The Global Challenges Local Solutions program is the latest initiative of the Academy of Development of Philanthropy in Poland.
FROM THE BOTTOM UP
Self-organizing communities supported by local philanthropic resources are key to addressing our societies’ problems and improving quality of life.
Even the biggest, most crucial social problems can be better solved on the local level, in other words starting from the bottom. Or at least ideally they would be solved this way. If there is no support and understanding at the local level, if at the local level leaders are not engaged, they won’t marshal resources towards solutions, and the problems will remain unresolved.
We are strongly convinced that local communities should play the key role in the process of a global problem resolution. It is impossible to solve global issues such as Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,) without grass-root initiatives, run by local communities. Change comes from the bottom-up, so if we want to empower local communities and to encourage them to take part in such process it is needed to foster solidarity by cherishing the values of community philanthropy (tolerance, empathy, care and peace) and to inspire them by promoting good practice.
However, the activities undertaken by local communities need an outside support to make them sustainable and effective. Such support can be offered by community foundations (CFs) and community philanthropy organizations – the institutions that harness local resources, but they also channel social capital and provide community leadership for change. They play a role of a major engine of community philanthropy. They can serve as tutors and guides who share best practice and the variety of methods for solving social issues with local communities.
THERE IS A HUGE POTENTIAL!
There are approximately 650 community foundations (CFs) in 23 European countries (however, in 12 countries there are just one or two CFs and, on the other hand, the number of CFs in UK and Germany totals 420 CFs) and many community philanthropy organizations that differ from the CF’s model, but (as e.g. the organizations from the Act Locally Program) have big influence on the community philanthropy.
Donors are hesitant to support innovative initiatives of community foundations because they are considered risky investments; obtaining finances for the technical assistance shall be equally difficult. Based on it and our experience within V4 Community Foundations Maturity Program we have learned the importance of outside support for such organizations, which serves as the impulse for the development and change in local communities and this is why we decided to organize Global Challenges Local Solutions Fund – long-term funding program to provide small grants to community foundations throughout Europe for the purpose of identifying and implementing local solutions to global challenges. Projects implemented by our grantees need to refer to Sustainable Development Goals.
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