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 supports people who are engaging fellow residents to build strong communities and encourages people to view philanthropy as a normal part of life in the Czech Republic. Our support combines grants and learning opportunities, which are offered through our Via Academy. We also help donors set up advised funds.
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 reawaken long-forgotten orchards of heirloom fruit trees. 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:
The Living Communities program gives people the tools they need to make a difference where it matters most to them – in their neighborhoods and communities. We support efforts that engage residents, strengthen bonds, build trust and increase use of local assets for the good of the community. As of 2019, Living Communities also encompasses our Fast Grants programming for citizens taking a stand on urgent local public interest 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 the like.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we supported a total of 47 Living Communities projects in 2018. We invite you to read about a selection of them here. The latest batch of 2019 projects is described here.
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. These projects are based on broad engagement of residents in the planning, design and construction of public spaces that serve local needs, and give residents a chance to work together, set common priorities and build relationships. We offer project teams seed funding, an expert guide to help them with project management and community engagement, and workshops on local fundraising, building with volunteers and engaging community.
You can read about our 2017-19 projects here. We are currently innovating a new rendition of the program with a planned launch date of late 2019.
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. We also invite you to read about the participants of the community leaders’ development program here and for interviews with some of these inspiring individuals, click here.
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.
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.
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.