people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania unite around shared ecological
concerns. For decades they have acted together in their quest to
protect the environment and the resources upon which their nations
depend. Involvement in community environmental organizations provides
opportunities to develop the leadership and management skills critical
protection is one of the unifying themes for public participation
and community development. These common
interests allow young and old, people of different political outlooks,
intellectuals and ordinary citizens, to discover the potential of
organized communities to improve themselves.
Baltic Mini-Grant Program has been a part of that process since
1993. ECOLOGIA grants between $100 and $1000 enabled community groups
to plan and implement their own projects. They allowed new leaders
to emerge. Environmental groups are encouraged to organize, to achieve
visible short-term results, to strengthen voluntarism, and to build
on their success by developing links to other sectors of their societies.
Many of these projects involve the public in environmental decision-making
and actions, increasing awareness and strengthening trust and cooperation.
1993, the Baltic Mini-Grant Program has provided a total of $134,388.
in direct aid, supporting 215 separate projects (60 in Estonia,
75 in Latvia, 80 in Lithuania). Matching funds overall add up to
39% of the total spent on projects (which is $220,775 over the eight
year period). These numbers indicate that the Baltic Mini-Grant
Program has enabled recipients to obtain support from others in
their communities, and that though each grant is relatively small,
the cumulative impact is significant.
contains descriptions of each Baltic Mini-Grant Project so far.
We hope that you will enjoy seeing the many initiatives, groups,
and places which have used Mini-Grants to improve the environment
and strengthen their communities.
and Its Results
Grants Are Made
each country, its own Advisory Board is responsible for distributing
information, establishing deadlines, and deciding which projects
will receive funding. Grant applications are straightforward and
non-bureaucratic; they are written in the language of the applicant’s
choice. Groups receiving support do not have to be officially registered.
Indeed, the Mini-Grant Program was designed to encourage people
to organize their own initiatives, by providing money and project
Impacts Benefit Individuals,
Groups and Regions
participating in a community improvement project, people become
more optimistic that they also can make a difference and work to
improve their societies. Coverage in local media, and publicity
for achievements, strengthens the ties between community members
and organizations. Local residents feel ownership of a project which
reflects their own values and interests, and are more likely to
care for it in the future.
groups develop a record of accomplishments which they can use to
document their ability to implement other projects. Increased visibility
of environmental activity encourages grants from other sources,
including municipalities, regional forest districts, national ministries,
and local businesses.
of each country’s Advisory Board gain experience in the executive
and administrative levels of the grant-making process: evaluating
applications, working with grantees, disbursing and accounting for
funds, and collecting final reports.
WWF-International Baltic Scholarship Programme, based in Riga, provided
“leadership training grants” to ECOLOGIA in 1999. Grant recipients
were project leaders who worked under the supervision of a Baltic
Mini-Grant Advisory Board member to develop certain leadership skills
while directing their projects. Managing budgets, organizing volunteers,
finding and working with press and media contacts, expanding membership
and delegating responsibility were some of these leadership skills.
Funds and In-kind Support
funds” refers to money contributed to a project from different sources.
A common pattern with the Baltic Mini-Grants has been that the initial
Mini-Grant gives the group a starting base, and legitimacy, from
which it can proceed to gather additional support. A number of projects
which were started with Mini-Grants have been able to continue and
expand, supported by other sources of funding, in subsequent years.
support” refers to non-cash donations, which enable a project to
occur. For example, when a municipality provides trucks to haul
away waste collected by volunteers, or a local cement company provides
the cement for a building project, free of charge. This is a very
significant indication of community support for a project. Most
Mini-Grant projects receive this type of support, but relatively
few project leaders document it in final written reports, or estimate
a price value.
Totals, Baltic Mini-Grant Program,
Years One – Eight
(1993 – 2002)
(percent of total)
|60 Estonian Projects
|75 Latvian Projects
|All Baltic Projects
Toward the Future
in Washington DC supports ECOLOGIA’s Baltic Mini-Grant Program,
as it has for the nine years since its inception. As we move into
the 21st century, ECOLOGIA is working to develop philanthropy and
increased cooperation between public and private, Baltic and American
participants, to further broaden the base of support.