Community Foundations

A Major Milestone in Turkey's Third Sector: The Bolu Community Foundation

On 3 August 2007, a group of government, business and foundations leaders in Bolu (a town of approximately 85.000 inhabitants, about 250 km from Istanbul) came together to celebrate an important milestone in the third sector: The establishment of Turkey’s first community foundation.

The Bolu Community Foundation (BCF) aims to promote the well-being of Bolu by supporting critical projects put forth by non profit organizations which address the critical social and economic development of the community. Turkey’s first community foundation, BCF, was established with the technical support of TUSEV (Third Sector Foundation of Turkey) as part of its new program area on promoting philanthropy and social investment in Turkey. Serafettin Erbayram, Founding Chairman of the BCF,
opened the meeting and welcomed over 40 participants (see picture) and founders of the BCF. Filiz Bikmen (Executive Director, TUSEV),
Namik Ceylanoglu (Secretary General, TUSEV) and Haldun Tashman (Founder, Tashman Fund) added their remarks about the community foundation initiative and its importance for Turkey. Ahmet Baysal, from the Izzet Baysal Foundation (the nephew of the late Izzet Baysal, from Bolu, one of Turkey’s most prominent philanthropists) also expressed his excitement and support for this new initiative, as did the Mayor and Governor of Bolu.

The enthusiastic and philanthropic inhabitants of Bolu obtained great support for their new foundation from TUSEV’s Social Investment Initiative (supported by the Tashman Fund, Charities Aid Foundation and the Global Fund for Community Foundations), which aims to promote the community foundation practice in Turkey, as well as other new approaches to enabling philanthropy, social investment and strengthening the non profit sector in Turkey.

All eyes will be on Bolu as they establish their new community foundation, which is expected to be legally registered by the end of 2007 with an endowment of 750.000USD, and operationally running by the beginning of 2008 under the leadership of the newly appointed Secretary General Mehmet Gundogudu (left picture, sitting at computer).