents of the geographic and social periphery, and there is still a strong correlation between a child’s city of residence and his or her socioeconomic opportunities. Despite large investments, both by the government and by philanthropies, social gaps continue to widen.
Rashi, in partnership with the Tauber Family Foundation, has undertaken to develop and implement a new, city-based approach to the challenges of social mobility in Israel. Greg Landsman, who developed the collective impact model through StrivePartnership in Cincinnati, Ohio, serves as advisor to City at the Center.
This innovative initiative places the city and its residents at the center; it focuses on the entire community instead of a specific target group and shifts the emphasis from limited interventions to long-term reinforcement of social structures and local leadership.
The main purpose of the initiative is to support the city in building its capacity for self-management, to enable it to take the lead in promoting social mobility and providing opportunities to its residents.
The guiding principles of City at the Center are:
Involvement of all stakeholders in defining a shared agenda and strategic long-term goals
Synchronizing activities and sharing knowledge and resources
Data-driven planning and investments
Participation of community organizations and the general public in decision-making
The initiative is led by a steering committee representing all the stakeholders – municipality, residents, government, civil society organizations, philanthropies and the business community. The steering committee, relying on data and public participation, decides what fields to focus on in order to promote social mobility from cradle to career. Then, the city goals in each field are defined and a work plan is designed for allocation of the collective resources to reach these goals.
Following three years of implementation, there are encouraging outcomes within the pilot cities - Kiryat Malachi and Ashkelon - and expansion to more cities across Israel to broaden the impact is under way:
North - Beit Shean, Nazareth Illit, Yarka
South - Ofakim, Sderot