Restrictions related to pandemic make a serious problem for local NGOs; they make it difficult to implement civic initiatives and volunteering activities. Counteracting effects of pandemic will be the priority for local communities and for the “Act Locally” Program for the forthcoming months.
In 2000 the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, which was starting its program operation at that time, launched one of its first and biggest grant-giving program – “Act Locally”. It assigned the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland to manage the program.
Since its beginning “Act Locally” helped to activate residents of villages and small towns and stimulate them to carry out civic initiatives responding to their needs. For 20 years now, “Act Locally” has been building social capital, supporting and animating social activity based on cooperation, trust, solidarity of people and courage to act.
The program awards grants at the local level through the network of 77 Act Locally Centers, that is NGOs operating in villages and towns of up to 50,000 residents. The network covers over 650 rural communes and municipalities. “By introducing the method of grants awarded at local level as the first in Poland we wanted to open an opportunity for implementing initiatives stemming from authentic needs of that community. Therefore now, in the face of pandemic, we are opening to initiatives counteracting its negative effects. We are redirecting all funds earmarked in 2020 for local grant competitions, with only few justified exceptions. Together with funds raised by Act Locally Centers it will make a sum of minimum PLN 3 million, out of which over PLN 2 million will come from PAFF,” Joanna Lempart, PAFF Program Director declares.
In the close perspective there arrives the necessity of intervening against threats accompanying the pandemic. Such interventions include lending support to organizations and informal groups that assist seniors, the disabled, people infected or quarantined. They include also the need to deliver food, produce PPE, provide psychological support, counseling, or distance education support.
The “Act Locally” Program supports groups of active citizens, initiatives, organizations that are courageous to act and face that hard task. In that difficult situation we will also support to the network of Act Locally Centers which act as a driving engine for smaller organizations. Considering the challenges we are facing, we have established the Crisis Support Package for Act Locally Centers with a total of PLN 210,000 to be distributed,” Paweł Łukasiak, President of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland explains.
Over the years from 2000 to 2020, the “Act Locally” Program has supported 11,500 projects carried out by local organizations and informal groups all over Poland. The projects related to various areas, such as culture, sports, ecology, tourism, or counteracting exclusion. They engaged 220,000 volunteers and almost 4 million residents. PAFF has disbursed PLN 50 million for their implementation, and the total value of budgets of these projects amounted to PLN 90 million.
More information on: www.dzialajlokalnie.pl