Presidential grants competition: results
Results of the open presidential NGO grant contest
The first of three contests in 2015 for the distribution of presidential grants to NGOs has ended. A number of reputable human rights organisations which have been identified as “foreign agents” were left without state support.
The first contest of 2015 for the distribution of grants to non-profit organisations was launched on 20 April. During this time 4380 applications were received and 636 projects were selected to receive financial assistance from the state. At the call for bids it was stated that this round of grants would pay greater attention to regional organisations. The results of the contest are published here.
The Russian social movement Civil Dignity, which distributes funds between human rights organisations, this year in particular supported the foundation In Defence of Prisoners’ Rights (more than 8 million roubles for a project to protect the rights of prisoners and facilitate their resocialisation and employment), the Moscow Helsinki Group (almost 5 million roubles for the continuous monitoring of the human rights situation in Russia) and the Udmurt regional branch of the nationwide movement For Human Rights (more than 3 million roubles for legal assistance for migrants and facilitation of the activities of the local public watchdog).
The chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva told TASS that several regional human rights organisations she had recommended also received support. She stated that only one was refused.
A number of human rights organisations which have been identified as “foreign agents” were left without state support. Those left without grants include the Civic Assistance Committee, Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg, Memorial Human Rights Centre and the Public Verdict Foundation. According to the chair of Civic Assistance, Svetlana Gannushkina, organisations have been deprived of funding “on political grounds”, reports Kommersant.
The director of Public Verdict, Natalia Taubina, said that her organisation had requested funds for monitoring police activities. She said that Public Verdict has now been left without Russian funding. Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg, for which the presidential grant was the only source of funding, intends to submit an application during the next round of the contest. The funds received by the human rights defenders in the previous contest run out in July.
Member of the Civil Dignity contest committee, journalist and social activist Irina Yasina, told Vedomosti that many small non-profit organisations received support in this round of the contest. She emphasised that Memorial, for example, did not receive support because it is already well funded.
Amongst those left without Russian funding is the civil society development foundation Golos-Urals. “The current grant ends in August. They are going all out to stop us observing the elections in September, to deprive us of our office and so on. They do not want us to receive foreign money, and they were afraid to give us a grant. So we will expand our fundraising campaign there is no other way to survive”, wrote Grigory Melkonyants, co-chair of the voters’ rights movement Golos, on his personal Facebook page.
In total, Civil Dignity provided support to 81 projects, the National Charity Fund – 99 projects, the Russian Union of Youth – 83 projects, the National Health League – 93 projects, the Knowledge Foundation – 129 projects, the non-profit Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies – 53 projects, the Women’s Union of Russia – 66 projects, and the Union of Russian Pensioners – 32 projects.
The largest amount from the National Charity Fund was received by the Moscow regional community organisation Fatherland to hold a National Youth Education forum. The National Health League allocated almost 11 million roubles to the Tula regional youth volunteer organisation Restless Heart for its Loft cultural centre. The project description states that it will become a place of “adaptation and socialisation for young people with disabilities, opening up opportunities for self-fulfilment and development”.
The Union of Russian Pensioners allocated 8 million roubles to the One Society foundation, which develops social information projects, for research into the state of the third sector in several federal districts. Meanwhile the Women’s Union of Russia gave 7.2 million roubles to the Culture of Childhood charitable foundation, which supports the cultural development of children, for a series of “Mum Entrepreneurs” training programmes.
The Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies gave its largest grant (8 million roubles) to the independent non-profit organisation Scientific Research Institute for Economic Strategies to “support scientific, educational and business initiatives relating to the formation of the Eurasian financial market”. The Knowledge Foundation gave almost 11.5 million roubles to the Breakthrough Foundation for the creation of interactive materials for the study of Russian history, and the organisation of exhibitions in Russia.
The Russian Union of Youth has allocated 10 million roubles to the non-profit partnership Young People of Tambov Region and the Tula regional movement Unity for an animated documentary film about “real Russian heroes from different eras” and an “incubator for young, patriotic designers” respectively.
The 2015 grant contests will allocate a total of 4,228,200 thousand roubles to NGOs implementing socially significant projects and projects for the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms. The second contest ends on 20 October, and the third on 7 December 2015.
Author: Georgi Ivanushkin