New trust for the Balkans

At a time when many funders – both public and private – are reducing their grantmaking in Southeastern Europe, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is launching a major new Balkan initiative. Beginning in early summer 2003, the Balkan Trust for Democracy will begin making grants to support good governance and democracy throughout Southeastern Europe.

The $25 million Balkan Trust is a unique public-private partnership. The initial funders are GMF itself plus the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), but other donors, perhaps European, are actively being sought. The Trust will be active through at least 2013 and will be headquartered in the region.

The Balkan Trust for Democracy is designed as a flexible grantmaking effort, able to respond to the diversity of the region and to changing needs over the next decade. Grants will be made to civic groups, indigenous NGOs, local and regional governments, the media and other organizations to promote democratic governance and strengthen democratic political institutions in individual countries. In addition, grants will be made for initiatives that foster regional cooperation on a range of issues related to improving governance, accountability and transparency.

The Balkan Trust for Democracy will give approximately $1.5 to $2 million in grants each year and will be active throughout Southeastern Europe including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania.

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