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



Slovakia15

General Experiences:

Community foundations and community foundation-like organizations came together in the Association of Community Foundations of Slovakia in 2003.

Slovakian law No. 34/2002 stipulates the registration of a community foundation as a foundation defined as an autonomous, non-governmental, non-profit, publicly supported, non-sectarian philanthropic institution; building a permanent endowment provided by separate donors for the charitable benefit of residents of a defined geographic area (this excludes national and multi-national organizations).

Standards set by a national association

The Association requires member applicants to be government-registered and to meet standards including:

  • the ability to make grants serving a range of needs, undertaking a competitive process among grantseekers
  • having a Board of Directors responsible for resource generation, monitoring of operating budgets and grants implementation, and overall legal compliance
  • developing assets according to policies
  • promoting stewardship and accountability as evident in a “balance between donor involvement and Board‘s decision-making” and in investment policies/strategy, and audit processes
  • developing donor relations systematically including educating donors about community issues; providing regular reports about their grants
  • reporting regularly to the public through an Annual Report

A well-established community foundation field

There are mature Slovak community foundations that show evidence of: “strong roots in the community; legitimacy and credibility as grantmakers; local ownership and knowledge; a track record; a multi-stakeholder governance structure; and competence in the administration and disbursement of funds.”16 The very first Community Foundation of the City Banska Bystrica (CFBB) set up in 1992, successfully developed an endowment, a grantmaking program, and technical support programs for emerging community foundations in the region. More recently, because of the track record of CFs, a few like the Presov Community Foundation were tapped to implement bilateral programs (e.g. the education program of the Ministry of Education/ EU). Unfortunately, this program suffered setbacks and as a consequence, the financial advances made by the community foundation were not reimbursed by the government. This threatened the sustainability of the foundation as well as raised questions about such partnerships.

Collaboration for best practice sharing

The Association has also continuously shared best practices and collaborates with the Slovak Donors‘ Forum in the preparation of the “Report on the State of Slovak Foundations.”17


15Report from Katarina Minarova, Coordinator, Association of Community Foundations in Slovakia.
16Alliance magazine, Jenny Hodgson, “__”
17P. Johnson, Global Institutional Philanthropy: Preliminary Status Report 2010, WINGS and The Philanthropic Initiative. P.