Eurasia Foundation

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The Eurasia Foundation (EF) is a Washington-based non-profit group that is "supported by the United States Agency for International Development and other public and private donors."

On its website, the foundation states that "since 1992, the Eurasia Foundation has invested nearly $275 million through more than 7,700 grants and operating programs in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan." [1]

The Eurasia Foundation grants are aimed at promoting "accelerated development and growth of private enterprise", "more effective, responsive and accountable local government" and "increased citizen participation in the political and economic decision-making process." [2] (Their program focus is similar to the National Endowment for Democracy.)

"The Foundation promotes democracy and market economies in the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. The principal aim of the Foundation is to respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of NIS organizations with small grants. Its priority areas are: (1) business development; (2) business education and management training: (3) economic education and research; (4) public administration and local government reform: (5) NGO development: (6) rule of law; (7) media; (8) electronic communications." [3]


The Eurasia Foundation "receives majority funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through multi-year core grants. In 2004, through open competition, the Foundation received two major non-core awards from USAID to implement the Russian Independent Media Support Program and the Uzbekistan Drug Demand Reduction Program." [4]

In its 2002 Annual report the foundation stated that its ability to attract other funding from corporations, other foundations and institutions. "Until 2002, these multilateral and public-private partnerships were primarily focused on programs in Russia and Ukraine. They are now being expanded in response to new opportunities in other regions. For example, in the Caucasus alone, Norway, Switzerland, the Open Society Institute, and the World Bank have provided financial support for a wide variety of grant programs. And EF has been pleased to welcome the support of new funding partners, such as the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Newmont Mining, and Jinishian Memorial Foundation.
But the most remarkable change in EF’s funding base has been brought about by the revitalization of indigenous philanthropy across the region. In 2002, local donors contributed well over $1 million to support EF grantees in their efforts to promote economic reform and the growth of civil society. The trend is increasingly widespread and includes such disparate examples as the Dynasty Foundation, YUKOS Oil Company, the Volga Federal Administration in Russia, the Ganja Oblast Administration in Azerbaijan, the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating Corporation in Kazakhstan, and the Chui Oblast Administration in the Kyrgyz Republic. This exciting development signals the interest of local individuals, businesses, and regional governments in becoming strategic social investors.[5]


The Eurasia Foundation (EF) believes that societies function best when citizens take responsibility for their own civic and economic future. Foundation programs seek to promote the skills and vision necessary to bring the greatest social and economic benefits to individuals and their societies.


The Foundation was created in 1992 with bipartisan support from the US government to provide funding for development at the grassroots level in the countries of the former Soviet Union. At the time, EF’s method of delivering development assistance was pioneering: delivering financial resources to inexperienced non-governmental organizations in the field coupled with technical assistance to ensure that funds were handled responsibly.

Since 1993, EF has made more than 7,700 grants, disbursed more than 450 loans, and dedicated over $335 million in funding to programs that promote the advancement of democratic institutions and private enterprise in the 12 successor countries of the former Soviet Union. The Foundation implements an annual core program of approximately $25 million.

Structure and Funders

The Foundation, a public-private partnership, operates under the auspices of a board of trustees of private citizens. Since its inception, EF has raised more than $60 million from corporations, private foundations, foreign governments, and individuals, complementing $275 million in U.S. government funding.

Grant Making

EF is structured to respond rapidly to grant requests from both local and foreign institutions. Its field offices, with the assistance of advisory boards, may make grants of up to $50,000; the average EF grant is $30,000. Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis through both open-door and targeted mechanisms.

The Foundation’s grant-making program supports innovative projects with the potential to advance significantly one or more of the following goals:

• Private enterprise development

• Public administration and policy reform

• Civil society

Private Enterprise Development

Provides support and assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs by improving business practices, increasing access to capital and reducing legal and regulatory barriers to business development. EF places priority on projects targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Public Administration and Policy Reform

Supports projects aimed at increasing the effectiveness, responsiveness and accountability of governmental bodies as their roles change. Projects focus on training civil servants; supporting the involvement of civic organisations and think tanks in public policy decisions; and creating centers of theoretical excellence. Support focuses particularly on public administration reform at a sub-central level.

Civil Society

Promotes the development of effective mechanisms for citizen participation in civic and economic decision making. The program focuses on projects that advance the financial sustainability of and create a more nurturing legal and regulatory environment for the civil society sector as a whole. To increase the sustainability of the sector, EF also supports the institutional development of key partners with demonstrated ability to promote constructive social development.

Technical Assistance Programs

EF also directly implements technical assistance programs that extend the reach of small grants and focus resources in targeted sectoral and geographic areas. In addition to its grant-making programs, EF directly implements technical assistance programs that focus resources in targeted sectoral and geographical areas:

• Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), South Caucasus: a network of centers in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia that work to strengthen social science research and public policy analysis by providing open access to fundamental literature, data and professional training. The network is run in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

• Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP), Uzbekistan: a 5-year program aimed at increasing the use of social support services, drug demand reduction services and other healthy alternatives to heroin/opiate use.

• Pipeline Monitoring and Dialogue Initiative (PMDI), Georgia: focused on communities along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline construction project, this program aims to build professional monitoring and program audit skills within the NGO sector in Georgia. PMDI working groups examine the specifics of how well BTC Co. and its contractors comply with the company’s commitments to minimize the negative impact of construction on the environment and surrounding communities.

Legacy Organizations

EF has now has begun creating self-sustaining legacy organizations. After several years of incubation, the Economics Education and Research Consortium (EERC) became an independent organization in 2003. It maintains an office in Moscow providing research fellowship and training to local scholars. It also administers a western-style master’s degree program in economics and a World Bank-funded research center in Kyiv.

The Izmirlian-Eurasia Universal Credit Company (UCC)—successor to EF’s Small Business Loan Program—received its license from the Central Bank of Armenia in 2004. Soon after, it began direct lending from capital contributed by EF and partner Izmirlian Foundation. In its first year, UCC achieved sustainability.

Localization of the Foundation’s regional offices began in 2004, with the launch of the New Eurasia Foundation (FNE) in Moscow. FNE is registered in Russia, headed by a Russian citizen, and overseen by an international board.

FNE is the second link in a chain that EF will establish throughout the region, building on the Foundation’s established presence and creating a legacy of sustainable, local institutions supporting civil society while reducing dependency upon US government funding.

Trustees and Staff

Senior Executives

Board of Trustees

Advisory Council



Contact details

1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: +1 (202) 234-7370
E-mail: eurasia AT