Czech Association of Community Foundations


Czech Association of Community Foundations

Mission

The mission of AKN is to support the development of community foundations and organizations striving to become community foundations, to support their cooperation and communication and to promote and disseminate the model of a community foundation in the Czech Republic.

Current burning priorities

Current burning priorities of the association include:

 

  • the expansion of geographic coverage of community foundations by identifying groups and/or individuals attracted by the community foundation concept;
  • building awareness about community foundations among prospective donors as well as the general public by publishing promotion materials and by organizing visibility campaigns in national media;
  • the association strives to coordinate action taken by Czech community foundations and by relevant service organization with regard to both national and international funding and other partners.

History of the CF Movement in the Czech Republic

Serious discussion about the community foundation concept began in the Czech Republic in 1996. Its main promoters were the VIA Foundation (in cooperation with Community Foundation Silicon Valley, California), C.S. Mott Foundation, Open Society Fund Prague (George Soros Foundation), and the Regional Fund Foundation, which in 1997 became the first established community foundation (later changed its name to Community Foundation of Euroregion Labe).  

Between 1998 and 2004 there were two multi-year programs in the Czech Republic focused on developing community-based organizations. Established under the auspices of a variety of international funders, these initiatives were quite successful except in their stated secondary goal of fostering the development of community foundations. 

At the end of 2005 a new program was launched to build community foundations in the Czech Republic. This effort was financed by the CEE Trust (Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe) and administrated by the VIA Foundation. Four organizations have been participating: the existing community foundation in Ústí nad Labem, two local foundations which are in the process of transforming into community foundations and one civic association designed to establish a community foundation. 

In May 2006 this group created and published a document declaring basic parameters and requirements for a community foundation in the Czech Republic. Later that year, this group established the Czech Association of Community Foundations (AKN), which in October 2006 held its first conference. From this point on AKN began guaranteeing most activities related to the theme of community foundations in the Czech Republic.

Relationships with the National Association of Foundations (Czech Donors Forum)

All members of the “foundation” segment of AKN are simultaneously members of the Czech Donors Forum (CDF). Nonetheless, AKN may not be perceived as an attempt to set up a parallel or duplicate structure. CDF strives to promote philanthropic giving in general, developing circumstance for giving in all forms. Yet, various donor entities involved within CDF compete and hold conflicting interests (the often contradictory debate regarding the potential of introducing 1 % tax assignation in the Czech Republic may serve as a great recent example).  

AKN clearly focuses on supporting interests of community foundations and on developing community philanthropy as a specific donor segment. It is clear that CDF cannot play such a role, for it has to represent interests that are shared for all donor formats (private foundations, corporate foundations and field-specific foundations). CDF has to be loyal to all of its members.  

Roles of AKN complement activities of CDF and CDF can use AKN as a resource of specific information, source of know-how, expertise and experience in community philanthropy as well as a tool for disseminating information regarding Czech giving, primarily at international forums and within groups where CDF has not been directly represented (TCFN, CPI and most European association of CFs).

Analogically, AKN may use complex information on philanthropy compiled by CDF as well as participate in programs focused on legislation, advocacy and training for donor entities organized by CDF, and to disseminate information regarding AKN at national and international level. More shared points may arise as AKN develops. Incorporation of AKN into CDF structures by setting up a “segment for associations” has been a considered option, but CDF does not plan to do so for the time being.

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