Csaba Kovács

Félúton Alapítvány
Year founded: 

Félúton Alapítvány helps people suffering from alcohol and gambling addictions and those in need of psychiatric treatment, and plays an active role in educating youth about the diseases.

Focus: Health
Geographic Area of Impact: Hungary
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 2,138 (2009)
Annual Budget: US$ 1.3 million (2009)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 12-15%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Hungary, 2008

Alcoholism in Hungary is considered a serious problem, with 10% of the population diagnosed and 2% in need of urgent help. During the country’s socialistic era, alcoholism did not “officially” exist, and after the fall of communism, neither prevention, treatment nor laws were developed to solve the emerging issue. Today, treatment in Hungary is not effective. Addiction problems are ignored or regarded as problems of those on the edge of society, and lack of prevention has led to the consumption of alcohol at younger ages.

Innovation and Activities
Félúton Alapítvány (Halfway Foundation) helps people suffering from alcohol and gambling addictions and those in need of psychiatric treatment. It also educates young people about alcohol and addiction, and works to change legislation.

Félúton Alapítvány regards the problem of addiction as a complex health issue. The responsibility for recovery is given to the patient to ensure sustainability of results; those willing to recover get the information and support they need. Families are also educated about the disease and advised on how they should treat sick family members. Félúton Alapítvány goes one step further by helping to integrate rehabilitated patients back into the professional labour market.

Félúton Alapítvány’s approach is based on an adaptation of the Minnesota Rehabilitation model, and focuses on integrating its services into Hungary’s healthcare system. Its operations are primarily financed through government aid based on long-term contracts with state and local authorities. A smaller part of the expenditures is covered by charges paid by clients and by service fees from contracts concluded with local municipalities. Services are provided in Budapest and in several other cities across Hungary. There are plans to expand elsewhere in the region.

The Entrepreneur
Csaba Kovács started Félúton Alapítvány in 1993 shortly after recovering from his own addiction. Many of the foundation’s activities are based on his recovery process experience. Kovács considers the government and the municipalities as business partners and its patients as clients. His business-oriented approach strongly contributed to Félúton Alapítvány’s success and sustainability.