The Global Challenges Local Solutions program is the latest initiative of the Academy of Development of Philanthropy in Poland.



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. Local philanthropic organizations harness resources, but moreover they channel social capital and provide community leadership for change. Our goal is to build a network of independent philanthropic organisations that play such a role.



There are approximately 650 community foundations in 23 European countries. What is more, there are many community philanthropy organizations that differ from the community foundations model, but are highly active community philanthropists. Our 20 years of national and international grant making have taught us the importance of outside support as an impetus for dynamic development and change.

Financial support for community philanthropy development in Europe is in fact essential for survival in a competitive and changing landscape. Outside support in many cases is the only way to support such areas as: innovations, technical assistance, and best practices. Local supporters frequently are hesitant to take on the risk of innovations; financing technical assistance can be equally challenging. Also, community philanthropy groups cannot effectively serve constituencies without cutting-edge communication skills.



There are certainly many challenges facing community foundations and community philanthropy organisations, all deserve consideration and possibly support in the future. Community philanthropy, the major engine of CFs, is grounded in trust and accountably governed communities, another considerable area for improvement, especially in the younger democracies.


In our Program we focus on projects reffering to Sustainable Development Goals.* We would like to gather good practices dedicated to solving problems gathered in SDGs on the local level.

The Fund provides small grants to community foundations and local philanthropic organizations throughout Europe for the purpose of identifying and implementing local solutions to the above global challenges. When fully developed, the Fund will have a grantmaking budget of 500,000 USD and will offer annually 20-30 grants of 15,000 USD on average.

The Academy intends this new program to incorporate both European best practices of community philanthropy, and our own capacity in promoting community activism and local philanthropy. In addition to addressing compelling issues, our new initiative is closely aligned with the Academy’s four areas of strategic focus: community development, corporate community involvement, memorial funds and promotion of civic society (



We support community foundations, as well as other local philanthropic organizations both from Poland and from other European countries since 1998.

In 1998 the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland started supporting the CF movement in Poland. The “Local Philanthropy Development Program” included training sessions and financial support for emerging CFs. The Academy facilitated the process of drafting the first set of standards of Polish community foundations (CF). As a result of the program, 20 CF were established. In 2001, the first 12 CFs set up the Network of Polish CF, and agreed upon a set of common standards and elected governing body.

Moreover, we have also established (with the support of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation), a network of Local Grant Organizations (now called Act Locally Centers) – community philanthropy organizations that are partners of the ‘Act Locally’ program. Currently, there are over 60 of them in the network. Thanks to the Academy’s grants they have supported over seven thousand local projects, totaling over nine million USD.


Beginning in 2007 we entered into a new phase of our activities by starting Academy’s first international program thanks to the support of Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe. V4 Community Foundation Maturity Program has been supporting the development of community foundations in the Visegrad countries. The Program started from the research, based on which we invited the CFs from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. In the Program there are 35 CFs invited to participate in: (5 Czech, 8 Slovak, 2 Hungarian and 20 Polish). From 2007 to the end of 2014, we allocated almost one million USD to the V4 CFs, including: 74 institutional grants for 31 CFs, and 67 travel grants for 27 CFs.


In 2013 we also measured the CFs’ development in numbers. You can find full results of our research on our website along with the research summary: Over 40 000 grants and scholarships were allocated into communities. The amount of 30 million USD was invested into local projects. The amount of over 53 million USD was raised for activities. CFs have built endowments for the total amount of almost 8.5 million USD.

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