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Europe is composed of many diverse countries and regions, with unique cultures and traditions. Change is happening all the time, sometimes fast. Therefore it is important to stop every once in a while and pause – to reflect on the current situation and how cohabitation can be improved. This is exactly what a CF2CF exchange is about. It contributes to a better understanding of the community foundation concept in Europe. 

CFs in Europe are a heterogeneous group of philanthropic organizations, although with many common features and characteristics. The diversity aspect is not only a challenge both practically and intellectually, but also represents potential for learning and advancement. By understanding how others react in a certain situation, we can extend our range of options for similar challenges in our own environment.


CF study visits and CF2CF exchanges provide the necessary framework and space for a fruitful mixture of communication, learning end experiences. They are, so to speak, a real-life social laboratory. And like all good labs, they bring results. These cannot always be precisely defined and classified, but on the whole they help European nations grow together. Because when people start moving, their thoughts start moving, too.

The CF2CF peer learning events are offered to CFs in Europe as a part of the European Community Foundation Initiative (ECFI). The funding has been generously provided by the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Körber Foundation and the Bosch Foundation. 

Like the CF study visit, CF2CF exchanges are designed to improve the participants’ understanding of other European communities by visiting these regions, entering into a fruitful dialogue and building long-term professional relations and friendships.

What is different will be described in the following.

Smaller numbers: Instead of 20-30 participants, groups of approx. 3-5 people are visiting.

Reciprocal approach: As is typical for an exchange, the learning results are mutual.

Repeated visits: A CF study visit is not limited to one time per year and can be repeated.

Return visits: Whenever possible, the visit in country A will be followed by a return visit in country B. 

Emphasis on practice: Participants are practical CF players, not theoreticians. 

More personal initiative: Participating CFs have to find a suitable partner themselves.

Fewer obligations: No specific tangible outputs, such as reflection papers, are expected. 

The CF2CF exchange on the average lasts 4–5 days, but is not limited to this. We encourage applicants to be creative and make their own suggestions. Likewise, co-funding suggestions are welcome, since the programme can offer a maximum contribution of EUR 4,000 per application.

Cultural differences need to be considered. There also has to be a common language (not necessarily English) that everyone involved knows sufficiently well. Participants are encouraged to communicate about their activities via video blogs, pictures, Twitter or other social media.

For 2018, ECFI has planned to support two to three.  CF2CF exchanges, depending on the levels of funding requested.

CF2CF is open to practically oriented people from the existing CFs or promising initiatives and support organizations. For example they can be executive directors, staff members, volunteers, founders, or Board members.

All interested organizations must complete the CF2CF application form. The proposed exchange activities may be planned to begin from April 2018. 

There are three deadlines for applications in 2018: 26 February, 4 June and 1 October. Deadlines for 2019 will be announced before the end of 2018.

In a selection process, applications will then be assessed by a committee consisting of ECFI internal and external collaborators. It is based on the following criteria:

  • coherence of the application, quality of reasoning
  • potential contribution to long-term relationship building
  • relevance of proposed agenda for the goals of CF2CF
  • quality of the proposed sequence of activities
  • cost-effectiveness
Boris Strečanský

Peer Learning Expert

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CF2CF Exchanges 2018

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