The objective of the Competition was to support development of civil society by selecting annually 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 assistance and charity, environment and regional development, as well as social 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 social importance of the initiative, its innovativeness, its impact on development and competitiveness of local communities, and the effectiveness and transparency of using public funds. Additionally, the Chapter considered the institutional stability of the nominated organization, compliance with ethical standards in its activity, and the quality of its cooperation with public administration and other institutions. The competition winners were awarded money prizes which most frequently were used by them for continuation of their initiatives.
As part of the program, in 2007 Bolesław Wierzbiański Award for editorial staff of local press title was established and PAFF took the role of its sponsor. Until 2011 the award was granted by Polish Journalists Association, and currently it is awarded by Local Newspapers Association. The winner of the 2019 Bolesław Wierzbiański Award was the editorial staff of Aktualności Lokalne published in Złotów.
Under the program, the Foundation supports also Civic Congress organized annually by the Institute for Market Economics. The event, held since 2005, is a unique form of engaging citizens in a dialogue about directions of state development, condition of society, and common good. Thus it helps to strengthen and activate civic society. The Congress is an open event and each year it is attended by almost one thousand participants, including representatives of central and local administration, NGOs, academics, businesses, student organizations, and local communities. The 14th Civic Congress which was held in 2019 under the motto “What keeps the Poles together in 21st century – principles, objectives or threats?” was attended by 600 participants. Apart from the issues directly referring to the motto of the Congress, the debates taking place there often deal with matters related to development of local government in Poland. The Congress gives also an opportunity to present PAFF experience in local communities activation.
The Foundation has disbursed $2,516,349, including $3,028 for the current edition of the program.