On October 15, 2017, the Parliament adopted the Act on the National Freedom Institute – Centre for Civil Society Development. With the votes of the majority of MPs, the House passed the legal act that creates the NFI-CCSD. As Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński, Chairman of the Public Benefit Committee and initiator of NFI stated: “This is a draft [of the law] that meets the needs of non-governmental organizations, usually those weaker, local, those that have not had adequate support, also from the Polish state.”
On November 20, 2017, prof Piotr Gliński – Chairman of the Public Benefit Committee, appointed Wojciech Kaczmarczyk as the director of NFI-CCSD.
On February 21, 2018, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki together with Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński inaugurated the activities of the NFI-CCSD Council.
In 2018, NFI-CCSD continued the implementation of the Civil Initiatives Fund Program for 2014-2020. As part of the Program, an open tender competition was conducted, as a result of which 539 co-financed offers for a total amount of almost PLN 57.6 million were selected. 600 entities were covered by the support. The 2018 competition introduced a number of changes compared to the previous editions:
- The formal evaluation of offers submitted in the competition has been simplified, which comes down to the verification of two criteria: submission of the offer on time and by the authorized entity,
- Lack of own contribution from the organization no longer excludes participation in the competition,
- The substantive evaluation of offers has become clearer (the number of criteria has been reduced from 26 to 5),
- A clear system of strategic criteria was introduced, the fulfilment of which enabled the applicant organizations to increase the chances of obtaining funding,
- the strategic criteria concerned among others, facilitating the start for smaller organizations (with a budget of up to PLN 100,000 per year), from small towns (up to 50,000 inhabitants) and those that have not received subsidies under the Program so far,
- organizations that received funding could allocate up to 20% of the grant funds to their institutional development.
As a result of the changes, 66% of the organizations that received funding in the competition were small organizations, 61% were registered in small towns and as many as 70% have received funding from the Program for the first time. The CIF initiative supports activities aimed at giving equal opportunities for participation in public life by smaller organizations and organizations located away from Warsaw and other large urban centres.
In 2018, NIW carried out the statutory task of keeping a list of public benefit organizations entitled to obtain funds from a 1% write-off of personal income tax.
In 2018, the Institute carried out the first tender competition under the Scout Movement Development Governmental Programme for 2018-2030 (ScoutDev). 7 contracts were concluded as part of the 2018 SoutDev competition for a total amount of PLN 31,345,000.00 (including a subsidy of PLN 16,795,000.00 for 2018 and PLN 14,550,000.00 for 2019), which is 99.98% of the amount planned for this purpose.
In the same year, NFI began preparations for the implementation of two more government programs:
- The Civil Society Organisations Development Programme for 2018-2030 (CSODP),
- The Long-term Volunteering’s Support and Development Programme for 2018-2030 (The Solidarity Corps).
In 2019, NFI-CCSD conducted the following open grant competitions:
- In the Civic Initiatives Fund Program for 2014-2020: 2019 edition of the competition, 2020 edition – Priority 1; 2020 edition – Priorities 2-4 (call for tenders),
- In the Civic Organizations Development Program for 2018-2030 PROO: 2019 edition Priority 1a; Priority 1b; Priority 3; Priority 4; edition 2019 Priority 5.
Competitions resulted in:
- 562 grants under the CIF Program 2014-2020 (203 grants under the tranche for 2019 of two-year FIO 2018 projects),
- 236 grants under CIF 2019, 23 grants under FIO 2020 P1. As part of FIO 2019, 97 entities from towns below 50,000 inhabitants got grants as well as 126 entities with a budget of less than 100 thousand PLN,
- 327 grants in the Program for the Development of Civic Organizations for 2018-2030 PROO.
In the Solidarity Corps programme activities were carried out independently by NFI-CCSD and in cooperation with partners countrywide. As part of the open call for proposals, 15 regional (voivodship) partners were selected to implement the activities provided for in the programme. Activities aimed at encouraging participation in the programme and preparation for long-term volunteering were carried out for the direct addressees of the program (volunteers, volunteer coordinators, organizers and the volunteer environment).
Volunteers took part, among others, in information meetings, basic and development trainings, they could benefit from advice on voluntary activities. Volunteer campaigns were organized with the purpose of promoting volunteering. Coordinators and organizers of volunteering participated in training courses on the organization and management of volunteering, in debates, development internships in experienced institutions, and benefited from consultations in the field of cooperation with volunteers.
Information campaigns on volunteering were carried out in local communities, long-term volunteering was promoted and the creation of local coalitions for volunteering was supported. NFI-CCSD provided substantive and promotional support for the program partners, organized meetings, trainings, and offered assistance in carrying out tasks. An educational programme about the programme was developed, and the coaching staff was prepared to conduct educational activities within the Corps. Collaboration with partners started the process of creating an informal “partnership network” that will provide a solid structure for supporting and developing the program in the coming years.
During the Volunteer Forum, a two-day conference for volunteer organizers and volunteers, the program was officially launched. There was also a School Volunteering Forum, which served, among others, as exchange of experiences of volunteer practitioners, determining the needs of the educational environment in the development of social activities of children and youth.
As part of promotional activities, a nationwide social campaign was conducted under the slogan “Help not once, but all the time“, encouraging people to participate in the Solidarity Corps volunteering program. The program’s website and the Volunteer Service System were launched. Registration as participant of the Corps, allows you to choose volunteer offers, document the activities of volunteers and volunteer organizers. Work has been commenced on the certification process for the organizations participating in the program. The principles of the Volunteer Card, a unique benefit program for members of the Corps, have been developed.
NFI-CCSD also performed the statutory tasks related to maintaining the list of PBOs. Pursuant to Art. 27a 4 of the Act of April 24, 2003 on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 688, as amended), the Director of NFI-CCSD published on the website www.niw.gov.pl/opp/reports-opp on December 14, 2018 list of non-profit organizations entitled to receive 1% of personal income tax for 2018 in 2019, which included 8,857 public benefit organizations. Starting from January 2019, the list is updated every month.