Despite the restrictions and difficulties related to the pandemic, Act Locally Centers have awarded a record number of grants for projects all over Poland. For the first time in its history, the “Act Locally” Program awarded over 1,000 grants.
‘This year’s record number of winning projects attests to the fact that we have a strong and stable network of 78 Act Locally Centers which despite pandemic restrictions and challenges managed to mobilize residents to act, change their neighborhood for the better and help the others,’ Program Director of Polish-American Freedom Foundation Joanna Lempart says. The awarded projects include ecological, educational, cultural, counteracting negative effects of epidemic, implementing new technologies, protecting old traditions and many other ones.
This year the total amount of grants exceeded PLN 4 million. The Polish-American Freedom Foundation disbursed PLN 3 million for the program in 2021, while Act Locally Centers have raised PLN 2.5 m. Grants were awarded to 1,009 projects implemented in over 670 municipalities and rural communes covered by the “Act Locally” Program. The total planned value of the projects (that is the grants, in-kind contributions, and financial contributions) amounts to over PLN 7 m.
‘Our intention was to thaw out social energy and support those initiatives and organizations that suffered negative effects of Covid-19 epidemic. We are sure this way we can help local organizations get back to normal functioning and invite people who have been locked mainly at homes for so long to take part in interesting events and projects,’ President of the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland Paweł Łukasiak says. (The Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland is the Manager of the program.)
In their local enrollment to the competitions the Act Locally Centers introduced such solutions as virtual ODL representatives’ consultations for applying organizations, local grant commissions virtual meetings, continuous enrollment or holding additional local enrollments.
‘The pandemic situation has motivated us to show local communities that there are ways of acting in new formula, by promoting activities in the Internet or in open space, and taking care for ensuring safe participation,’ the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland Coordinator Paweł Zań adds.
About “Act Locally”
“Act Locally” is a program run by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and managed by the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland in cooperation with the network of 78 Act Locally Centers. The objective of the program is to support and activate local communities in small towns and rural areas through civic projects that are important to residents, allow to wake up development aspirations and improve the quality of life, and help to build social capital. In this year’s round, the program launched also a special path “Act Locally and Ecologically” that is implemented in cooperation with WWF Poland.
Over the period of 21 years over 13,000 local projects have been supported. They were implemented by more than 4 million participants, including about 230,000 volunteers. A total amount disbursed for the program was almost PLN 100 m.
Act Locally Centers are the organizations operating in villages and towns of up to 50,000 residents that hold local grant competitions. These local grant competitions allow them to award funds granted by PAFF and raised locally from local governments, businesses and individuals. They are also involved in training and consulting activities and in supporting volunteering.
The “Act Locally” Program awards grants to projects that help solve a certain local problem, meet local residents needs, promote local traditions, history or tourist attractions, introduce modern solutions into the local community life, help develop residents’ skills and competences, and increase their chance for education and development, change local neighborhood, and make it more attractive.