Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Schmidt/rightlivelihood.org.
The Hungarian Foundation for Self-Reliance
Founded in 1990 to reinforce the overall process of democratization, the Hungarian Foundation for Self-Reliance (HFSR) was one of the Fund’s cornerstone grantees in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe. HFSR is an intermediary, making grants to support work in sustainable development and the environment; minority rights and the alleviation of poverty, particularly for the Romani community; and the promotion of civil society at the grassroots level. The RBF funded the HFSR from its planning and inception in 1989 throughout the 1990s, helping it secure other major funders and achieve an operating budget of over $1 million. The HFSR has become the premier organization promoting economic development and autonomy for the Roma people. In its ten years of RBF support, it made more than 500 grants and launched initiatives including training programs for Roma entrepreneurs, a legal defense bureau for minorities in Hungary, and an annual Tolerance Prize for journalists covering the Roma. In 1995, HFSR founder András Bíró together with the organization, known in its native language as Autonomia Alapitvany, received the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize.'