TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, NO PUBLIC EVENTS ARE HOSTED IN THE RAF HOUSE FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

The program, initiated by Asociația pentru Relații Comunitare and developed in partnership with RAF (co-investor), supports the development and consolidation of the community foundations network in Romania. RAF provides financial support and, in particular through ARC, technical assistance to community foundations and to the Federation of Community Foundation in Romania (FFCR) for the development and / or consolidation of organizations as a whole, in particular for their teams to be able to implement effectively the long-term strategic plans that would enable them to fulfill their strategic roles, strengthening their position as community leaders and independent local donors.

CONTEXT

Community foundations are organizations whose mission is to contribute to the welfare of local communities, by mobilizing and distributing funds for projects in various areas: culture and arts, education, development and social inclusion, development of public spaces etc. Community foundations support the local residents, companies and civil society organizations’ capacity to take action by providing a creative and transparent space for cooperation, mobilization and distribution of resources to the benefit of the community.

Between 2008 – 2020, the community foundations movement in Romania has gradually developed, reaching a total of 19 active community foundations. They have made significant progress and have been able to capture positive energies from their communities in response to local needs. In 2012, the first four existing community foundations have set up the Federation of Community Foundations in Romania (FFCR), an umbrella organization with the potential to act as a facilitator for the development of member organizations and as the main actor in shaping and implementing a framework system for self-regulation of community foundations.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit Romania, community foundations immediately mobilized and used their fundraising platforms and skills in support of the health system, raising over US $ 1,7 mill cash for medical and protection equipment. They acted as trust brokers between individuals and companies that donated and health institutions or structures in need of resources. Despite their significant contribution during the Pandemic, community foundations started facing organizational challenges, as they lost access to important financial resources, in particular for their general operating costs.

The medical crisis further highlighted the need to increase the sustainability and resilience of the community foundations within their communities.

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STRATEGY

The first two Romanian community foundations were set up in Odorheiu Secuiesc in December 2007, and in Cluj in January 2008 by ARC, with support from the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation and the Global Fund for Community Foundations.

In 2009, RAF joined the consortium of donors made up of Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust) and Charles Stuart Mott Foundation to lay the grounds for a national network of community foundations.

At the end of 2017, the national movement includes 16 active community foundations in in Alba, Bacău, Brașov, București, Cluj, Covasna, Dâmbovița, Galați, Iași, Mureș, Odorheiu Secuiesc, Oradea, Prahova, Sibiu, Timișoara, Țara Făgărașului, and Vâlcea. Until the end of 2019, three new community foundations joined the network: Banatul Montan (Reșița), Buzău, and Vâlcea. At the end of 2019, there were nineteen active community foundations in Romania.

Strengthening the role of community foundations in Romania is essential for enabling these organizations to build sustainable programs in the communities they serve, to cultivate leaders, unlock resources for development, and facilitate access to opportunities for local citizens and businesses.

Over time, the program managed by ARC developed and integrated various resources and support tools for community foundations:

1
Technical assistance and start-up grants, support for institutional development of the national network, small grants for organizations' needs, and local projects / programs that aim to raise financial resources from communities.
2
Technical assistance and grants to expand the movement into four new geographical areas: Braşov, Dâmboviţa, Galati and Timişoara.
3
Technical assistance to Increase the efficiency and sustainability of existing community foundations and the Community Foundations Federation in Romania by developing, in a participatory way (with the involvement of the Executive Team, the Board members and key community stakeholders) strategic and operational plans in the medium and long term (2-7 years) and to extend the movement to a maximum of 4 new geographical areas, not yet covered.
4
Grants to community foundations focusing on the development / consolidation of the organization's human resources so that it can successfully implement strategic plans. Financial support provided to the Federation of Community Foundations in Romania in order to effectively fulfill its role of support and guarantor of standards for the community foundation network in Romania.
5
Strengthening the capacity of existing community foundations and expanding the movement by providing technical assistance and grants to three newly established community foundations in new geographical areas: Buzău, Resita (Banatul Montan) and Vâlcea.

Testimonials

“In the open architecture of community-oriented philanthropy, we each try to create  the opportunity to be the best version of ourselves: visionaries, generous, connected, and inclusive. For these reasons, over the past 10 years we’ve invested in building new community foundations and supported their development as an active network  that act as a resource for local communities. For a long time, communities would look outside for resources; but with the help of community foundations, they’ve become aware of the resources they already have: time, money, expertise, and social networks. This was an essential part of our strategy: to focus on their strong points, and not only on their needs.”

Alina Porumb
Asociația pentru Relații Comunitare

Looking back at the first three years of the Iași Community Foundation, I realize how important it is to have a catalyst in your community. How much it matters that someone creates the context, asks the right questions, generates conversations, and brings topics on the public agenda in order for the people to get involved in creating the community they want.

Ciprian Păiuș
Executive Director, Fundația Comunitară Iași

Results

19
community foundations
active in Romania, addressing development needs in their communities
+$6.8
million investments in the community
(grants, scholarships, in-kind donations)
2008-2018
+2.8
million raised
through sporting events
2008-2018
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