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Study Visits

The Community Foundation Study Visit is a one-week long, intensive learning program that brings together practitioners and thinkers from community foundations (CF), CF support organization (CFSO)  in several European countries in one country to meet and interact with community foundations of the host country for mutual learning and reflection. 

ECFI is seeking applications from participants that are curious to understand how CFs work in other parts of Europe, interested in learning and personal development, willing to actively share their own experiences and insights and to contribute to knowledge development in the area of CF practice. Good working level knowledge of English and interest in developing relationships with other peers are necessary prerequisites. It is also required that within 6 months of the study visit, participants produce a personal reflection from the study visit in a form of blog, essay, commentary or video blog and share it with the community of learners involved in prior learning events.

Come and join a group of 12 community foundation practitioners from Europe to collectively explore the experience and practice of our Italian colleagues working in community philanthropy.

From 10th to 16th of November 2019, Assifero and ECFI (European Community Foundation Initiative) will organize a journey to visit three community foundations in different parts of Italy. The end of the study visit will coincide with the Italian national conference on community foundations.

Our partner in Italy is Assifero - the national membership association of Italian grant-making foundations and private institutional philanthropy.

During the study visit, we will meet support organizations and community foundations and learn about their work, the specific challenges as well as best practices, and also failures. We have time for intensive debates and reflective discussions with our hosts in many formal and informal settings and formats.

ECFI and Assifero want to provide a space for reflection on the unique context and the diversity of community foundations in Italy. You can read more about community foundations in Italy and previous ECFI study visits to Germany (2016), Great Britain (2017), and Latvia (2018) on this website.

Application form (deadline for applications: June 20, 2019)

More information

Europe is composed of many diverse countries and regions, with unique cultures and traditions. Change is happening all the time, sometimes fast. Therefore it is important to stop every once in a while and pause – to reflect on the current situation and how cohabitation can be improved. This is exactly what a CF study visit is about. It contributes to a better understanding of the community foundation concept in Europe. 

CFs in Europe are a heterogeneous group of philanthropic organizations, although with many common features and characteristics. The diversity aspect is not only a challenge both practically and intellectually, but also represents potential for learning and advancement. By understanding how others react in a certain situation, we can extend our range of options for similar challenges in our own environment.

CF study visits and CF2CF exchanges provide the necessary framework and space for a fruitful mixture of communication, learning end experiences. They are, so to speak, a real-life social laboratory. And like all good labs, they bring results. These cannot always be precisely defined and classified, but on the whole they help European nations grow together. Because when people start moving, their thoughts start moving, too.

A typical CF study visit lasts one week. The intensive programme brings together a group of 15-20 CF performers and thinkers from all over Europe in one country, creating a space for reflection and discussions around this experience. The agenda consists of a series of meetings and visits to the host CFs, providing the basis for intensive debates and reflective discussions among participants. Everything is organized in a way that allows for maximum interaction. As a follow-up to the study visit, several papers about this experience will be written, shared and discussed online.

Moreover, CF study visit are based on the following principles: 

  • Participants are connected to CF in a practical or theoretical way 
  • Host community foundations are visited by the participants
  • One week of intensive interaction, analysis and discussion 
  • Well-structured and balanced agenda with good workflow
  • Facilitators for effective interaction are integrated 
  • Well-organized logistics and sufficient space for sessions
  • Reflection papers about the visit to be written and shared by participants

Participation in a CF study visit is by invitation based on applications after a study visit has been announced.

Participation in the study visit is determined through an open process: after having expressed the interest, the applications are selected based on their potential to benefit from the Study Visit and contribute to shared knowledge building about the field in Europe. The call for participation is open to a limited number of participants (12) that form a diverse group of learners from existing CFs, emerging CF initiatives, CF support organizations, national CF associations/federations, as well as relevant experts and researchers from Europe.

On the one hand, the visits are designed for practical CF performers (staff, board members, volunteers, donors). On the other hand, we also want to attract participants with theoretical backgrounds. For example, these can be experts or researchers interested in issues such as community cohesion, social capital, foundations and community philanthropy. 

The costs for travelling, meals and accommodation are usually covered by ECFI. However, budgets are limited and co-funding suggestions always welcome.

If you meet at least five of the following criteria, we look forward to your online application!

A promising CF study visit candidate …

… is a member of the staff, Board or a core volunteer of a CF or CF support organization or national CF association. 

… is a researcher or author writing about community philanthropy, foundations, community cohesion or social capital. 

… is a donor who appreciates that learning is important for the development of community foundations, their activities and their support infrastructure. 

… is curious to understand how CFs work in Europe and in particular their community leadership role.

… is interested in learning, personal growth and developing professional relationships.

… is willing to actively share his/her own experience and insights and contribute to the development of knowledge in the area - both during the CF study visit and back home!

… has at least a working knowledge of English.