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We wish to thank all our
partners that cooperate with
the International Renaissance Foundation
in Ukraine and abroad

An opensociety is a society based on the recognition that nobody has a monopoly on the truth, that different people hold different views and interests, and that there is a need for institutions to protect the rights of all people to allow them to live together in peace. The term "open society" was popularized by the philosopher Karl Popper in his 1945 book, "Open Society and its Enemies." Generally speaking, an open society is characterized by reliance on the rule of law, the existence of a democratically elected government, a multifarious and vigorous civil society, and respect for minorities as well as minority opinions.

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930. He emigrated in 1947 to England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics, and then in 1956 to the United States, where he began to accumulate a large fortune through an international investment fund he found­ed and managed. While still a student at the London School of Economics, Mr. Soros became familiar with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound influence on his thinking and, later on, his philanthropic activities.

Mr. Soros established his first foundation in New York in 1979 — the Open Society Fund. His first Eastern European foundation was created in Hungary in 1984, and the Soros Foundation — Soviet Union in 1987. He now funds a network of non-profit foundations and other organizations. In addition to many articles on the political and economic changes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Mr. Soros is the author of "The Alchemy of Finance," "Opening the Soviet System: Underwriting De­mocracy," "Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve," "The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered," and “Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalizm.”

I have spent a lot of effort to accumulate a fortune and to become firmly established in my business. Now I pay special attention to the way my money is being spent and whether it benefits the people and the open society. In the past the International Renaissance Foundation was characterized by a lot of institutional inertia. At last it has managed to “reorganize” and “cleanse” itself and is trying to work better. The Foundation must become a bridge between civil society and the government. The people should rule the government, not vise versa. That is why the International Renaissance Foundation is faced with the task of becoming a social engineer to create an open society based on the acceptance of the fact that no one has a monopoly on truth. Different people hold different views and have various interests. There is a growing need for institutions protecting the rights of all people in order for them to coexist peacefully.

George Soros

Interview with the newspaper Vlada i Polityka (Power and Politics), November 17-23, 2000.

The International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) was founded in 1990. IRF is a part of the international Soros network. This network consists of national and Regional foundations in over thirty countries around the world, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe but also on the territory of the former Soviet Union. The foundations are united by a common mission. They support educational, social and legislative initiatives that promote the progress and strengthening of an open society.

IRF is the largest national charity organization in Ukraine created to provide financial and structural assistance to the development of an open and democratic society in Ukraine by supporting citizen initiatives that coincide with the Foundation's mission. The International Renaissance Foundation finances projects and programs to support national education, culture and the assertion of civil society in Ukraine.

Program Boards and the Executive Board determine IRF’s program priorities. The Boards are composed of pillars of Ukrainian society representing various areas of IRF activity: civil society, education, culture, media, public administration, health care, etc. The Executive Board is the chief civic structure within IRF. It formulates the general strategy and policies.

The majority of grants is awarded to non-profit organizations on a competitive basis. IRF announces competitions aimed at implementing its programs in advance. IRF provides grants to Ukrainian organizations that win these competitions. At the same time the International Renaissance Foundation considers all citizen requests for project financing as long as they fall within the IRF mission.

IRF maintains a representative office in Kyiv (main office) and a network of information partners in Vinnytsa, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad, Luhansk, Lutsk, Lviv, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Sevastopol, Simferopol, Sumy, Ternopil, Uzhgorod, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmelnytsky, Cherkasy, Chernihiv and Chernivtsi.

In 1990-2000 the Foundation supported numerous NGOs in Ukraine, as well as educational, community, cultural and artistic groups, publishing houses, etc. to the tune of over $55 million.

Civil Society

Democratization and Reforming of Local Government and Public Administration

Public Policy


Ukrainian-Byelorussian Cooperation and Exchange

Integration of the Crimean Deportees – Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, Germans – into Ukrainian Society

Roma in Ukraine

Woman in Society

Mass Media

Public Advocacy

Furthering Penitentiary Reform in Ukraine

Legal Clinics

Civil Society Programs

Number of Projects: 513

Grant Amount: $ 2 686 757

Share in the Total Grant Amount: 50.14 %

In the year 2000 the International Renaissance Foundation’s strategic goal and mission did not change. Instead, the Foundation continued to promote the values of an open society governed by law. However, the new political situation provided IRF with an opportunity to achieve its goal more efficiently. For this reason, IRF’s Board identified the following principle objectives of the IRF Strategy for Change in the new environment:

  • supporting progressive government policies in key areas of reform;

  • supporting democratic governance and the rule of law, ensuring increased public participation in wielding and controlling power.

1. The Foundation and the government have a common interest in accelerating democratic and economic transition in Ukraine. Both developed their cooperation on the principles of coordination, coherence and complementarity.

IRF supported the Policy Fellows Program (PFP) to provide the government with a group of 20-25 experts selected on a competitive basis with proper standing to work at selected Federal Ministries (Economy, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Education, Health) and the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers. IRF convened a donor meeting and managed to secure matching funding for the PFP from other sources (Canada, the Netherlands, British Know How Fund, PAUCI, USAID, World Bank, EU-TACIS).

Moreover, IRF supported the establishment of Policy Analysis Units (PAU) within selected Ministries and the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Foundation proposed to concentrate these efforts on the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers which plays an important role in executing the process of reform. By starting reform at the “head” of government IRF had a better chance of making changes in the Ministries. Therefore it supported the upgrading and institutionalization of policy-analytic capabilities in Ukraine. The Foundation responded to the fact that one of the principal obstacles blocking the continuation and acceleration of reform was the inability of Ukrainian policymakers to secure a timely and context-specific analysis of their policy options and long-term consequences of their policy choices.

2. As part of the free media initiative it was IRF’s priority to promote the establishment of a self-regulating system as opposed to government control and to build a partnership for the freedom of expression. IRF played a catalytic role in formulating a joint platform for NGOs concerned with media development in Ukraine.

The “joint platform” is not a large-scale project that demands uniform actions from different organizations but is understood in a sense of cooperation, information exchange and common action. It involves monitoring freedom of speech and journalists’ rights violations, the dissemination of public appeals and providing legal assistance, preventing cases of journalists being bullied, censure abuse and other action that contradicts freedom of speech principles, and an analysis of relevant Ukrainian legislation in light of European standards. In doing so we envision close coordination and cooperation with the Network Media Program and COLPI.

3. The adoption in Decembe 1999 of the EU’s Common Strategy on Ukraine enabled IRF to contribute to the evolution of the EU-Ukraine strategic partnership by promoting and fostering a European identity and the vision of a free and unified Europe. It was especially important as a counter measure to the threat of the so-called “Byelorus scenario.”

Obviously, IRF’s shift towards Europe means by definition a progressive institutionalization of Europe’s involvement in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. However, Ukraine’s “return to Europe” or an EU-Ukraine rapprochement is not the ultimate goal, but rather an instrument to accelerate internal reforms.

It is in this sense and for this reason that IRF considers European Integration an important organizing idea for its programs. So, the Strategy for Change, followed up in the year 2000, reaffirmed the enduring mission of the International Renaissance Foundation to promote open society values. It has defined its principal objectives and strategic priorities in a new political environment. This has enabled IRF to preserve a positive continuity of its most successful programs while starting new ones. Having adopted this Strategy, IRF is making full use of every opportunity to mobilize its own resources and to stimulate the significant efforts made by Ukrainian society to promote changes for the better through a re-energized, consistent and aggressive political and economic reform.

Civil Society Programs Expenditures by Regions of Ukraine:


Projects Supported

Incl. All-Ukrainian Projects


Cherkassy Region


$ 26 939

Chernihiv Region


$ 9 234

Chernivtsi Region


$ 9 500

Crimea and Simpheropil Region


64 (82.05 %)

$ 357 125

Dnipropetrovsk and Region


2 (14.29 %)

$ 41 982

Donetsk and Region


4 (30.77 %)

$ 64 172

Ivano-Frankivsk Region


$ 40 598

Kharkiv and Region


3 (12.50 %)

$ 87 792

Kherson Region


1 (20.00 %)

$ 16 212

Khmelnitsky Region


$ 25 862

Kirovograd Region


$ 6 460

Kyiv and Region


70 (30.43 %)

$ 1 394 503

Kyiv Region


$ 525

Luhansk Region


$ 27 094

Lviv and Region


7 (18.42 %)

$ 138 159

Mykolaiv Region


$ 26 551

Odessa and Region


$ 47 940

Poltava Region


$ 26 775

Rivne Region


$ 24 876

Ternopil Region


1 (16.67 %)

$ 37 949

Transcarpathian Region


2 (6.90 %)

$ 219 243

Vinnitsa Region


$ 22 015

Volyn Region


$ 5 067

Zaporizhia Region


$ 21 909

Zhytomyr Region


$ 8 275



154 (30.02 %)

$ 2 686 757

Democratization and Reforming of Local Government and Public Administration Program

Number of Projects: 38

Grant Amount: $ 277 005

Share of the Total Grant Amount: 5.17 %

The International Renaissance Foundation pays special attention to the development of local democracyand the modernization and openness of the system of public administration in Ukraine. In 2000 IRF supported initiatives in the field of devising new principles of the government’s Regional policy, providing structural and informational support to administrative reform, innovations in municipal management and planning of a stable development on the basis of an effective modernization and democratic openness of administrative activity. IRF promotes the development and execution of various forms of dialogue between the public and governing bodies (public hearings and expert analysis); a modern legislative base (law concepts and drafts, decrees and resolutions by local and Regional administrations) providing a corresponding legal mechanism for decentralizing and modernizing the administrative system in Ukraine, improving the system of accompanying expertise and analysis of the process of municipal and Regional development planning. The program is aimed at democratizing and introducing modern standards of organization and functioning of the domestic system of central, Regional and municipal administrations.

Results achieved through projects supported within the program:

  • holding public hearings devoted to timely (specific) issues of territorial development (budget, land reform, local government participation in developing transport artery infrastructure, etc.);

  • defining (creating) and disseminating model legislative acts of local administrations;

  • reforming the system of inter-budgetary relations;

  • devising and providing a public analysis of city social and economic development plans (Mykolayiv, Kamyanets-Podilsky, Komsomolsk);

  • Regional administration research (indices of strategic plans for territorial development, resource provision, forest usage, communal development, depressive territories, increasing rural social activity, etc.);

  • translating and publishing works by prominent foreign experts on issues of municipal and Regional development;

Many of the projects supported by the Foundation have been highly praised by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) and Regional Rada deputies, mayors, government and municipal officials, the mass media and NGO representatives.

Program Expenditures by Regions of Ukraine:


Projects supported

Incl. All-Ukrainian Projects


Dnipropetrovsk and Region


1 (100.00 %)

$ 7 000

Donetsk and Region


$ 8 000

Ivano-Frankivsk Region


$ 19 500

Kharkiv and Region


2 (100.00 %)

$ 12 500

Khmelnitsky Region


$ 14 500

Kyiv and Region


13 (92.86 %)

$ 106 005

Luhansk Region


$ 10 000

Lviv and Region


4 (57.14 %)

$ 55 500

Mykolaiv Region


$ 12 000

Odessa and Region


$ 7 000

Poltava Region


$ 14 500

Rivne Region


$ 4 000

Zaporizhia Region


$ 6 500



20 (52.63 %)

$ 277 005

Projects Supported by the Program:

Grantee: Association for economic development of Ivano-Frankivsk Region, city of Ivano-Frankivsk

Project Manager: Gennady Rusanov.

Project Summary: Development of a normatively stipulated, equipped and financially supported model for deconcentration of administrative functions of local self-government.

Total : $ 10 000

Grantee: Association "Podillia First", city of Khmelnitsky.

Project Manager: Volfgang Preiss.

Project Summary: Organization of the Conference, "Cluster as Socio-Economic Development Model".

Total : $ 3 000

Grantee: West-Ukrainian Informational and Analytical Center for Miners’ Social Adaptation, the town of Sokal .

Project Manager: Ivan Vaschyshyn.

Project Summary: To set up the agency for social policy, train personnel for the sector of social management, prepare a program for the social development of the Sokal Region.

Total : $ 10 000

Grantee: Donetsk InterRegional Center for Miners’ Social Adaptation, city of Donetsk.

Project Manager: Lidia Zabolotna.

Project Summary: Activation of citizens for solution of the most acute issue that is issue-unemployment. Development and implementation of Labor Clubs’ practices.

Total : $ 8 000

Grantee: Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, Lviv branch, Lviv.

Project Manager: Anatoly Chemerys.

Project Summary: Develop social competence for representatives of rural communities in Staro-Sambir rayon, Lviv Region needed by local authorities for participation and decision-making.

Total : $ 10 000

Grantee: South-Eastern Center for Municipal and Regional Development, city of Luhansk.

Project Manager: Viacheslav Kozak.

Project Summary: Analysis of the status and development of the Program on measures in the sphere of resourc supplies for cities in Luhansk Region.

Total : $ 10 000

Grantee: International Center for Policy Studies, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Yuri Lukovenko.

Project Summary: Analytical support for the process of development and implementation of state Regional policy.

Total : $ 2 500

Grantee: Institute of Reforms, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Yevgen Fishko.

Project Summary: Develop software for presentation and modeling of local budgets, work out proposals on optimization of inter-budget relations at the levels of Region, rayon, and city

Total : $ 14 000

Grantee: Ukrainian Legal Foundation, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Volodymyr Kampo.

Project Summary: Improve normative and legal foundation for local self-government in Ukraine based upon democratization and modernization.

Total : $ 6 000

Grantee: Kyiv Center of Institute for Research "East-West", city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Larysa Mudrak.

Project Summary: Issue the bulletin, "Ukrainian Regional Report".

Total : $ 20 000

Grantee: NGO "Renaissance Party of Kamianets-Podilsky", city Khmelnitsky.

Project Manager: Valery Klimenko.

Project Summary: Train specialists for municipal management through setting up the Municipal Management Department.

Total : $ 6 500

Grantee: Association of Financier from the Cities of Ukraine, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Volodymyr Riaboshlyk.

Project Summary: Attract experts on the issues of local finance to discuss and develop recommendations to the Draft Budget Code of Ukraine.

Total : $ 4 490

Grantee: Foundation on Support of the Local Self-government in Ukraine, under the President of Ukraine, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Alexander Vlasenko.

Project Summary: To hold public hearings, "Perspectives for setting up of the central body of state authority responsible for the carrying out of administrative reform and implementation of the state Regional policy".

Total : $ 6 960

Grantee: Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Svitlana Ozirska.

Project Summary: To organize training of students of theUkrainian Academy of State Management under the President of Ukraine at the International Institute of State Management, Lyons Regional Institute of Management, in governmental institutions and territorial collectives in France.

Total : $ 5 055

Grantee: Executive Board of Association of Citys in Poltava Region

Project Manager: Alexander Beznosyk.

Project Summary: Provide consulting and methodological legal-normative assistance to territorial communities of
Poltava Region.

Total : $ 4 500

Grantee: “Sophia” Fund, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Olexiy Leschenko.

Project Summary: Prepare and print an informational booklet on administrative reform for state employees.

Total : $ 5 000

Grantee: Fund of International Public Communications, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Gennady Omelnytsky.

Project Summary: Local self-government and development of infrastructure on the territory of transport corridors “Krakovets-Pidgaitsi”.

Total : $ 6 500

Grantee: Association of Ukrainian cities, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Myroslav Pitsyk.

Project Summary: Provide training and methodological support for municipal personnel based upon the best experience of local self-government.

Total : $ 8 000

Grantee: Ukrainian Scientific and Research Institute on Mountain Silviculture in the Ukrainian Part of the Carpathian Mountains, city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Project Manager: Roman Oliynyk.

Project Summary: Development of a new strategy in forest exploitation aimed at ensuring of economic growth and social stability in the Carpathian Region.

Total : $ 6 500

Grantee: Institute of Local Democracy, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Svitlana Zakhozha.

Project Summary: Develop and distribute local normative acts that are within the jurisdiction of the bodies of local self-government.

Total : $ 6 500

Grantee: Gorodianska Rural Rada, village Gorod, Kosiv rayon, Ivano-Frankivsk Region.

Project Manager: Marta Sumaruk.

Project Summary: Perspectives for the development of local Rural Rada management in Kosiv rayon, Ivano-Frankivsk

Total : $ 3 000

Grantee: Center for Development of Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses, city of Odessa.

Project Manager: Alexander Yatsenko .

Project Summary: Prepare the Program for strategic development of Chornomorska Rural Rada territory.

Total : $ 7 000

Grantee: Taras Shevchenko All–Ukrainain Society “Enlightenment”, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Victor Lukash.

Project Summary: Create analytical film on problems of land privatization.

Total : $ 8 000

Grantee: Institute of Management and Self-Governing, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Vasyl Kravchenko.

Project Summary: To conduct training for NGO managers and representatives of local bodies of self-government on methodology of organization and carrying out of budget hearings in territorial communities, rayons and Regions of Ukraine.

Total : $ 6 000

Grantee: Center for municipal and Regional Development, city of Lviv.

Project Manager: Grigory Drobenko.

Project Summary: Process of strategic planning for development of inhabited localities in the Western Region.

Total : $ 12 000

Grantee: Fund of Regional Initiatives, city of Kyiv.

Project Manager: Alexander Tarchenko.

Project Summary: Reorganization of land relations: Organizing and conducting of public hearings on issues related to reorganization of land relations.

Total : $ 7 000

Grantee: Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, Dnipropetrovsk branch, city of Dnipropetrovsk.

Project Manager: Liudmila Zaitseva.

Project Summary: Develop elements for a mechanism on this depressed Region’s management.

Total : $ 7 000

Grantee: Institute of Machines and Systems under the State Committee on Policy and Ukraine National Academy of Sciences, city of Kharkiv.

Project Manager: Igor Kononenko.

Project Summary: Work out methodological recommendations for composing programs for development of sectors of the local economy.

Total : $ 8 500

Grantee: Rivne State Technical University, city of Rivne.

Project Manager: Mykola Orlov.

Project Summary: Work out a plan for perspective housing services development in Zdolbuniv city, Rivne Region.

Total : $ 4 000

Grantee: Farmer’s Association of Zaporizhia Region, city of Zaporizhia.

Project Manager: Vladislav Sergienko.

Project Summary: Work out a plan for strategic development of agricultural territories in Zaporizhia Region under market conditions.

Total : $ 6 500

Grantee: Center for Social and Economic Development of Ukrainian Black Sea Areas, city of Mykolaiv.

Project Manager: Oleg Boiko-Boichuk.

Project Summary: Work out a program for strategic development of the South of Ukraine, with the city of Mykolaiv as an example.

Total : $ 12 000

Grantee: Executive Committee of Komsomolsk City Rada, Poltava Region, Komsomolsk city.

Project Manager: Iryna Kovra.

Project Summary: Work out a strategic plan for social and economic development of the city of Komsomolsk in Poltava Region.

Total : $ 10 000

Grantee: Institute of Political Technologies, city of Lviv.

Project Manager: Mykhailo Komarnytsky.

Project Summary: To set up the Center of Educational Policy in the city of Lviv.

Total : $ 12 500

Grantee: NGO "Renaissance Party of Kamianets-Podilsky," the city of Khmelnitsky.

Project Manager: Igor Lepioshkin.

Project Summary: Strategic plan for economic development of Kamianets-Podilsky city by the year of 2005.

Total : $ 5 000

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