Community Foundations in U.S. and Latvia: How Can We Benchmark Traditions?

Rasma Rozenberga, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2007




In this paper, Rasma Rozenberga explores the possibilities for Latvia provided by the rich U.S. tradition of community foundations. How can this culturally embedded practice be adapted to Latvia and what social and cultural factors should be considered by policy makers? In order to approach these questions, Rozenberga analyzes how the recent history of Latvia presents challenges to foundations working there, in light of the fact that public organizations have trouble establishing legitimacy among locals.


The paper includes case studies of the operations of two US community foundations, the Princeton Area Community Foundation in New Jersey and the Berks County Community Foundation in Pennsylvania, with the hope of drawing lessons for analogous organizations in Latvia. Since public organizations have been somewhat delegitimized in Latvia, Rozenberga suggests that Lativian community foundations seek private business partnerships, and engage in venture philanthropy in order to garner funds and increase the number of Latvians involved in philanthropy. Rozenberga also recommends that Latvia adopt a series of tax incentives and regulatory procedures conducive to fostering community foundations.



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