September 10, 2012

Letter from Executive Director Lidia Kolucka-Zuk

August 14th, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe is approaching the end of its grantmaking activity. From the beginning in 2001 to date, we have invested over USD 64,000,000 in grants in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
As many of you know, we will complete grantmaking by the end of 2012. After that, we will make final payments, administratively close the Representative Office in Warsaw, monitor ongoing grants, evaluate and share our experiences to enhance our grantees’ work.

We are very proud that the CEE Trust has contributed to the development of the civil societies in Central and Eastern Europe. The mission of the CEE Trust was to support the long term sustainable development of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, including cross-border and regional activities in which they may engage.

The CEE Trust believes in a broader definition of civil society, one that includes registered non-profit non-governmental organizations (NGOs), but also formally and informally organized citizens, groups, coalitions, movements, representatives of the media and educational institutions that all work for the advancement of the public good. The CEE Trust's task is to encourage them to become more efficient and sustainable, to expand their constituencies and consider their future impact in times when global, European, and local concerns intertwine and influence their environment.

To accomplish our mission we have supported people and organizations in CEE countries to take strategic steps with long-term benefits, toward three mutually reinforcing and intersecting objectives:
-     to create supportive environment for civil society, which includes legal, fiscal and political environments favorable to a strong civic life;
-     to strengthen the non-profit sector through capacity building, advocacy, intra sector and cross-sectoral cooperation and partnership;
-    to enhance financial sustainability of non-profit organizations by developing public and private sources of support for nonprofit sector and by supporting the operational and strategic development of nonprofit organizations.
There is much to be proud of, thanks to the work of our outstanding grantees. Over all these years of the CEE Trust activity, there have been thousands of success stories. Grantees have:
•    held governments accountable for their policies and lack of transparency in decision making processes  
•    pursued open government agenda and led citizen action against infringement of personal privacy
•    provided platforms for public information access and user-friendly analyses of state-issued data that increase understanding of public policies among citizens
•    activated citizens nationally and regionally to act against social injustice and anti-democratic measures
•    contributed to the development of philanthropy in the region

But there is still much left to do.  As a limited life organization, we need to focus on the most effective activity in the remaining period.

We all believe that it is crucial to share our experience and reflections with all our grantees and partners. As you were informed earlier we have been working on the CEE Trust final report. We do hope this report will show not only the achievements of the CEE Trust but will share our thinking about the grantmaking and processes in CEE countries.  

We will stay in touch and keep you informed about the final grants and our next steps.

Best regards,

Lidia Kolucka - Zuk
Executive Director
Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe

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