“DEVELOPMENT OF PHILANTHROPY IS ESSENTIAL FOR SUSTAINABILITY OF CIVIL SOCIETY SECTOR”
“The role of the state is extremely important in building enabling institutional environment for development of the civil society sector and the culture of giving”
The conference “Philanthropy and Civil Society: Acting for the Common Good”, organized by Fund for Active Citizenship – fAKT and regional SIGN Network that gathers the largest indigenous grant makers in the region, was held in Podgorica on November 22nd, with the aim to define the key prerequisites for building a more favorable environment for development of philanthropy in the region.
– With this conference the SIGN network marks the closure of the four year “SIGN for Sustainability” program that was conducted in 6 countries of the region. During this project, network members were mostly working on promotion and development of local philanthropy and models for more sustainable and transparent work of civil society. This conference conclusions will serve as a base for development of a regional Declaration that would additionally define all necessary steps to be taken on all levels, in order to increase support to civil sector and development of philanthropy in the region and all respective partner countries, stated Marija Mitrović from Trag Foundation from Belgrade.
Anica-Maja Boljević, executive director of fAKT, stated that philanthropy has great social significance, having in mind that, besides impact on improvement of life quality of particular community, it also influences development of value system in a society and nurtures responsibility towards community.
– For us in SIGN, philanthropy is an important part of the “puzzle” of sustainability of our key beneficiaries. When we say this, we don’t refer solely to financial support, but also their recognition as an important and inseparable part of the social tissue. At the same time, we believe and expect that by reviving and promoting giving for public good within our society, dominant foreign assistance to development projects and initiatives will be replaced by our own contributions, since the care for community should be our mutual responsibility, Boljević stated.
Danka Latković, the Chief of governmental Office for Cooperation with CSOs in Montenegro stated that the role of the state in the context of philanthropy development is extremely important in order to build favourable institutional ambience for developing civil sector and culture of giving.
– Regarding Montenegro, it is important to emphasize that philanthropy is a significant segment of two strategic documents related to civil society development. The issue of philanthropy is indirectly arranged by the set of tax laws. Law on Corporate Profit Tax and Law on Individual Income Tax define tax deductions for giving for public good, while the last changes and amendments to the Corporate Profit Tax Law also introduced definitions of over 20 areas of public interest, and for the first time besides financial donations, donations in goods and services are recognized as an expense, Latković has stated.
The conference is organized within the regional project “SIGN for Sustainability”, implemented by the SIGN, the network of indigenous grantmakers from Southeast Europe, financed by European Union through Program of support to civil society and co-financed by Balkan Trust for Democracy. One of the main aims of the project was to contribute to establishment of the more favourable environment for development of philanthropy, corporate responsibility, civic activism and inter-sectoral dialogue on national and regional level.
Project is conducted in partnership between Trag Foundation from Serbia, Fund for Active Citizenship, Foundation Mosaic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Forum for civic initiatives from Kosovo, HORUS from Macedonia, and Balkan Trust for Democracy as an associate on the project. Foundation VIA form Czech Republic and Institute for Contemporary Studies from Albania participated in implementation of activities.
The conference has gathered representatives of civic sector, business and public sector, from 5 countries from the region, in order to contribute to better cooperation and dialogue on institutional frame and alternatives for more sustainable funding and work of civil society organizations.