The objective of the Competition the Freedom Foundation got involved in was supporting the development of civil society by annual selecting and promoting the most valuable and creative NGO activities – on a national, regional, and especially local level – in the fields of education, culture and national heritage, health protection, social and charitable assistance, environment and regional development, as well as public diplomacy and European integration.
When considering an initiative submitted for the competition, the Competition Chapter (whose first honorary chairman was Jan Nowak-Jeziorański†) took into account the social significance of the initiative, its innovativeness, impact on the development and competitiveness of local communities, and the effectiveness and transparency with which it makes use of public funds. Also, the Chapter considered the institutional stability of the nominated organization, compliance with ethical standards in its activity, and its cooperation with public administration and other institutions. The competition winners were rewarded with financial support which most frequently was allocated for the continuation of their efforts.
As part of the program, in 2007 PAFF took the role of a sponsor of Bolesław Wierzbiański Award for editorial staff of local press. Until 2011 the award was granted by the Polish Journalists Association, and currently it is awarded by the Local Newspapers Association. The winner of the 2016 Bolesław Wierzbiański Award was the editorial staff of the “Gazeta Jarocińska”, and in 2017 the award went to “Tygodnik Podhalański” weekly.
As part of the program, the Foundation also supported the Civic Congress organized by the Institute for Market Economics. The event, held annually since 2005, is a unique form of engaging citizens into a dialogue about the directions of state development, the condition of society and common good. This way it helps enhance and activate civic society. The Congress is an open event and each year it is attended by over one thousand participants, including representatives of central and local administration, NGOs, academics, student organizations, business, and local communities. The 11th Civic Congress, held in November 2016 under the motto “Poland of the Future. Towards Maturity”, was attended by over 1200 participants. The substantive partner of the thematic session titled “How to build local communities based on identity, interest or joint projects?” was “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program.
The Foundation has disbursed $2,446,136, including $4,157 for the current edition of the program.