Presidential grants system needs to change

Presidential grants system needs to change, says Public Chamber

Moscow, 21.12.2015

The new grants distributor needs to be able to differentiate between NGOs bidding for state support. Socially oriented NGOs based in the regions find it difficult to compete with experienced NGOs operating at federal level, said A. Svinin, head of Perspectiva, a project of the Public Chamber, to Izvestia.  He thinks the state should change its system of grant-giving. Regional NGOs are ill-equipped to compete with larger NGOs, amongst which there are a number of NGOs deemed “foreign agents”. They have decades of experience in writing applications and in grant campaigns, says Svinin. He thinks that  the situation could be helped by a new grant operator responsible for giving grants to NGOs in small towns and villages. President Putin recently called for presidential grants to be given to socially oriented NGOs “operating in the social sphere, including in small towns and rural areas.” In his address to the Federal Assembly, Putin called for NGOs to have access to funding from the state budget.

In the Public Chamber there is a view that thanks to this new grant operator, regional NGOs will be able to compete among themselves rather than against large NGOs working at federal level. Svinin thinks this will be a fairer competition.

Earlier, it became apparent that the Public Chamber would be given control over the grant funds provided by the Ministry of Economic Development to the Programme for Support of Socially Oriented NGOs. Two options for the further development of this programme are currently under discussion. The Ministry of Economic Development has said it is willing to facilitate cross-sectoral cooperation between government bodies, NGOs and business. In December the Public Chamber declared the results of the 2015 contest for presidential grants for NGOs. 382 projects were awarded funding. Research by the Centre for Economic and Political Reform, the results of which were published by the Russian Business Channel (RBK), showed that one of the largest beneficiaries of presidential grants in 2013-15 was the Russian Orthodox Church, which received at least 63 grants for Orthodox Church projects worth more than 256 m. roubles.

By Georgi Ivanushkin

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