Fourth Son 

The Problem

The State of Israel has given a significant amount of social assistance to private charities and donors, many located in the Diaspora, using the Big State model. Israel is not the only country where this is the case; the topic is the focus of concerted research at Harvard and Columbia Universities, which examine the transition of countries from statist, to capitalist economic models. This transition has meant, however, that many ‘Big state’ programs are being discontinued. Important questions about how to fill the space that these programs leave behind are not being asked.

As a result, huge, and oftentimes destructive vacuums are being left in Israel’s social welfare net. A regular example is as follows: An elderly pensioner can go to a government social worker asking for assistance, and the reply will often be that “there used to be a program that could help, but it has been discontinued”. The consequences of this can be tragic, unnecessarily leaving good people dejected and in poverty. Social workers continue to have poor training, low wages, and often only work part-time and there exists no database that could direct them, or individual citizens, to appropriate charities or donors.

The crisis could be considered analogous to the Fourth Son at the Pesach Seder: too many are forced to be the son that “does not know how to ask” for help.

Our Approach

We connect citizens in need with nonprofits and donors by providing public sector organizations a state of the art database of information to assess the individual's eligibility for a specific charity or NGO.

Fourth Son re-directs those adversely affected by providing public sector organizations with all the information they need to assess individual eligibility for private sector NGO's, charities, and philanthropies. This means that though the individuals affected may not know which private charity or philanthropy to ask for assistance, the public sector authority with whom they are dealing with will know and can refer them to the right place. 

RHIF in cooperation with Google (Alphabet Inc.) is undertaking an extremely ambitious, innovative program in order to find a creative solution to provide security to those without it. The crux of the program is the creation of Google-type databases in seven to nine major emerging market economies, in which social workers and citizens alike can search for what sort of aid they require, and find an appropriate charity or donor. Through this system, it is possible to find aid through the use of a comprehensive database. For example, a citizen in need of a “replacement oven in Hadera” could use this service to find a private charity anywhere, from Raanana to Beverly Hills that could assist them in finding the help they need. This would have the additional effect of reducing some of the burden exerted on the state, using much more effectively the generosity of charities and social welfare initiatives in both Israel and the Diaspora.

This will be one of the most ambitious examples of philanthropic use of the Google database system ever attempted; moreover, the Robin Hood Israel Foundation has secured Google’s agreement that Israel will be the first country in which this program will be attempted, partially due to its high level of technological development.

Our Impact

This initiative could exponentially improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis, while at the same time, reducing demands made of the state. If you wish to make a donation you can do so here.