Romania

Demonstrating the Value of 
Support Organizations

National support organizations can greatly enhance the development of community foundations within a country - not only helping the field to grow, but also supporting efforts to include and engage residents.

As a young democracy, Romania is a recent entry into the community foundation field. But what the former communist stronghold lacks in experience, it more than makes up for in passion and creativity. The dozen community foundations that have blossomed since 2008 under the guidance of Romania’s national support organization, the Association for Community Relations (ACR), are involved in a broad spectrum of social, cultural, civic, artistic and environmental causes.

Key Lessons


undefinedDevelop a Strong Support Network

undefinedProvide More than Money

A community foundation … identifies needs within the community and addresses those needs through engaging the respective community.


Nicu Scorusconsultant to the Association for Community Relations

Established in 2001 with the promotion and development of philanthropy as its core mission, ACR began exploring and testing community foundation support in 2005, but its efforts in this area really took off when it launched a comprehensive Community Foundations Program in 2009. Through this program, ACR is dedicated to supporting community foundation efforts to achieve a higher quality of life for residents. "A community foundation … identifies needs within the community and addresses those needs through engaging the respective community," said Nicu Scorus, consultant to the Association for Community Relations.

Romanian Community Foundations

Iaşi
2012
Oradea
2013
Cluj
2008
Odorheiu Secuiesc
2007
Mures
2011
Bacau
2013
Alba
2010
Covasna
2010
Sibiu
2012
Tara Fagarasului
2013
Prahova
2013
Bucharest
2011
Simona Șerban
Simona Șerban, Executive Director, Cluj Community Foundation, Romania

While it provides some funding, ACR’s support for the community foundation movement goes far beyond financial. With its expertise in philanthropic practices and strategies, ACR works with community foundations to identify and tap into local resources; increase corporate giving; and explore new giving techniques and programs. Additionally, ACR promotes peer-to-peer learning through communication networks, philanthropic training and educational conferences, and offers assistance in areas such as board development, maintaining accurate and transparent financial records, and effective grantmaking.

To further promote the field nationally, ACR partners with the Romanian Community Foundation Federation that was established in 2012. The Federation represents and supports its members through the development and monitoring of standards, education and peer learning, and promotion of the community foundation concept.

People see they can make a big impact in their community when their small amounts are added together.


Alina Porumbdirector of the community foundation program at the Association for Community Relations

Because community foundation leaders in Romania understand the value of providing more than money, ACR, the Community Foundation Federation, and community foundations regularly involve residents as active participants. Although the grants are small compared with those made by many community foundations in Western countries, the interaction is huge. "People see they can make a big impact in their community when their small amounts are added together," said Alina Porumb, ACR’s director of the community foundation program. Two initiatives that not only raise funds for local causes but also inspire a lot of participation in community foundation activities are donor circles and annual swim-a-thons. ACR helped launch these programs and then modeled them for adaptation and use by community foundations throughout the country.

There are still many things to be done, but the community foundations are built to last.


Alina Kasprovschiexecutive director, Bucharest Community Foundation

While the Romanian support organizations work closely with community foundations on engagement, education and communications, the foundations themselves collaborate with donors and residents to identify specific projects and programs to focus on — and then develop creative ways to build interest in them. Examples include:

  • The Bucharest Community Foundation's Alexandra Fund, launched by a 6-year-old girl, was set up through children’s donations to the foundation in lieu of birthday gifts for Alexandra.
  • The Cluj Community Foundation is partnering with the city government on a “participative budgeting” program to get residents involved in earmarking a portion of their taxes to support causes the foundation identifies.
  • The YouthBank movement in Iaşi, which led to the birth of the town’s community foundation, engages students to routinely work with community foundation leaders. Together, they undertake projects aimed at improving the lives of residents while also learning the fundamentals of grantmaking and the benefits of philanthropy.

    “There are still many things to be done, but the community foundations are built to last,” said Alina Kasprovschi, executive director, Bucharest Community Foundation.
Community Foundations in the Central and Eastern Europe/Russia Region

Number of Community Foundations by Country (Year-End 2013)
Countries with Community Foundation Support Organizations
Support Organizations
Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland
Federation of Community Foundations in Poland
Support Organizations
Via Foundation
Czech Association of Community Foundations
Support Organizations
Center for Philanthropy
Association of Slovak Community Foundations
Support Organizations
Ednannia
Support Organizations
Charities Aid Foundation – Russia
Community Foundation Partnership
Support Organizations
Association for Community Relations
Romanian Federation of Community Foundations
Support Organizations
Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation
Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria

The concept of national support organizations fostering the growth of the community foundation field in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia spread quickly. Support organizations like the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, the Association of Slovak Community Foundations, the Workshop for Civic Initiatives in Bulgaria, and the Charities Aid Foundation-Russia are among those that have helped advance the community foundation movement.

Research has shown the best predictor of new growth in community foundations is the presence of national or regional organizations supporting their development for several years prior.

Community Foundation Support Organizations Outside of the United States
Countries Where Mott has Provided Funding

CountrySupport OrganizationsCommunity Foundation
Support Programming Launched
# Community Foundations
in Inception Year
# Community Foundations
Year Ending 2013
United KingdomUnited Kingdom
  • UK Community Foundations
19911646
CanadaCanada
  • Community Foundations of Canada
199229191
BulgariaBulgaria
  • Open Society Foundation
  • Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation
1993013
Czech RepublicCzech Republic
  • Via Foundation
  • Czech Association of Community Foundations
199605
SlovakiaSlovakia
  • Open Society Foundation
  • Ekopolis/Center for Philanthropy
  • Association of Slovak Community Foundations
199618
MexicoMexico
  • Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI)
  • Comunalia
1998325
PolandPoland
  • Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland
  • Federation of Community Foundations in Poland
1998127
RussiaRussia
  • Charities Aid Foundation Russia
  • Community Foundation Partnership
1998145
AustraliaAustralia
  • Philanthropy Australia
  • Australian Community Philanthropy
2000538
GermanyGermany
  • Initiative Bürgerstiftungen
  • Aktive Bürgerschaft
200125259
RomaniaRomania
  • Association for Community Relations
  • Romanian Federation of Community Foundations
2005012
UkraineUkraine
  • Ednannia
2009321
NetherlandsNetherlands
  • SBF
  • Lokale Fondsen Nederland
2011414
Note: In addition, community foundations frequently receive support through philanthropic associations that include all types of foundations, such as the Council on Foundations in the United States.