Civil Society Program

The Civil Society in Russia continually struggles to find the space to truly focus on mission-driven activities. 

Over the last 15 years, opportunities for nonprofits and civil initiatives in Russia have significantly decreased due to the increasingly restrictive legal system, institutional norms and public policies. Moreover, with return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency in 2012, this restrictive environment around the nonprofit sector became catastrophic. After the introduction of complex repressive legal norms, including the Foreign Agents Law, nonprofits began to face serious harassment from supervisory and legal enforcement agencies on a daily basis. Many major organizations are now spending more of their resources on self-defense than on mission-driven activities, and have no time for development and growth. The Free Russia Foundation within the Civil Society Development Program is committed to supporting Russian nonprofits and civil initiatives in their fight for transparent public institutions, democratization of the country and community development. We believe that Civil Society is the last column of a free Russia. Its support is vitally important. We are collaborating with world-leading nonprofits and experts as well as major Russian organizations on the challenge of structural development in Russia’s nonprofit sector. Our primary focus is on consulting and assisting nonprofits in improving their effectiveness in the current environment, capacity building, donor base development and young professionals program.

Nonprofit Consulting Project

We believe that the best strategy to stand strong against Russia’s hostile environment and current political regime is rapid organizational development and structural upgrade. The aim of the Nonprofit Consulting Project is to support major Russian civil organizations and new social start-ups with the best managerial techniques to increase their organizational performance and program effectiveness.  We will focus on helping nonprofits with the development of their internal structure for better operations and their communication and fundraising strategies to raise social awareness and a foundation of support.

Young Professionals Project

Young and inspired people are a moving wheel of progress that brings fresh ideas and new technologies. It’s very important to keep the young generation of nonprofit managers and campaigners in the sector engaged and to attract new leaders. This project is designed to provide young nonprofit professionals new educational and self-development opportunities as well as opportunities for growth in the organizations they serve. The primary focus of this project is to produce a series of educational events in Russia, Europe and in the United States. These events will be aimed at introducing young managers with industry experts in organizational development, operational management, campaigning, fundraising and communications. We will also provide micro-funding support for distinguished projects that are driven by graduates of our Young Professional Project in order to help them launch their initiatives and more effectively apply their acquired knowledge in practice.