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Study visit

Backround

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 CF study visit 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.

Concept

The community foundation study visit is a peer learning event of the ECFI, born from the C.S. Mott Foundation’s CF study visit project (2010–2014). 

A typical CF study visit lasts one week. The intensive programme brings together a group of 20–30 CF performers and thinkers from all over Europe in one country, creating a space for reflection and discussions around this experience. The agenda consists of a series of meetings and visits to the host CFs, providing the basis for intensive debates and reflective discussions among participants. Everything is organized in a way that allows for maximum interaction. As a follow-up to the study visit, several papers about this experience will be written, shared and discussed online.

Moreover, CF study visit are based on the following principles: 

  • Participants are connected to CF in a practical or theoretical way 
  • Host community foundations are visited by the participants
  • One week of intensive interaction, analysis and discussion 
  • Well-structured and balanced agenda with good workflow
  • Facilitators for effective interaction are integrated 
  • Well-organized logistics and sufficient space for sessions
  • Reflection papers about the visit to be written and shared by participants

Participation in a CF study visit is per invitation based on applications.

On the one hand, the visits are designed for practical CF performers (staff, Board members, volunteers, donors). They come from existing CFs, as well as promising CF initiatives, CF support organizations, national CF associations and federations. On the other hand, we also want to attract participants with theoretical backgrounds. For example, these can be experts or researchers interested in issues such as community cohesion, social capital, foundations and community philanthropy. 

The costs for travelling, meals and accommodation are usually covered by EFCI, which is possible thanks to our supportive donors. However, budgets are limited and co-funding suggestions always welcome.

If you meet at least five of the following criteria, we look forward to your online application!

A promising CF study visit candidate …

… is a member of the staff, Board or a core volunteer of a CF or CF support organization or national CF association. 

… is a researcher or author writing about community philanthropy, foundations, community cohesion or social capital. 

… is a donor who appreciates that learning is important for the development of community foundations, their activities and their support infrastructure. 

… is curious to understand how CFs work in Europe.

… is interested in learning, personal growth and developing professional relationships.

… is willing to actively share his/her own experience and insights and contribute to the development of knowledge in the area - both during the CF study visit and back home!

… has at least a working knowledge of English.

Participation in the CF study visit is per invitation only. The participant group keeps changing and being updated. If you are interested and meet the criteria outlined below, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Participants in the CF study visit include CF practitioners (staff, Board members, volunteers, donors) from existing CFs and promising CF initiatives, CF support organizations, national CF associations and federations, experts and researchers interested in issues such as community cohesion, social capital, foundations and community philanthropy.

In 2016 the group will be composed of 24 participants from all over Europe (East, West, North and South). The CF study visit participants meet a combination of the following conditions:

  • Is a member of the staff, Board or a core volunteer of a CF or CF support organization or national CF association.
  • Is a researcher or author writing about community philanthropy, foundations, community cohesion or social capital.
  • Is a donor of a CF “. . . who appreciates that learning is important for the development of community foundations, their activities, and their support infrastructure”.
  • Has an interest and curiosity in understanding of how CFs work in Europe (and particularly in Germany in 2016).
  • Is interested in learning and personal growth,
  • Is willing to actively share his/her own experience and insights and contribute to the development of knowledge in the area both during the CF study visit and once he or she is back home.
  • Has an interest in developing relationships with other peers.
  • Has a working knowledge of English.
  • Submits an online application.


Costs of participation

The CF study visit project is designed to cover the cost of participation for its participants (such as international travel, national travel, meals, accommodation). This is possible thanks to the generosity of the donors of the ECFI.

However, the budget is limited. Therefore participants are encouraged to cover part or all expenses out of their own pocket if they can. If they cannot, the CF study visit provides full or partial scholarships as a part of the application process.

Boris Strečanský

Peer Learning Expert

Phone +421 (0)90 340 3362