Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
Community foundations
Current situation: Facts and figures from the 2010 CF-GSR survey
Number of community foundations at the end of 2009. 12
Number of community foundations established in 2008-2009. Information not available
Total sum of assets, including endowments at the end of 2009. (endowment only)
Total sum of grants made by community foundations in 2009 US$652,367.00
Total sum of the income/donations in 2009. US$734,213.00
Percentage of population that has access to a community
Community foundation with the largest assets, including
endowments, at the end of 2009, and size of its assets.
Stara Zagora Community
Complete list of community foundations (with primary contact name and email address)
Community Foundation Blagoevgrad, established in 2002
Contact person: Ms. Tanya Tsvetkova
Community Foundation Chepelare, established in 2002
Contact person: Ms. Valentina Bozova
Community Foundation Gabrovo, established in 2002
Contact person: Ms. Nina Muskurova
Community Foundation Lom, established in 2005
Contact person: Ms. Krassimira Tomova
Community Foundation Stara Zagora, established in 2003
Contact person: Ms. Daniela Dimitrova
Community Foundation Pazardjik, established in 2003
Contact person: Mr. Hartyun Ashikyan
Community Foundation Tutrakan, established in 2004
Contact person: Ms. Kalina Grancharova
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2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
Community Foundation Yambol, established in 2005
Contact person: Mr. Ivan Karamanov
Community foundation staffing
Not all community foundations in Bulgaria have paid staff. If ever, they are paid on project-related basis.
Legal environment
The current legal and tax environment in Bulgaria is not very favourable to community foundations,
although there are legal or tax benefits given to organized philanthropy, including community
Up to 5% can be deducted from the tax base of individuals, who donate to a pool of pre-determined types
of organizations including community foundations. Larger percentage is set for people donating for
culture up to 15%, and up to 50% for donations given to the National Fund for Treatment of Children.
The total amount of the tax concessions for individual giving cannot exceed 65% from the sum of the
taxation bases. The companies can donate up to 10% of their profit, which is then deducted from it. For
donations exceeding 10% of the profit the difference is still added to the profit and the company has to
pay taxes on it. The law has specified donating to which types of organizations brings you tax incentives.
Key trends affecting community foundation development
1. Unfriendly legal environment
2. Poor economic development in the last couple of years
3. Decreasing foreign donor assistance
Community foundation activity and impact
Community foundations in Bulgaria are bringing the following changes to their communities through
grantmaking and other programmes:
positive changes
citizens more involved in people-led
development √
less poverty/more equal society √
improvement in the position of
marginalised groups √
more responsive authorities √
increased awareness of environmental
issues √
support to arts and culture activities √
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
more trust within the community √
greater transparency/accountability √
stronger linkages across different
parts of the community √
increased charitable giving through
the community foundation √
We strongly believe that the community foundations' campaigns change people’s attitudes towards
philanthropy, making it a matter of choice of the heart and personal involvement.
One example of changing attitudes is Save the Forest Campaign. For a long time, many NGOs have been
trying to raise the environmental awareness using different methods. To us, this campaign is more than
simply “the next green thing”. It provided the citizens with various opportunities and multiple choices of
involvement. The unique approach was the employment of many different fundraising techniques such as:
text message donation; designated bank account; e-pay (online payment service); charitable auction;
charity boxes and “I give” stickers; invitations and a cocktail party, etc. A chance was given also to
people who lacked the financial resources but were willing to make their contribution. They could sign as
volunteers and plant a tree with their own hands. The volunteers during this campaign reached to up to
300 people. This campaign showed the local people that anyone can do good and all good would be
equally appreciated.
Community involvement
The following table shows how community foundations in Bulgaria involve the community in their work:
Yes SomewhatNo
Are community activists involved on boards/committees? √
Do community foundations promote the use of volunteers from the community? √
Do community foundations participate in community issues and discussions led by
others in the community? √
Do community foundations promote information about the community (e.g. through
Vital Signs or similar research and sharing of information)? √
Do community foundations convene or lead discussions on issues of community
importance? √
Are community foundation Boards or governance structures reflective of the diversity
of the community? √
Giving voice to local people
Stara Zagora Community Foundation is a key player in the processes that give voice to the discontent of
the local people towards several occasions of the city air being gassed by the nearby military base.
Community foundations doing more than making grants
Community foundations educate. They teach people that things can happen even with limited resources if
there is a will. An example is a small grant through which a local playground was renovated. After seeing
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
the results people from the community volunteered and began renovating playgrounds in other parts of
the city by themselves.
The importance of small grants
Small grants are very important to the community. They are indispensable when no money can be
attracted from other sources because the problem to be solved is local, it concerns a small group of people
or the money needed is few. They are usually targeted for a specific purpose and are needed urgently. The
small grants promote creative thinking and persuade people to get involved rather than execute.
Community foundation income
Types of funds most frequently supported by donors
1. Donor-advised funds
2. Designated funds
3. Flow-through or Pass-through funds
Types of donors who give to community foundations
1. Individuals
2. Charitable organizations
3. Companies/ Corporations
Strategies for engaging and servicing donors
1. Personal meetings
2. Invitation to participate in events and activities
3. Invitation to charitable events
4. Providing accurate accountability on results
5. Providing tailored services
Trends in donor engagement
Foreign donor assistance is provided mainly by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation through the CEE
Trust and locally through a national grantmaker, Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation. There is no
designated European Union funding for philanthropy development and no interest whatsoever in
structures promoting it, although local corporate donors are beginning to recognize the important role the
community foundations have for bridging their interests with the interest of the local community it is not
yet mainstream.
Assessing and communicating impact
Community foundations rely on the media to help them communicate their programs, activities and
results to the public. Generally this is done through the more traditional media i.e. newspapers, local TV
stations, the radio. Utilizing the new web-based media as well as the social networks is very cunning but
it requires a certain level of skill and is also very time consuming. However the member community
foundations can benefit from using the website of the Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria
(ACFB) where they can upload materials, pictures, documents, etc.
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
Community foundations in Bulgaria benefit quite a bit from national and international networks, and
enjoy very good relationships amongst themselves.
Examples of successful national and international collaborations:
The ACFB is an association of eight community foundations. In 2009 the ACFB provided a grant through
which the local community foundations could implement fundraising campaigns in order to create their
own endowments. Seven of the community foundations took part in the project and succeeded to raise
funds to meet the preliminary set goals.
Sources of support for community foundations
Support organizations, infrastructure bodies, etc.
1. The Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria
2. Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
3. CEE Trust
4. Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation – local national grantmaker, funded by Mott
5. the local authorities of the settlements of operation of the community foundations
6. Bulgarian Centre for Non-profit Law
7. Bulgarian Donors’ Forum
Availability of other types of support
1. Technical assistance – somewhat available
2. Peer visits and networking support – very available
3. Skills training – quite available
4. Information, knowledge management, and research support – somewhat available
Advocacy in public policy
The Stara Zagora Community foundation organized a campaign supported by all local NGOs. As a result
of the advocacy campaign the local government in Stara Zagora designated a certain amount from its
budget to support the local NGOs. Furthermore, each year the local authorities invite NGO
representatives to take part during discussions about the municipal budget.
History of community foundations in Bulgaria1
The development of community foundations in Bulgaria was triggered by international donor programs.
In 1997-98 the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, working through the Open Society Foundation, funded
a challenge grant program to encourage the Open Society Clubs, which spread throughout the country, to
convert themselves into community foundations. Four of the Clubs won grant awards in 1998 – Sliven,
Varna, Bourgas and Rousse. The Open Society Clubs in Varna and Rousse demonstrated success in
1 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report. Researched and written by Eleanor W. Sacks. Worldwide
Initiatives for Grantmaker Support.
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
building short-term funds from local resources. After the end of the Mott challenge funding their local
fundraising gradually decreased.
In 2000 the Civil Society Development Foundation organized several seminars and round tables on
various topics relative to the founding and operation of community foundations. As a result of this the
NGO communities in 6 towns around Bulgaria (Bourgas; Plovdiv; Lovetch; Haskovo; Nova Zagora;
Kardjali) organized themselves to establish a community foundation with the support of local
government. Three community foundations were legally registered as a result of CSDF support: the
Bourgas Community Fund; The Plovdiv Public Fund “Razvitie” and the Lovech Community Fund. The
city governments promised to allocate some budget and in-kind support to these organizations, but the
partnership with local businesses was quite limited. The main interest of these community foundations
was not to raise money from private donors. The purpose of their creation was to operate as a vehicle for
allocating city funds to local NGOs though an open and transparent process, and to manage flow-through
grants coming from external donors. Today, only the Community Fund of Lovech continues to operate
out of the 3 established with CSDF support.
From September 2001 till September 2006, Counterpart International implemented a five-year program
funded by USAID to support the development of community foundations throughout Bulgaria. This
program assisted the establishment of 10 community foundations in the towns of Blagoevgrad, Chepelare,
Gabrovo, Lom, Pazardzhik, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Tutrakan, Vratsa and Yambol. Nine out of the 10
community foundations continued working as community foundations beyond the end of the Counterpart
program. In 2005, the community foundations within the program formed their own membership
association – the Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria (ACFB).
In October 2006, the CEE Trust stepped in to provide follow-up assistance to the group of community
foundation members of ACFB through matching grants for re-granting purposes. The assistance was
planned for 3 years, until mid-2009, and the funding for this program came from USAID-Bulgaria and the
Mott Foundation. The focus of the program is the strengthening of the Bulgarian community foundations
as local grantmakers.
In 2007, the community foundations which are members of ACFB started building their endowments with
the support of an organizational development grant from the WINGS Global Fund for Community
International donors still play a major role in strengthening the Bulgarian community foundations. There
is only one organization self-identifying as a community foundation that was started in 2006 without a
seed grant from international donors: the Community Foundation of Plovdiv. The initiative group which
created it was a beneficiary of training and technical assistance within the program of Counterpart
International, but it took more time to register as a legal entity. It is not a member of ACFB yet.
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
Support Organization: Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria
History and purpose2
The Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria (ACFB) was legally registered in June 2005. It
started with 6 members, and today it has 10 members. The mission of ACFB is to support the
development of philanthropy in Bulgaria by promoting the concept of community foundations, providing
tailored services to its members, and disseminating best practices. ACFB also liaises with international
community foundation networks and distributes information to its members on new international
developments concerning community philanthropy.
Other organizations that support and promote the development of community foundations
The Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust): Since October 2006, the CEE
Trust makes matching grants to community foundations in Bulgaria to support the growth of their local
grantmaking. Through this activity the CEE Trust also helps promote quality standards in the work of the
community foundations. It liaises actively with ACFB in monitoring the overall development of the
community foundations and designing follow-up assistance.
Structure and organization of ACFB
 General Assembly of all members – highest body; it makes strategic decisions, elects the
Managing Board and the Controller of the Association;
 Managing Board consisting of 6 people; makes operational decisions, appoints the Executive
 Controller: an external person, not related to any community foundation; monitors the work of
the Managing Board and reports to the General Assembly, can perform internal audit if
 Executive Director: full time – responsible for the overall coordination of all functions of the
Sources of income: currently 10 percent of the income comes from local sources (membership fees and
donations) and 90 percent comes from international donors (grants).
Currently, only the Controller is an external person, all other people are members of community
Recent accomplishments
 Developed standards for community foundations in Bulgaria;
 Ongoing coordination and exchange of experience between the existing community foundations;
2 Ibid.
Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report
 Organizing on an annual basis the national-level award “Local Donor of the Year”.
Current challenges/future developments
 A new initiative to form community foundations in unserved or underserved areas;
 Efforts to assist some of the current members to expand their geographical scope of work;
 Efforts to involve national-level donors.
Additional resources
See the ACFB website:
The Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust) can be contacted at:
CEE Trust
Sofia Representative Office
22A San Stefano Street, 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Correspondent: Daniela Dimitrova, Director, Association of Community Foundations in Bulgaria