For years, many Negev and Galilee communities struggled to retain their populations, or manage growth. Many communities which had once enjoyed optimistic beginnings, watched as all their children grew up and chose to leave for the Tel Aviv area. Some communities were nearly abandoned altogether, some went bankrupt, and some simply remained stagnant and with poor economies.
Since our start, we’ve worked with 68 communities to strengthen and expand their foundations, never leaving them until they achieved a sustainable growth rate.
Each community we work in is treated with fresh eyes, and an action plan that covers all bases. Basic action plans look at three channels:
- Characterization: Understanding what type of people and careers will do well in this community, and making sure the community is branded for them. Understanding the community’s reputation, repairing the bad, and accentuating the good.
- Community: Some communities have not welcomed new members in decades and end up being too closed – these communities need workshops to learn how to welcome new people in order to ensure a positive absorption of new members.
- Infrastructure: There needs to be homes for the new members – often communities stopped growing too early and have too few homes, or they have many abandoned homes which need to be renovated for the 21st century. Some communities haven’t had young children in decades, and need preschools. Often the regional schools aren’t equipped for growth at all. Many times communities are lacking in community infrastructure vital to bringing the community together – these need to be built.
Retain. Return. Recruit.
“Every town in the Negev & Galilee needs to be looked at with three goals: Retain. Return. Recruit. First, we need to retain the current residents by empowering them to love their hometown – if they don’t believe in their town, then no one new will come. Next, we need to inspire the natives who left for the country’s center to return. Last, we need to create attractions to recruit new residents.”
Below is a small but dynamic sampling of communities which have gone through the strengthening process. Click on the photos to read more.