The Polish-American Freedom Foundation was established by the Polish-American Enterprise Fund to advance the purposes of the Support for East European Democracy Act of 1989, organized in 1990 to support the market economy in Poland.
The Foundation, governed by an independent Board of Directors, adopted the Mission Statement, where it confirmed its double mission of consolidating the results of Polish transformation, sharing the Polish experiences with other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
In its activities in Poland, the Foundation decided to focus on these social groups, especially of rural areas and small towns, which particularly needed support during the transformation process.
One of the two fundamental objectives of the Foundation’s domestic program activity is levelling the playing field in education combined with improvement of educational quality.
As its second essential objective to be pursued in Poland the Foundation has chosen unleashing social energy in local communities, thus supporting social capital building.
The Foundation carries out its mission in three program areas:
The Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s activities were recognized by the International Economic Forum in Krynica, where it received the Award for Eastern and Central European Non-governmental Organization of 2008, mainly for PAFF’s undertakings outside Poland. Among these, the Foundation has provided the most funding to the “Region in Transition" (RITA) Program, which involves the transfer of Polish experiences and the development of relations between Polish civic organizations, local government authorities and other institutions and partners in the East. In 2014, the Foundation was given the Freedom Award by the Atlantic Council for its activities supporting civil society and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2008 the Foundation became a partner of the largest non-governmental grant-giving institution in the world - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Thanks to the Library Development Program, in the years 2008-2015, nearly 4,000 Polish libraries, mainly rural, are transforming into modern centers of information, education, culture and civic activity with free access to the Internet. The program is implemented by the Information Society Development Foundation, established by PAFF in 2008. In 2012 the ISDF was presented with the “E-Inclusion Award” by the European Commission, which awards individuals and organizations implementing initiatives aimed at promoting good practices in the use of ICT and counteracting digital exclusion.
With the permission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, in 2000 the Foundation opened the Representative Office in Poland, the purpose of which is to engage in activities to promote the Foundation and to provide information and consultation to the Foundation with respect to its activities. An important moment in the Foundation’s history was building its own office in Warsaw in 2011, which offered new opportunities for programmatic activities. The modern infrastructure and conference space is used by participants and partners of these initiatives on a daily basis.