PROSPECTS FOR DEVELOPING COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS IN SOUTH CAUCASUSSUMMARY CONFERENCE REPORTTBILISI: 5THAPRIL 2013The “Prospects for Developing Community Foundations in South Caucasus” conference took placein Tbilisi, on April 5 2013. The conference was organized by the Centre for Strategic Research andDevelopment of Georgia, with the financial support of Community Development Journal (CDJ) andthe Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham in the UK.The conference involved forty representatives from the main Georgian Civil Society Organisations(CSOs), international organizations, as well as CSOs from Armenia and Azerbaijan (see agenda)using community development approaches in the Caucasus.The conference was dedicated to the challenges, constraints and opportunities for communitydevelopment in South Caucasus region. It was designed in an interactive way. The first part wasdedicated to four presentations by CSOs from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on communitywork experience accumulated in South Caucasus countries and an input on UK and Europeanexperiences.The first presentation was made by the Community Development Coalition (CoDeCo), which unites9 Georgian CSOs working with Community Development principles. The presentation focused onthe history of the Coalition, the strategic directions of its activities, the results already achieved andlessons learned (see CoDeCo presentation). The recent publication, prepared by CoDeCo“Community Work and Community Development” was also been presented to the audience.The second presentation by Angus McCabe (Third Sector Research Centre, University ofBirmingham) was dedicated to different European models of Community Foundations and assetbased development. A short history of these approaches was presented along with various currentmodels from East and West Europe and beyond. The main principles, activities, advantages,financial models, opportunities and challenges facing Community Foundations were discussed (Community Foundations presentation).The third and fourth presentations were dedicated to the experience of community work in Armeniaand Azerbaijan (Armenia presentation).Each presentation was followed by questions and brief discussion. Discussion specificallyconcentrated on the following issues: European models of tax exemption and other fiscal incentivesfor financing Community Foundations; different legal forms of community ownership; the maindrivers for establishing Community Foundations and mechanisms for start-up financing them inEastern European countries, e.g. Poland; mechanisms for decision-making in CommunityFoundations and for ensuring their transparency and independence; forms of cooperation betweenCommunity Foundations and Local Governments and the roles of community workers inestablishing Community Foundations.In the second part of the conference the work continued in three working groups, which discussedthe prospects and opportunities for developing Community Foundations in the South Caucasus.Each group developed strategies for facilitating the creation of Community Foundations in Georgia.
The main topics stressed in the working groups were as follows: the importance of – existing strong community groups in the regions, hence the necessity of stimulating andmotivating community members and involving them in the community work civil education and increasing culture of philanthropy and community volunteering analysing and sharing international experience allocating public funds for promoting Community Foundations as well as involving localadministrations and local businesses in the partnership projectsThe recommendations, elaborated by working groups, fall into four main categories: Promote the development of appropriate legislation to regulate Community Foundations(e.g. legislation stimulating philanthropy, volunteer work, social entrepreneurship, relevanttax exemptions etc.) Develop policy, long and short term plans and strategies for promoting CommunityFoundations Develop and consolidate various tools and resources ensuring the establishment,functioning, management and monitoring Community Foundations Establishing pilot community foundationsThe first stage action to be taken following the conference is designing a more detailed plan forpiloting Community Foundations in Georgia with the CoDeCo Coalition. This may include: thestudy/research of the existing situation in Georgia, the conditions for promoting and sharingCommunity Foundation development, learning more from the Eastern European experienceand developing a strategy for establishing Community Foundations in the country.CSRDG May 2013