We have been working for almost 20 years as the first and only civic foundation for the development of the local community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a solid foundation in the community, we are part of a worldwide movement of local community development foundations that effectively link local resources to the needs of citizens and the community as a whole. We carry out various activities and projects, with the aim of supporting community development and making positive changes in society, and the main directions in which we operate are focused on the development of support programs for the civil sector in Tuzla Canton, implementation of development programs and initiatives for community and philanthropy. Less than two years ago, we launched our unique platform Doniraj.ba, intended for collecting online donations to support non-profit organizations in BiH. The goal of this platform is to make the process of collecting donations faster, easier, simpler, but also more transparent.
The focus of our work is to mobilize citizens to get involved in community development. In cooperation with the partner organization Network of Active Communities, we identify community leaders, we educate them through our programs, provide them with mentorship, and they ultimately bring together all actors in their communities and work on solutions to local problems. Through various grants, i.e., public calls for applications for the funds that we have in the Tuzla Community Foundation, we financially support the initiatives of citizens, young people and vulnerable groups. In addition to the civil, we strive to encourage the public and business sectors to be involved in a socially responsible way and through donations and cooperation influence the development of the community.
Our goal is to strengthen local organizations and local initiatives that bring citizens together and encourage them to self-organize, participate and be inclusive in solving specific problems in their local communities, settlements, cities and throughout the country. In this way, and through the development of philanthropy in BiH, we want to strengthen mechanisms that have the potential to encourage self-help, independence and self-sustainability of civic initiatives that contribute to local development.
Our goal is to create a self-sustaining society in which, through cross-sectoral cooperation, the needs of the community are heard and work is done on mobilizing available local resources. The essence of our work is to be close to the citizens, to be closest to those organizations and associations that are primarily voluntary, which with their efforts contribute a lot to the development of their community. Giving support through grants is not our ultimate goal. It is just a tool that opens up the possibility for us to support the civic engagement that is most needed at a given moment and that our associations and civic groups can implement. Our goal is through our, relatively small grant, to open the door to projects and organizations for new support and new collaborations, to recognize their work in the community. We are working to empower them and encourage them to better manage projects, organize citizens and strengthen membership, to ask for support from the authorities, to expand the circle of their donors and friends in order to create better conditions for their beneficiaries. The most important thing for us is to communicate with active citizens, those who want to change the situation in the community for the better. We share with them our thoughts on democracy and exclusion, justice and injustice, needs and solutions. Only when we jointly reach the level of having a large number of satisfied citizens, solidary and empathetic citizens, we will have a just and democratic society.
We are most proud of the people who have surrounded us for almost two decades, donating their free time and knowledge for our mission. To the citizens who founded us, volunteers, activists, grants, members of commissions, young people in youth committees, our Board of Directors, donors … To the whole network of good we have woven united in the desire to create a better society for ourselves and others. A society from which young people will not relentlessly leave, but will remain in it and for which they will be ready to devote their free time, skills and knowledge tomorrow. Although we have not chosen the easier path, we have never lost the bigger picture, so we are patiently and diligently working to show various formal and informal groups of citizens, especially those dealing with youth and vulnerable groups, how they can mobilize local resources to realize their initiatives. In that sense, we are setting ourselves up as a bridge between citizens and available resources.
Unfortunately, we are a poor society and raising funds to help and medically treat the sick is our reality. We need to show solidarity and help, but what hurts me is that these are short-term solutions, and if we stop at this understanding of charity and philanthropy, then we will never get out of the vicious circle of poverty and dependence on other people’s help. Philanthropy must get another face in BiH as well. We need to start investing now in solutions that will systematically reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty and the number of people dependent on humanitarian aid. We advocate that donations be directed to the activities of organizations dealing with solutions, negotiating with the authorities to address the situation of the poor and sick in a systematic way, working with people with disabilities, running safe houses, working with children and youth to develop skills and nurture positive values, those that provide scholarships to young people who will develop democracy tomorrow, respect the rights of all and have the skills for the 21st century. We call on the citizens of BiH, wherever they may be, to donate for a better future and for the development of our society in a united, smart, systematic and transparent way.
Since its establishment in 2003 until today, through our activities we have distributed over 1000 small grants worth almost 2 million BAM. The initiatives have been implemented by over 30,000 citizens, and more than 100,000 people have benefited from co-financed projects.