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Thematic Meeting 'Resilience & Dialogue' Bucharest 19-20 April

Come to Bucharest and join your colleagues from community foundations in Romania and Europe to explore what resilience means to our work and us.

With the ambition to collectively explore existing practices and approaches of community foundations in Europe that strengthen the resilience of communities and the capacity for dialogue, the Association for Community Relations (ARC) and ECFI (European Community Foundation Initiative) are preparing a two day peer learning event “Resilience Laboratory” on 19-20 April in Bucharest. Its purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community foundations to understand and address broader issues and better define the idea of community leadership in European context.

The event is open for limited number of participants (16) from the Romania (8) and Europe (8) and will also host 4-5 resource persons from Europe with various expertise related to the topic.

For ensuring the participation, interested CF practitioners are expected to write a short essay (one page maximum) about how they have experienced resilience, at a personal level or in their work with the community. The application form for expressing interest to participate is now available. 

Join here

The organizers will cover the cost of the accommodation (2 nights), meals and venue including the organizing costs. We invite participants to explore possibilities to participate in the costs by covering their own travel costs (airfare), but are also prepared to cover this should it be a barrier to participation.

If you are interested in joining the meeting please fill-in this form by 20 March, confirming your preliminary interest and provide input. We will review all responses and will come back to you with a confirmation by 23 March. Please be aware that the number of places is limited.

Resilience & Dialogue meeting is part of series of events that will explore the concept of resilience, starting from the personal level (how can people become more resilient human beings) to the organizational level and then to the community level – how communities can create space for innovation and progress, how they can anticipate negative trends and events, and how they can develop inner ability to reinvent themselves. The Bucharest meeting will be the first in a series of events dedicated to the theme of resilience. The events will focus on sharing experiences and creating space for testing innovative approaches.


Plans for a Thematic Meeting (Bucharest) and Study Visit (Latvia)

With the ambition to explore existing practices and approaches of community foundations in Europe that strengthen the resiliency of communities and the capacity for dialogue, the Association for Community Relations (ARC) and ECFI are preparing a two day peer learning event “Resilience Laboratory” on 18-20 April in Bucharest. Its purpose is to strengthen the capacity of CFs to understand and address broader issues and better define the idea of community leadership in European context.

Why Resilience?

Organizations in general and community foundations in particular are challenged to be able to read a very fluid & traumatic social dynamics, anticipate how this is going to impact their work and rapidly redesign their strategies accordingly. In the nowadays polarized society, community foundations, as pro-social expressions of citizens for citizens, face the increased diversity and polarization that impacts their local donors, supporters, volunteers, board members, local partners and community civic groups. This poses a new challenge to any civic engagement on how to steer in these waters wisely and still catalyze the civic energy for the benefit and positive vision of the community.

The Meeting

Resilience Laboratory is part of series of events (first in April, second in June or August 2018) that will explore the concept of resilience, starting from the personal level (how can people become more resilient human beings) to the organizational level and then to the community level – how can communities create space for innovation and progress, how can they anticipate negative trends and events, and how can they develop inner ability to reinvent themselves.

The general definition of resilience revolves around the idea that the community resilience is the ability of a community to withstand and quickly recover from difficult situations and hard times. The resilience of a community is demonstrated in case of preparing and reacting to natural disasters (see Miami or New Orleans), to political hardship (Romania in the last years has been an example of resisting political pressure with street the protests), to economic crises or societal pressures (refugee integration) or other issues with which a community confronts.  A community can train and increase its resilience, but in order to do so it needs to be able to assess its capacity of resilience and to open a space for dialogue on the topic.

The event has an ambition to be a co-designed learning experience that puts more practitioners together towards creating models that can be used and adapted by various communities. It will focus on sharing experiences and creating space for innovative approaches of various groups of people: 8 people from CFs in Romania, 9 from CFs and CFSOs elsewhere in Europe and up to 8 resource persons from outside the community foundation movement who are interested in the topic of resilience from various fields: academia, non profit, business, arts & culture, architecture, communication. The theoretical assumptions will be tested on communities that are already formed and need to evaluate and increase their resilience.  Spaces that will host the event are grantees of Bucharest CF, that have invested in these initiatives in the beginning of their existence, helping the projects grow and the communities to aggregate around them. The second meeting of the Laboratory is foreseen to be held in June or August this year and will be designed based on the learning from the first meeting.

Contact

A call for expressions of interest for participation will be issued in the first week of March. For more information consult the ECFI or ARC’s websites or write an email to: resilience@arcromania.ro

The host country of the 2018 edition of the ECFI Community Foundation Study Visit will be Latvia. ECFI is planning the Study Visit with representatives of the Latvian Community Foundation movement and with its national supporter, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation, which will take place in the second half of September 2018.

Latvia is a country with a vibrant community foundation movement with 9 active CFs. Among the Baltic States, Latvia is the only country in which community philanthropy has taken root and which can reflect on 15 years of achievement. In the European context, community foundations in the Nordic tier of countries are quite rare, and that makes Latvia a particular case as well as it combines specific cultural and political traditions and influences. The study visit will explore community foundations in Valmiera and Alūksne and will look at ways how Latvian communities address challenges of their development and explore the leadership role CFs play in that process.  

Participation in study visit will be based on an open process based on an expression of interest and assessment of the potential of applicants for contribution to shared knowledge about the field in Europe. Participants will consist of a diverse group of CF practitioners (staff, board members, volunteers, donors) from existing CFs and promising CF initiatives, CF support organizations, national CF associations, and federations, as well as a couple of experts and researchers from Europe. The total number of participants is 14. 

The CF Study Visit typically consists of a series of meetings and visits at the host CFs that provide the background for intensive debates and reflective discussions among the Study Visit participants.

On-line application for participation will open in March/April. To learn more, please consult the ECFI website.

ECFI's 3 year plan - ECFI will deliver and facilitate:

  • Mapping, Preparation & Dissemination of information on CFSOs and CFs in Europe, including the production of guides.
  • Cultivation of the interest of (potential) donors, policymakers and the media.
  • Study Visits (SV): that expose senior CFs and CFSO practitioners to the work and contexts of their peers in another European country and create a space for reflection on the experience, sharing of participants’ own experience and discussion between practitioners and other experts (principally researchers) of topics raised by the visit. Due to their multi-country composition and opportunity they offer for longer and deeper interaction between practitioners, SVs are an important tool to stimulate
  • Thematic Meetings (TM): that offer senior CFSO and CF practitioners a space for intensive peer-to-peer work on topics of common interest and global/regional importance. Resource people from other fields are often involved and outputs are generated for use by the field.
  • CF2CF Exchanges: that permit staff and board members of CFs or CFSOs to conduct one-way or reciprocal visits to better understand each other’s work and context and explore the potential for longer-term relationships – see Get Involved below.
  • Internships: that involve up to 10-day visits for mid-level and senior CFSO and CF staff.
  • Exploratory Learning Grants: Small grants (for study visits, bringing CFSOs or CFs to their country for workshops, studies, etc.) for organizations or individuals interested in developing CFs in countries without CFs or with potential for growth.
  • Development of an online resource to support peer mentoring between CFSOs and CFs and with others with relevant expertise – see Get Involved below.
James Magowan

Co-ordinating Director