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Sharing expertise – Foundations in U.S., Europe team up

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U.S. community foundations are teaching their European counterparts how to improve their work through a program sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Washington Post reported on June 12.

In Europe, the government has traditionally provided services that community foundations do in the U.S. – but that is changing.

Italy, for example, privatized its community-owned savings banks in the 1990s. As part of that change, the banking and charitable functions of those institutions were separated.

As a result of the split, new community foundations are springing up all over the country.

Diana Sieger, president of Michigan’s Grand Rapids Foundation, will visit the Italian town of Lecco this month to teach her Italian counterparts about how to involve youth in grantmaking.

Education goes two ways, however. “I hope to learn how government has played a role in the development of community foundations in Italy and Europe,” Sieger told the Post.

American organizations are being paired with foundations in Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Britain, Germany and Slovakia.

For full text, go to the Washington Post.

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