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HISTORY

In August of 2015, the Massachusetts Albanian American Society (MAASBESA) and the Albanian American Women’s Organization – Motrat Qiriazi (AAWO) announced their partnership to develop the Global Albanians Foundation (GAF) as a joint initiative to be financed by Albanians living abroad and others who wished to support Albanian not-for-profit organizations (NGOs). At the time over 20 donors pledged $1000 each, and 17 organizations received grants of $1000 each (7 Albania, 7 Kosovo, 2 Montenegro, 1 Macedonia).

 

In May 2018, together with Germin, the idea of the Global Albanians Foundation was presented at Germin’s Diaspora Flet Conference in Prishtina. An Albanian Diaspora Philanthropy Action Plan was prepared by a team of persons from many countries that was assembled by Germin, and, based on that, the idea to formally establish the GAF in the USA was well received.  After the conference, Germin and the GAF worked closely together to further develop the concept of Albanian Diaspora Philanthropy.

 

In June 2018, the GAF was legally established as a separate organization in the USA, and it received its tax-exempt status in the United States in February 2019.  This provided the legal foundation for the GAF to begin to work on a larger scale with the large Albanian Diaspora to provide sustainable financing through crowdfunding and online donations for high impact and innovative Albanian not-for-profit organizations. We strongly believe that the not-for-profit sector in the Western Balkans plays a critical role in strengthening and advancing their civic, economic, and social development.

CHANGING THE PURPOSE OF ALBANIAN DIASPORA FINANCING

Historically, the Diaspora’s main financial contribution has been through remittances. However, remittances have declined as the Diaspora has become more established outside of Albania and Kosovo. A the same time, because incomes are much higher in the destination countries than in the countries of origin, there is no doubt that most Albanian wealth is concentrated in the Diaspora. The purpose of the GAF is to attract some of this wealth back into the region to promote its economic and social development.

Albanians in the diaspora are not likely to invest large sums of money in their home countries since it is too risky and they often live too far away to have the time or resources to manage investments — but many do have the means and desire to donate hundreds or thousands of dollars to organizations in their home countries since the Albanian Diaspora now numbers millions of middle-income people in Europe and the United States.

The GAF provides a necessary institutional mechanism for those people who no longer feel a need to send remittances to their families to donate in their country of origin. At the same time, they would provide financing for not-for-profit organizations who are likely to see their traditional sources of revenues from international donors over the past 2-3 decades begin to decline.