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The Civic Initiatives Fund (Polish: Fundusz Inicjatyw Obywatelskich) is a subsidies contest for non-governmental organisations and entities equated with them (listed in article 3(3) points 1-4 of the Act on Public Benefit Activities and Volunteer Work). Within the contest, eligible entities may receive funds for the realisation of projects within the scope of public benefit.

In the beginning CIF functioned in the form of a Government Programme - Civic Initiatives Fund for 2005-2007. Because the governmental offer directed at the NGOs sector brought positive experiences in 2008, the national budget provision entitled Civic Initiatives Fund was accepted. Since 2009 the contest operates within the Operational Programme Civic Initiatives Fund for 2009-2013 (the Programme was accepted by the Council of Ministers on 4 November 2008).

The main objective of the OP CIF is to increase the participation of NGOs as well as church entities and religious associations conducting public benefit activity in the implementation of public tasks under public policies which are shaped and executed in accordance with the principles of partnership and subsidiary.

The particular goals are as follows:

  1. Increase activity and awareness of citizens and local communities.
  2. Development of the potential of the NGO sector.
  3. Increase of commitment of the NGO sector to social services in the field of social integration and activity, as well as social security.
  4. Supporting the development of the Polish model of social economy.

The accepted document guaranteed PLN 60 million annually for implementation for the CIF contest, including PLN 57.6 million reserved for subsidies supporting realisation of activities. It should be noted that the possibility of subsidising “one-year” or “two-year” projects was allowed. The consequence of this situation is the provision of 30% of the annual allocation for the II instalment of projects the realisation of which was initiated in the previous year.

The steady increase of interest in the competition was seen until 2011 when the number of offers submitted stabilised on the level of 4 thousand a year. With about 500 subsidies per year, this gives 12.5% of applications ending with success. Nearly 27 thousand applications were submitted until now within the CIF between 2005 and 2013, and over 6 thousand of those were subsidised. Jointly PLN 450mln were allocated for subsidies.

The Civil Initiatives Fund entered the social consciousness and the practice of functioning of NGOs as a programme and financial instrument increasing the dynamic of development of civic society, and a sign of care, worked out within the public-civic partnership, over the development of civic activity and the need to strengthen the place and role of the third sector in the realisation of public activities. Its horizontal dimension confirmed the great diversity of the NGOs sector, diversity of the missions and goals, as well as the internal potential, experience, absorption capabilities, range, environment and efficiency of action, and the geographical localisation of individual entities.

Since 2014 the realisation of the Programme of Civic Initiatives Fund for 2014-2020 is planned. The main goal of the Programme is to increase the involvement of citizens and NGOs in the public life.

The particular goals are as follows:

  1. Increase of the number of the bottom-up initiatives.
  2. Increase of the number of citizens involved in the activities of the NGOs and in local initiatives.
  3. Increase of participation of citizens in public affairs.
  4. Increase of potential of the III sector.

The programme assumes the possibility of subsidising of activities in all public benefit spheres listed in the Act, and introduces novelties, such as support of non-formal groups, ombudsman and watchdog groups, as well as experimental projects.


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