NGO Fund Estonia

Project completed
Children in traditional Estonian costumes
Children are an important target group of the support fund for NGOs. © SDC SDC

The NGO fund aims at an NGO sector taking part more actively in the country's economic and social development. Therefore, the fund will offer small grants to NGOs capable and willing to take over part of public services in cooperation with local municipalities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Strengthening civil society
Non-governmental organisations
30.06.2010 - 30.06.2016
CHF  2’500’000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


Estonia boasts an enormous number of registered non-profit organisations with a total of 31’107 NGOs. Many of them are providing public services by the delegation of public authorities, who maintain the control and responsibility for the provision of the service. Actually 60% of local municipalities are cooperating with NGOs, who often improve the quality and accessibility of services. Due to the economic downturn (2008-2009) a third of NGOs needed to reduce the volume of services and a sixth of them had to cancel investment and development activities. At the same time the need for public services provided by NGOs has remained the same or even increased.


The Block Grant’s purpose is to help building the capacity of Estonian non-profit associations and foundations to develop civil society and shape an environment that fosters civic action. Furthermore, the Block Grant shall develop and reinforce cooperation between the third and the public sector in improving the access and quality of public services that contribute to the enhancement of social cohesion and create a healthy living environment for local residents. In fact, the NGO's institutional capacities will be strengthened as well as their cooperation with the public sector and local municipalities in different areas like social services, children, youth and family work, education and health care.

Target groups

NGOs, (associations, charities and institutions except those founders are governmental institutions). Municipalities and other public sector institutions willing to outsource public services.


Activities with the impact of reducing social inequality, enhancing social cohesion and creating a healthy living environment will be subject to financing. There will be held two kinds of open calls: (i) three open calls for preparing service plans in cooperation with at least two municipalities; (ii) three open calls to select sub-projects, which are implemented by NGOs in cooperation with at least two municipalities; the sub-projects will be implemented on the basis of existing service plans, financed by the Block Grant or by other sources. To achieve good results, the NGOs will be furthermore supported in terms of trainings in order to strengthen their institutional capacities.


Achieved results:  

  • 57 small projects have been financed.
  • 64 large projects have been financed
  • Cooperation between NGOs and the public sector has been improved
  • The role and visibility of the NGO sector have increased

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’500’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’470’743
Project phases

Phase 1 30.06.2010 - 30.06.2016   (Completed)