Photo: Fundația Noi Orizonturi
mil USD
granted by 2017 in civic development programs

Romanian-American Foundation invests in strategic programs that aim to get a higher number of citizens involved in actions and projects leading to the development of their own communities. These programs are designed to mobilize resources in support to civic initiatives and actions in the long run.

The concept of philanthropy is still a novelty in Romania. The market is underdeveloped, marked by scattered initiatives and by the inconsistent funding sources available for NGOs. Civil society organizations struggle with scarce resources and do not have the capacity to engage in supporting long-term causes. Discussions about civic participation and individual contributions have increased lately, but these are mostly reactions to emotional causes. Also, corporate financial support is focused on specific communities, social and environmental issues, rather than on civic engagement and long-term support for organizations that, even with limited resources at hand, are able to find innovative solutions to community issues.

Although civic engagement and philanthropic initiatives have flourished over the past years, financial backing is still painfully necessary to support best practices at the national level. Unfortunately, structural funds are not suitable for the task of promoting organizations and objectives related to civic participation and philanthropy.

Given this disconnected landscape, we tried to aggregate mechanisms that bring the interactions between people and their communities to a different level. We believe that a society is that much stronger when its citizens are actively involved in solving issues in their communities. There are already interesting initiatives and organizations that, if properly supported, may grow and generate long-term change. We want to see good developed and brought to fruition. Creativity in the NGO sector, involving young people in the life of their communities while still in school, examples of cooperation between the non-profit and the business sectors are only some of these instances. Another good example is the opportunity to bring together the dispersed efforts of large donors behind a long-term strategic thinking process, benefitting causes and civic initiatives which make sense.

This strategic priority is derived from RAF’s mission to contribute to upholding a democratic society. Civic engagement programs aim to support citizens, civil society organizations, companies and other donors to take over the responsibility of protecting the interests and solving the issues in their communities, in the long run. Thus, resources are focused   on transforming the reality around us and communities grow stronger.

RAF has set a number of strategic objectives under this priority: to support the development of a philanthropy-friendly infrastructure, to encourage civic engagement and to contribute to the capacity development of beneficiary organizations.


Developing an Infrastructure for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement

RAF contributes to the development of an infrastructure of mechanisms and models designed to stimulate philanthropy and foster civic engagement and community development.

The programs under this strategy

  • strengthen existing  mechanisms for mobilizing private resources and bridge society issues with expertise, volunteerism, solidarity, and other resources from people and companies.



  • foster public outreach initiatives, such as research, storytelling, and promoting role models.



  • build and strengthen the capacity of RAF partner organizations to take and/or support leadership in their field of activity
Development of Community Foundations In Romania – capacity development
The program aims at developing a national Community Foundations network and increase their capacity as active centers for local philanthropy .
Community Foundations Capacity Building Fund
Through this program, RAF provides financial support to community foundations and the Federation of Community Foundations in Romania (FFCR) to develop and / or strengthen their teams in order to enable them to effectively implement long-term strategic plans and fulfill their strategic roles.
Civic Innovation Fund
Supports the strengthening of a long-term national funding program for a sustainable growth of local organizations active in the field of civic engagement.
Științescu Fund
This program supports setting up a local funding mechanism for education micro-initiatives aimed at raising children’s interest in sciences.
Focus on Rural Development
The program aims to develop a framework of journalism with focus on rural development, that is story driven, public-powered, and solutions oriented.
Code for Romania
Scaling up the activities and increasing the sustainability of the Code for Romania Association, as well as growing their volunteers’ community, who works to develop digital solutions for issues of public interest.
GDPR and AML Compliance
The program aims to improve the capacity of the Romanian NGO sector to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Legislation.
Marketing and Communication Polyclinic
Improving the communication capacities and the performance in the public relation field of several RAF partner NGOs.
Ashoka Innovators for the Public
RAF supports the introduction and replication of the Ashoka Innovators for the Public model in Romania, a program that identifies and supports entrepreneurial individuals with innovative solutions for society’s systemic problems.
Social enterprises sustainability research
The purpose of this program was to assess how prepared for investments is the social enterprises sector in Romania.
Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives
This program increases the annual number of seats allocated to Romanian leaders eligible to participate in the Marshall Memorial Fellowship program, organized by GMF in the U.S. and Europe.
Civic Education

We envision a society where more young people get involved in civic initiatives, contribute actively to the resolution of various issues in their communities, donate and volunteer. To this end, we support non-formal civic education programs and explore methods to be used by schools in order to build better civic competences for children.

Teaching Media Literacy
The program aims to contribute to improving media literacy of high-school students, both as media consumers and generators of content. The abundance of information and social media changed the media consumption and content creation. New skills, such as critical understanding and usage of information, become more and more important. The project aims to respond to this new trend contributing to building media literacy as a new set of civic skills.
Debate Program in Schools
The program supports the use of debate as an educational tool both in debate clubs (extra-curricular) and during classes.
One World Romania at School
Stimulates the use of documentary films about human rights as a civic education tool, both during classes and as an extra-curricular activity.
Project citizen
Project Citizen is a civic education method teaching students how to relate with public authorities and use their citizen rights to influence their decisions. The program supports the inclusion of this method in the current practice of teaching civic education in the seventh grade.
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