The Various Tools and Processes that Community Foundations Use to Improve Practice


At their inception in 1999, community foundations set about endowment building through the funds matching program “Penny to Penny’ sponsored by the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland (ADPP). Perhaps because Polish registration laws do not oblige them to have an endowment at pre-registration stage, unlike Czech and Slovak CFs, this becomes a priority activity once registered.

Standards development in phases

Work on standards for community foundation was started in 2001 led by the Community Foundations Network in Poland (CFNP) with the support of the ADPP.

From 2005 to 2007, the network implemented the “Operating Standards for Community Foundations.” The standards explained the legal nature of the community foundation (as a foundation or an association registered with the appropriate government bodies), the roles of its Council (that acts as a Board), Audit Committee and CF Management. Standards on capital endowment included the pooling of PLN 50,000 in the first three years of existence.

In 2008, with the establishment of the Federation of Community Foundations and a growing number of members coming from the network of Local Grant Organizations, more work on standards was done. As of 2010, the process of formalizing the standards was ongoing.

ADPP promotes Principles and standards of practice

In its mission, the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland promotes certain principles that they also encourage partners and grantees to adopt: openness, partnership, innovation, reliability and transparency, comprehensive support, teaching independent activity.

The Academy has used grants programs as the tools to build community foundations. For example, the local scholarship programs allow community foundations to provide grants to secondary school students. Another program, Act Locally, (an open grant competition-type) enables community foundations to take part in building local communities. A pre-requisite of the V4 program grant is the community foundation‘s financial counterpart to the project.

The V4 Program Coordinator commented:

  • “The ADPP standards are rather the practice than written rules and they regard mostly ethical, legal and effective practices. We always suggest that our partners and grantees avoid conflict of interests.”

18Report by Iwona Olkowicz and Aneta Kapel, V4 Community Foundation Maturity Program, Program DL dla Leadera, Akademia Rozwoju Filantropii w Polsce / Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland.