June 23, 2008

First V4 Community Foundation conference

The Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland hosted the first V4 Community Foundation conference on June 17-18, 2008. Held in Krakow, Poland, the conference brought together for the first time both mature and emerging Community Foundation members from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The list of participants also included guests form Russia, the United States and Romania.

The conference transgressed language barriers and created international dialogue, networks, and friendships. The aim was also to present the main objectives of the V4 Community Foundation Maturity Program (01/07/2007 - 30/06/2010), discuss its key challenges and set grounds for a platform for sharing and learning from each other.

The two-day conference began with Academy members Paweł Łukasiak , president,and Anna Iwińska-Nowak, program coordinator, outlining the importance of activities in the three key program areas - knowledge, supporting development projects, and communication – aimed at helping Community Foundations create sustainable development through human, social, and material capital.   

Local experts took the floor and helped to understand specific differences and common links between Community Foundations of different countries. Experts included Marcel Zajac from Slovakia, Tamas Scsaurszki from Hungary (represented by Dorota Stronskowka), Josef Štogr from Czech Republic, and Paweł Łukasiak from Poland. Each expert showcased that different countries and different communities have specific needs, and, therefore, Community Foundations must create programs based upon the specific history of a community. 
Discussion about the Academy’s grant program competition for V4 Community Foundations was also of key importance. Iwona Olkowicz and Agata Szczukowa, program coordinators, spent ample time on the first day reviewing the terms and conditions of the program. The grants that the Academy plans to award will enable winners to ensure the best internal structure of their Community Foundation. In turn, they will better meet the needs of their respective communities.
This discussion was accompanied on the second day by a presentation by Anna Giza-Poleszczuk and Agata Komendant from the Laboratory on Diagnosing Social Capital. This presentation focused on how Community Foundations may effectively evaluate themselves and ensure the most effective practices and development strategies.    
The Conference concluded with presentations of local Community Foundation work. It was a perfect way to end the two day event because it reminded attendees of the people, men and women, young and old, who are positively affected by Community Foundations.       
The conference was an extremely successful event and the Academy eagerly awaits applications for the V4 Community Foundation Maturity Program. 
The Academy would like to express its gratitude to the V4 Community Foundation Maturity Program’s donors and support organizations:

The C. S. Mott Foundation, Trust for Civil Society in Central&Eastern Europe and the Polish-American Freedom Foundation.



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