Bulgarian Fund for Women (BFW) is the only indigenous donor in Bulgaria that raises funds and gives grants to local NGOs working to advance women’s and girls’ rights, eliminate gender stereotypes, gender-based violence and discrimination, achieve gender equality in all spheres of life and make a social change. We support and empower local NGOs working on gender issues and empower girls and women by involving them in our network and making them active participants and drivers of the social change.
Our vision is a world free of violence, discrimination and inequality, where all girls and women will be able to realize their full potential, will have equal opportunities, will have access to education and other services, will make informed choices about their bodies and lives.
Our mission is to mobilize local resources to develop a women’s movement and female philanthropy for social change in Bulgaria. We work to advance girls’and women’s rights, raise awareness on gender stereotypes and eliminate them, all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence and achieve gender equality.
Objectives of our work:
- To support the Bulgarian women’s human rights organizations working to raise gender awareness of society and for recognition of women’s rights as human rights.
- To strengthen Bulgarian NGO capacity to work on women’s and girls inclusion and empowerment, and improve their skills for mobilizing local resources for their sustainable development.
- To support alternative and innovative women’s initiatives.
- To support independent monitoring of government’s commitments and initiatives related to gender equality in Bulgaria.
- To support cooperation between NGOs working on gender equality on national and local level.
- To promote a new vision for philanthropy as an instrument for social change.
- To support the civil society development in Bulgaria as a precondition for irreversibility of the democratic process.
The idea for setting up the Bulgarian Fund for Women was conceived in 2003 that came out to be a critical one for most of the Bulgarian non-governmental organizations working on gender equality issues.
The difficulties began with the reorientation of a variety of international donors to other regions in the world and hence the lack of funding for the “women’s” NGOs in the country. These challenges encouraged a group of allies to establish a local fund to take care of fundraising and grant-making through programs aiming at women’s and girls’ issues. The process was speeded up by the preparedness of Global Fund for Women – USA to support the idea expressed at the newly founded European funds’ meeting for exchanging experience in Kiev – Ukrainian Women’s Fund, Slovak-Czech Women’s Fund, OSKA-Polish Fund, Mongolian Women’s Fund and Women’s Program of OSI – New York and Mama Cash-The Netherlands in 2003, and in 2004 Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation started making the necessary arrangements for the establishment of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. Then Stanimira Hadjimitova, Director of Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation took part in the annual meeting of 90 women’s funds from all over the world in Toronto – Canada.
The Bulgarian Women’s Fund was registered in September 2004 and on 19 October the fund was publicly inaugurated at an official ceremony. Official guests at the ceremony were Annie Hillar, Senior Program Officer for Europe and the Former Soviet Union of Global Fund for Women, Marketa Hronkova and Vera Klementova from the Czech-Slovak Women’s Fund.
In November 2004 the Bulgarian Fund for Women became a member of the Women’s Funding Network, and in January 2005 an observer of the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum.