The traditional approach of many efforts focused on solving complex social issues has been to create single-purpose interventions. Under this model, many programs achieve their stated aims for individuals at a point in time and are deemed successes. Yet, too often, nothing truly changes for the population as a whole. While we see individual wins, the gains are often not sustained.

In 2015, the Rashi and Tauber Family Foundations launched the Rashi-Tauber Initiative (RTI), which is a unique approach to driving sustainable social mobility in Israel’s socioeconomic peripheries. Now called City at the Center, this approach applies a city-based investment strategy that enables a city to take full responsibility for “cradle to career” social mobility within its own borders.

City at the Center is a new approach to the challenges of social mobility in Israel. Rooted in principles of “collective impact,” City at the Center applies a strategy that revolutionizes how decisions are made in cities. Each stakeholder – local government and businesses, the community, NGOs, academia and funders – has a voice at the table. Together, the stakeholders create a shared agenda which becomes the new platform for allocation of private and public resources. Even when the city leadership transitions, an institutionalized agenda enables the work to continue. The unique approach was adapted for use in Israel by the Rashi and Tauber Foundations, under the guidance of international specialists in systems-change and collective impact (StrivePartnership and FSG).

The Rashi Foundation is taking the lead in expanding to other Israeli cities while continuing in the two anchor cities of Kiryat Malachi and Ashkelon. We expect City at the Center to make a significant mark on the Israeli landscape over the coming years, with implementations in five more cities this year and then dozens more throughout Israel’s socioeconomic and geographic peripheries in the future.