With fiscal year 1999 the last budgeted year for USAID programs in Slovakia, Slovak NGOs are entering a time of transition in search for funding. A variety of different options are being considered.
One major potential source is the government itself. According to a USAID report, in the 1996 Slovak national budget contained 563,996,999 crowns for "public benefit funding purposes," including state entities, civic associations, foundations and other organisations through contracts subsidies, grants or targeted contributions. However, the method of divvying out this money has in he past been extremely non-transparent, with money going to friends and supporters of the state, the report said.
This situation has not changed significantly with the new government, said Dušan Ondrušek, executive director for the Slovak NGO Partners for Democratic Change. But the money remains a possible well-spring for NGOs.
Other ideas for public funding being bandied about include thoughts of a national lottery managed by the government, some profits of which might go to the third sector. There is also a proposal by which 1% of the public taxes could go to charitable organizations which citizens could choose for themselves. Another possibility for revenue is that the state could subcontract some of its responsibilities to NGO managers, Ondrušek added.
Corporate funding is another important possibility. The people from NOS recently conducted a survey which stated that while 77% of Slovak companies do appear to give aid in some form, they feel limited by, among other factors, their own lack of money and a lack of government incentive to give. Some changes in legislation could be made to encourage corporate giving, Baumannová said. Currently corporations are allowed to deduct a maximum of 2% of their total income for charitable donations.
10. May 1999 at 0:00 | Sharon Otterman