The Fund for Belarus Democracy was launched in the summer of 2005, as a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. This program acknowledges the dire situation in which Belarusian democrats and civil society find themselves and contributes to international efforts assisting democracy in Belarus. 

FBD was designed as a multi-faceted, multi-year, and multi-donor program to promote democracy in Belarus and contribute to international efforts of assisting Belarusian civil society. It does so through giving direct grants to civic initiatives and organizations in Belarus, building stronger links between Belarusian nongovernmental organizations, civic leaders, and citizens, and their counterparts in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, offering systematic capacity building to segments of Belarusian civil society that represent particular agency for democratic change, including independent culture, youth and students, social networks and local community activists. FBD also engages in analytical and policy-oriented activities to raise broader international awareness of Belarus and help to provide substantial inputs to developing international strategies that ultimately support democratic change in the country. 

From 2005 to 2020, the Fund for Belarus Democracy supported some 1.145 projects, totaling $16.2 million. Today, FBD is one of the largest support programs available to Belarusian civil society and is determined to continue its operations as long as required for the democratization and European integration of Belarus. 

Key Activities of the Fund for Belarus Democracy

  • Small-Grants Support. The Fund makes up to 100 small to medium-sized grants every year to civic activists, citizen, and grassroots initiatives, as well as  registered nongovernmental organizations in Belarus. Funding primarily strengthens civil society’s infrastructure and capacity in the country, independent information available to citizens, alternative culture, and efforts by analysts and reformers to prepare for democratic reforms.

  • Sharing of Transition Experiences. The Fund makes investments to build stronger links between Belarusian civil society and its counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe. Such bridges with other transition countries provide an international exchange of experiences, information, skills, best practices, and resources to advance civil society and democracy in Belarus.

  • Capacity-building. The Fund develops training programs for segments of Belarusian civil society that represent a strong potential for democratic change, including youth and students, independent culture, social networks and new media, and local community activists. Capacity-building typically consists of year-long programs combining in-residence seminars, distance learning, in-country practice, and project phases, as well as international exchanges and study visits.

  • International advocacy. FBD engages in analytical and policy-oriented work, provides input to international strategies to support democratic change in Belarus, and contributes to Western debate and international media.

Program Experts