The objective of the Competition was to support the development of civil society by annually selecting and promoting the most valuable and creative NGO activities – on a national, regional, and especially local community level. The Competition reviewed actions taken in the fields of education, culture and national heritage, healthcare, 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 (Jury), whose first honorary chairman was Jan Nowak-Jeziorański†, took into account the social importance of the initiative, its innovativeness, its impact on development and competitiveness of local communities, as well as the effectiveness and transparency of how public funds were used. Additionally, the Chapter assessed the institutional stability of a given organization, its adherence to ethical methods, and the quality of cooperation with the public administration and other institutions.
In 2007 the Bolesław Wierzbiański Award for the editorial staff of local press was established and was funded by PAFF. Until 2011 the initiative was conducted by the Polish Journalists Association. At present it is awarded by the Local Press Association. The 2021 Bolesław Wierzbiański Award went to the editorial staff of “Tygodnik Podhalański” located in Zakopane.
In 2021, a new undertaking, “Media Forum. Local Development”, was launched based on the experience gained within the competition for the Bolesław Wierzbiański Award. The objective of this pilot project is to support the professional development of local journalists by improving their competencies through training sessions conducted by experienced journalists of local and national media along with other experts. It is managed by the “ROTA” Association.
As part of the “Pro Publico Bono” Program the Foundation also supports the Civic Congress, organized annually by the Institute for Market Economics.
This event, held since 2005, is a unique method of engaging citizens in discussions about the directions of Poland’s development, the condition of society and the common good. The Congress is an open event which each time attracts nearly a thousand participants, including representatives of central and local administrations, non-governmental organizations, the academic milieu, business people, student organizations, and local community leaders. Additionally, the Congress offers an opportunity to present PAFF’s experience in activating local communities.
The 16th Civic Congress, that took place in 2021 under the motto “Poland of Tomorrow. Green Transformation – New Technologies – Cooperation”, was held in a hybrid form due to pandemic restrictions. It was attended by 900 participants. The offer of the Civic Congress is supplemented with “Ideas for Poland” interactive newsletters which offer a space for discussing topics important to the country’s development both at national and regional levels. Expert texts published in newsletters are e-mailed to subscribers on a weekly basis.
The Foundation has disbursed $2,782,685 in grants, including $273,242 for the current edition of the program.