Finding ways to make ‘community’ mean more than ‘us’

Monika Pisankaneva and Boris Strečanský

New forms of community philanthropy have joined older, more traditional ones in the Central and Eastern Europe region following the democratization of the 1990s. However, the emphasis of community remains on ‘us’ and very often excludes ‘them’ and while some community philanthropy organizations (CPOs) are finding diplomatic ways to deal with this, they are doing so in a situation which is becoming increasingly competitive.

LGBTI activists in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Modern forms of CPO were brought into the region after the opening of the borders in the 1990s, and were picked up by a new generation of civil society activists seeking to modernize society and looking for alternative ways to do it. It was a generation of activists that also had a greater concern for human rights and democratic instincts.

Despite this, and like the traditional forms of community philanthropy, many of these CPOs are primarily concerned with ‘us’, not with the other’.

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