In order to promote the consolidation of democracy, regional cooperation on civil society development, and good governance in the Black Sea region, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is creating the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a $20 million plus, 10-year plus grantmaking initiative. Initial donors to the Black Sea Trust are expected to include GMF, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Romanian government.
GMF, USAID and the Mott Foundation have joined forces before, creating in 2003 the award-winning Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), upon which the Black Sea Trust is modelled. BTD is a $35 million fund that has given out millions in grants promoting regional cooperation and reconciliation, civil society development, and democracy-building ideas and institutions throughout the Balkans.
GMF anticipates cash and in-kind commitments totalling more than $20 million when the Black Sea Trust launches, with funding growing to more than $40 million over its lifetime. The Trust will be based in Bucharest and will begin operations in mid-2007.
The countries to be included initially in the Black Sea Trust’s work are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, and the regions of Russia bordering on the Black Sea. Initially, the majority of grants will be directed towards the South Caucasus states, Ukraine, and Moldova. Approximately $2 million will be given out each year within three programmes: Civic Participation, Cross Border Initiatives, and East-East Cooperation.
The Bucharest headquarters of the Black Sea Trust will be added to GMF’s network of offices, which include the US headquarters in Washington DC and six other European offices: Berlin, Bratislava, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade and Ankara.