Founded in the lush Tisza River valley by EWI in 1994, as the next step in developing the Carpathian Euro-region, the Carpathian Foundation assists local institutions and governments by encouraging democratization and sustainable economic development. The Foundation also promotes cross-border assistance programs and helps cement inner-ethnic partnerships. The Foundation operates out of its headquarters in Budapest, Hungary and has regional offices in provincial towns in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
In its first six years of operation, the Foundation gave out more than $3.2 million to over 450 local governments and nongovernmental organizations in response to their needs and requests. In the past few years, the organization has worked on a diverse number of issues, including local development of the NGO sector in Hungary, decentralizing the post-communist bureaucracy in Poland, promoting youth group activities in Romania, resolving environmental problems in Slovakia and sponsoring programs for social, cultural, and economic development in Ukraine. It is of significant credit to the Carpathian Foundation that it has achieved financial self-sufficiency, employs local staff, and exhibits a remarkable sense of camaraderie.
The Carpathian Foundation presents the international community with a bold, proactive model for other troubled regions where long-term suspicions and hostilities have hindered peace, ethnic cooperation and economic progress. By ensuring a higher quality of life and a better standard of living for the inhabitants of the Carpathian Euro-region, the Foundation bestows hope to future generations for continuing peace and prosperity.
EWI spun off the Carpathian Foundation on December 31, 1999. This is part of an on-going commitment by the EWI Board to build local capacities and spin-off successful centres so that EWI can move into other areas which need it the most. There are independent centres today in Budapest and Warsaw as well as the Carpathian Foundation in Kosice that were once EWI centres. This "greenhouse" practice is an important part of the EWI mission.