The work of the Via Foundation is focused on two main areas of development – the art of giving and the art of living together – or in other words, philanthropy and community development. Via provides support to people who are actively involved in their communities and encourages people to view philanthropy as a normal part of life in the Czech Republic. Our support combines grants and learning opportunities. We also help donors set up advised funds.
Program Guidelines for Building the Future, One Community at a Time
At the Via Foundation, we focus on growing the number of people in the Czech Republic caring and working collaboratively to improve their communities, giving to help others and trusting others.
In most of our programs, support is awarded through jury evaluation of project applications. You can find an overview of our programs in community development, philanthropy development and education below.
Community Development Programs
Through our Community Development programming, we provide support to people and non-profit organizations, located mainly in the Czech Republic, who share a drive to improve their communities in both tangible and intangible ways. Some groups build community gardens. Others revitalize public spaces or hold community festivals. Yet others restore small monuments or breathe new life into heirloom orchards. All of them engage fellow residents from diverse social groups in their efforts. Through their projects, they learn to work together, collaboratively care for their environment and strengthen bonds to each other and to their communities. We provide grants, consultations in project management and citizen engagement, and learning opportunities, guiding these groups in their community work and helping them connect to likeminded people in different corners of the country.
Our Community Development programs include:
Through the Living Communities program, Via Foundation supports a diverse range of projects in Czech communities that can serve as catalysts for change. These projects give people opportunities to work collaboratively for the betterment of their community (e.g. establishing a community center, holding a neighborhood celebration or improving a local park). We encourage and support program participants to use the assets in their own community, engage neighbors as volunteers, initiate a dialogue with other local partners such as the local government, associations, etc.
We have supported 25 projects thus far in 2018. You can read about a selection of them here.
In 2017, we supported a total of 45 projects in three grant rounds. Short descriptions of all of the 2017 projects may be found here: first round – Living Communities January 2017 projects; second round – LIVING COMMUNITIES PROGRAM 2017 second round projects; third round – Living Communities projects third round Dec 2017.
The Community in Which We Live is a long-standing, intensive Via Foundation program for community groups or municipalities improving public spaces in their communities, such as town squares and village commons. The idea is to plan, design and build public spaces that serve the community’s needs, while giving residents a chance to work together, set common priorities and build relationships. We offer project teams customized guidance with community engagement, participation in training workshops and seed funding.
We are excited to have selected a new round of 8 projects in September 2017 and share them with you here. These projects will run through the end of 2018.
You can also read about one of the projects completed in 2016 here.
ViabilityNet 3.0 to is a three-year program aiming to increase community resilience in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) through tangible positive social change in local CEE communities. We believe that by helping communities strengthen local leadership, internal communication and the ability to reach compromises, we will help them become better equipped to deal with challenges that will arise in society in the coming years. The program includes community leadership development programming, a network of partner organizations supporting civil society in CEE, an alumni network of previous ViabilityNet program participants, and impact measurement in collaboration with academic researchers.
You can read more about the program on the dedicated ViabilityNet 3.0 site. You can read about the participants of the community leaders’ development program here and for interviews with some of these inspiring individuals, click here.
The Fast Grants program is intended for active citizens who take a stand on issues such as mismanagement in local government, wasteful use of public resources, land use plan manipulations for personal gain, new construction projects of dubious public merit and other issues which threaten the public interest and/or citizens’ rights. The Fast Grants program has an application deadline once a month in order to provide money quickly to groups addressing pressing issues.
The T-Mobile Fund supports projects that use communication, cooperation and engagement or integration of disadvantaged groups to bring about positive changes in specific communities or areas in the Czech Republic. Via Foundation administers the fund for T-Mobile.
We held our first Community Forum in May 2016 with the aim of bringing together people working on various levels in local communities in the Czech Republic and other European countries. The forum gave community leaders opportunities to glean inspiration from different countries, share their best practices and approaches and support one another’s efforts. We built on the 2016 event with Community Forum 2017: Breaking Out of Bubbles, which once again combined key note speakers, a set of workshops, open space discussions, site visits and networking activities in an informal setting. The focus of the 2017 was exploring the issue of polarization in local communities.
Cultural Heritage Fund
The Cultural Heritage Fund provided support for projects restoring and preserving small monuments and chapels located throughout the Czech Republic. Experts and volunteers worked together to restore these pieces of history and preserve their cultural significance for generations to come. In 2017 we folded the Cultural Heritage Fund into our Living Communities program but we invite you to read about the Cultural Heritage Fund 2016 Projects here.
Support for the Development of Philanthropy in the Czech Republic
Via strives to help make charity, generosity, giving and caring for others a natural part of people’s lives in the Czech Republic. We raise awareness about giving in the Czech Republic and recognize outstanding individual and corporate donors. We also support children and students organizing charity events to launch them on lifelong paths of giving back, and we develop online giving in the Czech Republic. An overview of our philanthropy development programs is provided below.
This program gives children and young people an opportunity to try out philanthropy first-hand by giving them support as they design and implement their own charity projects. The program welcomes teams of youth ages 6 to 26 from a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds interested in experiencing philanthropy for themselves. We invite you to read more about the 14 teams in the 2017-18 program and their charity projects here.
Art of Giving
We publish the Art of Giving journal to provide information in support of philanthropy in the Czech Republic. With a quarterly print run of 11,000 units and an online version, the journal enables us to reach an every-growing audience of Czech philanthropists and future-philanthropists. The online journal (in Czech) is available here.
Via Bona Philanthropy Awards
Each year, our Via Bona Philanthropy Awards publicly recognize individuals and companies for their charitable efforts in the Czech Republic. Each year, the awards highlight exemplary cases of giving and draw attention to new trends in philanthropy, acting as a beacon inspiring current as well as potential donors. 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the VIA BONA Philanthropy Awards and you can read about our special 2017 20th anniversary award program here.
The theme of the 2018 Via Bona Awards is innovation. The ceremony will take place on May 21, 2018 in Prague.
Darujme.cz is an online fundraising tool for Czech non-profit organizations, enabling them to reach out to current and existing donors and offer them an easy and secure way to give online. Darujme.cz is a Via Foundation program that is administered in close collaboration with our sister organization, Via civic association (Sdružení VIA, z. ú.)
Education and Development
Via’s approach to support is multi-faceted, which means that our programs provide more than just grants – we offer educational seminars, workshops, and technical assistance. An overview of our educational programming is provided below. Our sister organization, Via civic association (Sdružení Via, z.u.), provides technical support to Czech non-profit organizations.
Viadukt is an educational program for people from grassroots or small to mid-sized NGOs. By offering staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations training in practical skills, it builds the capacity of Czech civil society. One part of the program serves the needs of start-up organizations, focusing on fundraising, NGO management, accounting, communication, participation and volunteering through a year-long educational program with eight workshops. The second part of the program offers customized workshops for people from community organizations who want to share or strengthen their knowledge with others. You can read about the 2017 Viadukt-Guide program here.
This program supported people starting social enterprises with the joint goal of doing business and improving their community at the same time. The program concluded in 2016.
This program, managed by Via civic association, offers Czech non-profits the opportunity to apply for software and hardware from leading technology companies at discount prices.
Donor Advised Funds
Mr. and Mrs. Hora Fund:
Marie and Vaclav Hora established this donor fund in 2005 to help children in the Carpatho-Ukraine.
Sykora Family Fund:
The proceeds from the Sykora Family Fund support various projects in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Three Sisters Are Helping Fund:
In 2011, the music band Three Sisters established a donor advised fund to help socially at-risk children and youth.
This donor advised fund, established in 2006 by Marek Herman and his students, supports educational and development programs for parents of preschool-aged children.