Photo illustration by Shutterstock
Photo illustration by Shutterstock

Young Philanthropy: The Foundation Helping Find Groundbreaking Medical Solutions

Merit Spread Foundation, established by the philanthropist Alon Tal, works for the welfare of the public and connects donors with action on the ground. This is the story of the child Raphael, who has a rare health syndrome, and this is an example of the fund's success in finding a solution where pharmaceutical companies do not operate

Ronni Bar in collaboration with Merit Spread

The public looks with admiration at the leaders of the largest technology
companies in the world, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, successful
entrepreneurs who are changing world orders. Their success gave them
legendary wealth and along with it the ability to use this economic power to
influence their environment in accordance with their values. This
philanthropic renaissance was clearly expressed in a summit meeting of
philanthropic billionaires initiated by Bill Gates in 2009. This philanthropic
spirit, among the entrepreneurs of the Israeli high-tech industry, is gaining
support from the international philanthropic foundation, the Merit Spread
Foundation, founded by the seasoned financier Alon Tal.

Success not only on the professional level

A typical success story for this activity revolves around a successful high-
tech entrepreneur, who knew how to combine business success with
philanthropic activity at a young age. When discussing young people who
“made it”, they usually refer to professional achievements, such as a bright
career at a young age, an exit in high-tech or an advanced degree on an
accelerated track. Sagi Gidali, a high-tech entrepreneur who made a
successful exit, and his wife, Ella Gordon, a young doctor who chose a
challenging career as a neurologist, definitely meet this definition. However,
Ella’s and Sagi’s success is not limited to the professional level. Their son,
Raphael, is a charming toddler, who was diagnosed with a rare syndrome
that causes damage to a gene that is essential for its normal functioning and
brain development. Only about 1,000 children worldwide are currently
diagnosed with this syndrome, and it causes severe neurological damage.

Since it is a rare genetic syndrome, pharmaceutical companies do not invest
in drug development. Sagi and Ella decided that they were not ready to put
up with the evil of the decree, and worked to help Raphael and other
children diagnosed with the syndrome. Sagi and Ella were looking for a
home for the research they wanted to promote, which would allow them to
act effectively and focus towards finding a practical solution to help

For this purpose, they teamed up with the leading philanthropic
fund Merit Spread. The foundation was established by Alon Tal in order to
be a home for his philanthropic activities and to offer a unique and effective
solution to large donors who wish to join him in acting for the public
benefit. The activity through the foundation allows a select and limited
circle of large donors, similar to the prestigious club created by Bill Gates in
the USA, to operate on the philanthropic level and to produce maximum
impact through their contribution.

Scientific research activity Today

Merit Spread foundation is a home for donors who are active in diverse
fields of social action and benefit from the platform of a professional body
with expertise in the international philanthropic arena. The service is
provided to donors at no cost, due to the financing of all the fund’s overhead
expenses by its founder Alon Tal.

Sagi and Ella established jointly with the
foundation a scientific research activity under the title Rafa’s Moonshot.
Within six months of focused effort, using artificial intelligence tools, the
research yielded the identification of a potential drug that holds great
promise for children diagnosed with the syndrome and their families.
Expanding the research will enable the development of applied solutions in
the field of gene therapy.

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