Făgăraș Country Community Foundation, Youthbank, and Agenda 2030: Steps toward a more strategic engagement with the SDGs

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26.06.2023 / Case studies

Author: Edi Dragoș Beserman Ph.D. Candidate

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In Făgăraș, Romania, the SDGs empower youth to think about their future. The Făgăraș Country  Community Foundation¹ (FCCF) approached the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by  connecting them with their youth program, YouthBank Făgăraș,² before streamlining the Goals at  a strategic level.  

FCCF aims to develop philanthropy, leadership, and civil society in the Făgăraș area, as well as its  capacity as a sustainable foundation.³ FCCF’s strategy emphasizes four areas of focus: natural and  built environment, education, entrepreneurship and economic development, and arts, culture,  and sports.  

More about the Făgăraș Country Community Foundation

FCCF was established in 2013 when approximately twenty people from the local community and  the Association for Community Relations joined forces to raise the necessary funds. The initial  idea of the founding members was to support local people to organize themselves better so they  would have a more significant impact on the local community. The first activities focused on  education, health, and the environment and included collecting funds for scholarships, buying bed linen for the pediatrics section of the Făgăraș Municipal Hospital, and planting trees in the region.  Those involved in establishing the FCCF understood the  importance of the community foundation mechanism for improving the quality of life in the  region.⁴ 

FCCF’s engagement with the SDGs 

The Foundation is a local funder that supports ideas, initiatives, projects, NGOs, and the business  environment in the Făgăraș Country. It identifies the needs and problems of the community and  then finds resources to address them. To identify community assets, needs, and problems, the  Foundation organizes “community cafes” on various topics, all core for the SDGs. For example,  Emilia Ciurchea, the FCCF Executive Director, shared the story of one of their new donors  interested in solving community educational needs. The Foundation gathered pupils, students,  teachers, NGOs, authorities, and entrepreneurs for an open discussion on educational topics to  identify and better understand such needs. Based on these discussions, FCCF wrote a report  about local educational needs, problems, and assets and received funding from the donor.⁵ 

When speaking about the SDGs, the Foundation tries to focus on all SDGs by supporting different  initiatives on topics covered by the Goals. For example, the Foundation had discussions with the  business environment in Făgăraș Country to see how local entrepreneurs can integrate or rethink  their business models by relating to the SDGs.⁶ 

Since 2019 FCCF connected the SDGs with YouthBank Făgăraș.⁷ The YouthBank team constitutes,  promotes, and administers transparently a special fund for financing projects proposed by high  school students. The program focuses on youth between 15 and 20 years of age. It aims to offer  youth a framework to work for making decisions concerning their community. The program  fosters behaviors like youth leadership, generosity, philanthropy, responsibility, and civic  initiative. To encourage youth to think more holistically about their communities, the Foundation  approached the SDGs. FCCF integrated the Goals into the program’s structure.  

The Foundation’s earlier work on connecting the SDGs with the YouthBank Făgăraș program  proved instrumental in scaling up engagement with the SDGs. A deeper integration of the Goals  into the Foundation’s practices occurred in 2022 when FCCF included the SDGs in their strategy.⁸ 

Further steps towards engaging more with the SDGs include integrating the Goals into other  programs and their annual report and raising awareness about Goals. However,

further SDG related plans still need to be determined as only two persons from the foundation consider that  SDGs should be prioritized.⁹ Thus, the problem of integrating SDGs into the Foundation’s strategy  is due to internal issues rather than the difficulty in understanding them. For Emilia Ciurchea,  these issues relate to a need for consensus between members and awareness of the SDGs’  possible impact and benefits. In her words, [there is a] lack of understanding about benefits or  impact – what impact would it have on our community if we focus on the SDGs. Would we bring more  donors? Would we bring more funds? Would we bring more partners?”¹⁰ 


FCCF commenced its engagement with the SDGs at the level of a specific program – YouthBank  Făgăraș. Currently, it is exploring the Goals’ strategic implications for their region’s sustainability  and, implicitly, for the work of the Foundation. While connecting to and localizing the Goals is not  an easy process, the SDGs triggered more robust thinking around the sustainability of local  communities in FCCF’s practice. 


¹ Fundația Comunitară Țara Făgărașului (FCTF) in Romanian.
² YouthBank Făgăraș
³ Făgăraș Country Community Foundation
⁴ Emilia Ciurchea, interview by Edi Dragoș Beserman, June 2023.
⁵ Ibidem
⁶ Ibidem
⁷ FCCF’s engagement with the SDGs has been supported by the Global Challenges Local Solutions program of the Academy for Philanthropy in Poland.
⁸ FCCF took part in SDG-related discussions organized by the European Community Foundation Initiative and the Făgăraș Research Institute in the framework of the project Global Diplomacy Lab  at Făgăraș.
⁹ Emilia Ciurchea, interview by Edi Dragoș Beserman, June 2023.
¹⁰ Ibidem 

This case study was developed as a part of the project Increasing the Contribution of European Community Foundations to the SDGs, supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. We are grateful to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and all interviewees and partners who made the development of the case study possible.

Departments: Policy Analysis and Outreach Department, Research Department, Center on Global Affairs and Post Development, Society, Crisis, and Resilience Program

Regions: Făgăraș Country, Romania, Europe

Themes: Philanthropy and Community Development, Civil Society, Democracy, and Democratization, Sustainable Development Goals