In November, the Eurasia Foundation completed the third and final phase of its plan to indigenize the governance, management and staff of its representative offices. The resultant new organizations, the Eurasia Foundation Partnership, covering Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and the East Europe Foundation, covering Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, will join sister organizations, the New Eurasia Foundation in Russia and Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, established in 2004 and 2006 respectively, to form the Eurasia Foundation Network.
Operations will be completely transferred to the local entities by the first quarter of 2008. Each has its own board and is an independent legal entity. Initially, Eurasia Foundation will make core grants to them as they build their donor base and reach out to local philanthropists, governments, etc. Eurasia Foundation has always received wide support from governments around the world, and this is expected to continue at both the network and local levels.
The four local foundations will work in concert with Washington DC-based Eurasia Foundation to improve civil society, private enterprise and public policy in the former Soviet space. The new foundations will place greater emphasis on implementing locally designed programmes, rather than relying solely on a grantmaking model.
In fact, the process of creating local, self-sustaining institutions began in 2001, with institutional development grants to two projects then being incubated by Eurasia Foundation: the Economic Education and Research Consortium (EERC) and the Small Business Loan Program.
EERC recently completed its tenth academic year. Since its founding, it has expanded to become the Kyiv School of Economics, one of the top schools of economics in Central and Eastern Europe. The Izmirlian-Eurasia Universal Credit Company (UCC), successor to the Small Business Loan Program, which operated in Armenia for ten years, began direct lending from capital contributed by Eurasia and partner Izmirlian Foundation in 2004. In its first year of operation, UCC built a revenue stream sufficient to cover core expenses. It is still operating.