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Polish-American Freedom Foundation

Program Founder


The Foundation was established by the Polish-American Enetrprise Fund organized following the Support for the East European Democracy Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1989.

The Freedom Foundation, which is governed by an independent Board of Directors, launched its operations in 2000 with a double mission: to help consolidate the results of the Polish transformation initiated in 1989 and to share the Polish experience with other post-communist countries in the region. At present PAFF pursues its goals through programs implemented in three thematic areas: education, development of local communities and sharing the Polish experiences in transformation. The Foundation’s programs in Poland focus on rural areas and small towns. Two issues dominate: leveling the playing field in education, combined with its modernization, as well as unleashing and supporting citizens’ potential in local communities.

In the area of international cooperation, in addition to the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program, the Foundation runs a program which is called "Region in Transition" (RITA). The Program is addressed to non-governmental organizations and educational institutions willing to share Poland's experiences of social and economic transformation with partners from other Central and Eastern European countries, the Caucasus and Central Asia. This Program’s open grant competitions award grants to Polish non-governmental organizations for projects designed to share Polish experiences, especially in building civil society, strengthening the third sector, promoting local government transformation, reforming education and media functioning. Grants are also provided for establishing and developing cooperation at a local level with partners from countries participating in the Program. „Region in Transition (RITA) is managed by the Education for Democracy Foundation.

Region in Transition (RITA) website: www.rita.edudemo.org.pl

An essential part of the Program in existence since 2004 have been its Study Tours to Poland. Their purpose is to familiarize citizens of Eastern Europe with the realities of Poland and the European Union. This especially pertains to student leaders from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Moldova as well as professionals from those and other countries in the region. The initiative Study Tours to Poland is coordinated by College of Eastern Europe named after Jan Nowak Jeziorański.

„Study Tours to Poland” website: www.studytours.pl  

The Foundation’s efforts directed at cooperation with the countries of the region were recognized by the International Economic Forum in Krynica, where it received the Award for Eastern and Central European Non-governmental Organization of 2008.
Since 2000, the Foundation has spent over $120 million on its activities and the assets of the endowment exceed $250 million.
PAFF website: www.pafw.pl