The NEF Community Schools Project at the Donors Forum Meeting in Moscow

At the quarterly Donor Forum meeting Natalia Sukhorukova, Youth and Education Department program coordinator of the New Eurasia Foundation, said that often community schools become centers of local philanthropic activities.

On September 25, 2006 the Donors Forum conducted a meeting to discuss issues of local philanthropy, reports the Resources for Intellectual Information web-site.


Vadim Samorodov, program director of CAF Russia, defines local philanthropy as an opportunity for self-organization of individuals at a grassroots level. He believes it is the development of local philanthropy that will provide for a quality solution of local problems. He also states that the emphasis should not be made only on the work of NGOs that tend to prefer to submit standard projects rather than look for new solutions.


Samorodov maintains that it makes more sense to work with ambitious individuals and groups – with so called ‘social entrepreneurs’. These are people who care for what is going on around them and are capable of bringing together resources necessary for solving specific problems.


Boris Tsyrulnikov from the Tolliatti Community Foundation distinguishes three actors of local philanthropy. They are socially responsible business, active NGOs and local authorities that have a proper understanding of the current situation. However, for the three actors to come together and start working it is essential to have yet another component – an initiative group of people that can see local resources and can find ways to work with them.


Natalia Sukhorukova, Youth and Education Department program coordinator of the New Eurasia Foundation, spoke about the project on the development of community schools in Russia. She pointed out that community schools become often centers of their communities, which is especially true for small villages. Community schools look for additional non-budget funding for their maintenance and the support of social activities of school students. Often community schools establish community school foundations that become sustainable through philanthropic activities of people from the communities.


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