About us

HISTORY OF CLOSE TO YOU FOUNDATION

Close to You Foundation (ADV) is a non-governmental organisation and a work integration social enterprise, established in February 2002 by Holt International Children’s Service USA, whose mission is the integration of people with disabilities or other vulnerable groups. Its national headquarters is in Iasi and it is registered as a Romanian foundation, independent from state authorities, not conditioned by any certain ideologies, doctrines or religions.

Close to You Foundation is the first organisation in our country that in 2008 has set up UtilDeco, a work integration social enterprise, which, throughout time, has created over 100 jobs, out of which at least 40% are dedicated to disabled people. UtilDeco is the largest work integration social enterprise in Romania, being declared the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 within EY Entrepreneur Of The Year world competition. It provides archive and document storage servicesprinting and customization services; tailoring services (being specialized in the production of protection equipment); corporate tourism -  wise. and also provides an e-commerce platform Charity Cash&Carry. UtilDeco has a portfolio of over 1.600 companies - clients that make purchases to recover the mandatory disability tax they owe to the state budget and not only!

Close to You Foundation has developed over 75 projects/programmes in the last 15 years, financed by international bodies, local authorities and from its own funds. The programmes of the foundation carried out at local, national and regional level and at cross-border/transnational level, are in the domain of social services and social economy, innovative services targeting the inclusion and employment of vulnerable groups, particularly young people. In parallel, the lobby and advocacy component for the NGO sector has been developed by the promotion and defence of the direct beneficiaries ‘rights - people from vulnerable groups and a development assistance component - granted to NGOs from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Nigeria.

Close to You Foundation is also the initiator of FONSS - Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Social Services, founded in August 2014, currently including 27 members, NGOs certified as providers of social services in the North-Eastern Region. The presidency of the first mandate is held by Close to You Foundation, through its legal representative, Angela Achitei.

As of July 2015, Close to You Foundation is member of the Monitoring Committee of the Regional Operational Programme 2015-2020- North-Eastern ADR, and since April 2016, it is member of the Anti-Poverty National Coalition, established by the Romanian Prime Minister.

Close to You Foundation is currently providing the following services:

  • Specialised social services for people from vulnerable groups, particularly teenagers and young people: psychosocial assistance and vocational therapy - within day centres / Youth Club (Decision of accreditation as provider of social services 641/19.05.2014, issued by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly);
  • Protected employment for disabled people looking for a job: assessment, counselling and professional guidance, qualification, internships and employment within UtilDeco work integration social enterprise, certified as protected establishment by ANPD (Certificate no. 1318/11.06.2013);
  • Employment services for young people from vulnerable groups looking for a job: assessment, counselling and professional guidance, qualification, internship within UtilDeco social integration enterprise, mediation, employment on the labour market and job coaching. These services are provided through JobDirect, the Employment and Work Assistance Agency - an internal department of the foundation (Certificate of accreditation as employment provider, issued by ANOFM Iasi, series IS/no. 25/00037 as of 23.06.2014);
  • Prevention services in the community: mobile caravans in schools and high-schools, information campaigns on sexual education; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; domestic violence; abuse; trafficking in human beings; drug consumption etc;
  • Defending the rights of people with disabilities or other social issues, including those infected with HIV;
  • Lobby and advocacy for the NGO sector, contracting social services and developing the social economy in Romania through FONSS, RISE, Social Economy Coalition, FOND, Coalition for structural funds etc, to which Close to You Foundation is founding member.

Close to You Foundation /UtilDeco are accredited by ANC for: Trainer (no. 1117/10.10.2012), Bookbinder (no. 1162/29.10.2012), Common skills - digital skills (decision 612/4.06.2014), Social Economy Entrepreneur (no. 1000/11.09.2012), Social enterprise manager (no. 911/18.09.2013), Project manager (decision 613/4.06.2014), Registrar (no. 1510/23.06.2015) and Archivist (no. 1639/24.08.2016).

Close to You Foundation /UtilDeco are certified according to ISO 9001- quality management, ISO 14001 - environment management, SR OHSAS - standard on health and occupational security management system and SR ISO/CEI 27001 - information security management system.

Close to You Foundation /UtilDeco are investing into the community, being one of the initiators of the concept of social economy and of the Law on Social Economy, adopted in July 2015. For the development of the sector, it periodically organises training courses for entrepreneurs and social economy managers, study visits, national fairs and it ensures counselling and coaching for the development of social enterprises.

Close to You Foundation is vice-president of the NGO Commission within the Social and Economic Development Council of Iasi County, through our development and communication director, Mrs Mihaela Munteanu, after having coordinated the activity of the commission between 2011-2014, through its legal representative, Angela Achitei.

CONSILIUL DIRECTOR

The activity of Close to You Foundation is directed by the Executive Council, consisting at the moment of 5 members: Angela Achitei, president; Petrisor Ostafie, member - the beneficiaries' representative; Ana Drelea - member, the employers' representative; Ana Vasilache, honorary member and Olivia Baciu, honorary member.

Mrs Lindi Endicott had an important role in the development of the organisation between 2002-2016, having occupied the position of member in the Executive Council, as expert in HIV/AIDS. For her significant contribution and changes for the better as trainer for over 1.000 young people who have participated every year in our Summer School, for her vision and professionalism in consolidating the foundation's team and its initiated projects, for her love of people and the passion of bringing joy and hope in the hearts of young people from disadvantaged categories, we granted  the Award IN MEMORIAM for 14 years of voluntary contribution to the development of Close to You Foundation & UtilDeco Social Enterprise.

Angela Achitei

CEO

Educated as social assistant, with a Master's degree in integrated education at Al.I. Cuza University of Iasi and currently a Ph-D. candidate in `strategic management of social economy businesses`, during her 15 years of activity with Close to You Foundation ...

PETRIȘOR OSTAFIE

MEMBRU – REPREZENTANT AL BENEFICIARILOR

At the beginning of 2004, I came into contact with Close to You Foundation, as a beneficiary. I found people determined to help for the better those in need. I was fascinated by the way they helped the beneficiaries with the problems ...

ANA DRELEA

MEMBER - THE EMPLOYEES REPRESENTATIVE

Ana Drelea has started her activity with Close to You Foundation in 2004, as a volunteer. She became very attached to the foundation's values and in 2006, she applied for the position of financial assistant ...

HONORARY MEMBERS

ANA VASILACHE

MEMBRU ONORIFIC

Ana Vasilache is an architect and town planner, with a vast experience as trainer and facilitator of participating processes of strategic planification in communities and organisations. Ana is founding member of FPDL - Partners for Local Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation ...

OLIVIA BACIU

HONORARY MEMBER

Olivia Baciu is working in the field of local and international development, being consultant and trainer in the development of organisations/institutions and transition governance for the representatives of civil society organisations and of local and central public administrations and their partners ...

Youth Council

The Youth Council is made up of 5 young people with access to the services provided by the Youth Club. This council has an advisory role in the Executive Council and the Management Team. The Youth Council provides constant feedback on the programmes undertaken by the foundation and the development needs. The Youth Council has a one year mandate, the young people's selection being submitted to vote by the foundation's beneficiaries.

Delia Tarcan

PRESIDENT

I'm Delia and I'm part of the Youth Council of Close to You Foundation. I am here to express my opinion and to participate in the development of the activities that even you may benefit from. At the moment, I am studying visual arts, I am in ninth grade at “Octav Bancila” National College of Art. Furthermore, I am passionate about music, world civilisations, mythology, literature, activism, last century spearhead and Africa's landscapes. I think that what you know is not essential, but the manner in which you absorb information. A quote that guides me? “True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing” - Jean Cocteau

Andreea Cerasela

MEMBER

Andreea is a 12th grade student at “Al. I.Cuza” Academic High-School of Iasi and met with Close to You Foundation's representatives two years ago, within an information activity on sexual education. It was then that she found out about the Resource Centre for Teenagers and the activities undertaken there. “I was curious and I went... Then, I found out about the volunteering programme and decided to get involved in a different manner too, not only as beneficiary of Resource Centre for Teenagers. At the end of last year, I found out about the opportunity of becoming part of the Youth Council of Close to You Foundation. I fancied the idea and right now I am part of this council. My biggest wish has been and will always be to help others the best I can, even by stealing an innocent smile from them. I'm an open, dynamic, creative and sociable person. I like meeting new people and interact with them. The Youth Council will be a new challenge for me and I'm looking forward to seeing through it, hopefully with extraordinary results. Through this project, I'd like to be able to represent teenagers and be their voice in this society.

Andreea Zaharia

MEMBER

My name is Andreea, I'm 18 years old and I'm a student at “Al. I. Cuza” Academic High-School of Iasi and part of the Youth Council at Close to You Foundation. I am a joyful person, full of life and responsible. Most of the times, people say I am unintelligible. My guiding motto is “All or nothing” because I do not like mediocrity and when I have an objective I do whatever I can to achieve it. I love challenges and everything that makes me develop my abilities, that is why I have chosen to be part of the Youth Council. I want to represent teenagers and advocate for their problems and this project provides me with the opportunity to do so.

Celia Berari

MEMBER

My name is Celia and I'm 14 years old. Who am I really? I would describe myself as sometimes a dreamy teenager, sometimes a grounded teenager. I consider myself an honest and sincere person, sometimes too sincere... I am a trustworthy friend, sensitive and perceptive to other people's problems, I am childish, but also mature when I have to be. I practice karate and I am training to obtain the brown belt this year. I like foreign languages, but my passions are related to art as well: drawing, music, painting. I am concerned about the aggression, in all its forms, among teenagers. One of the reasons for which I have chosen to be part of the Youth Council is the ability to find together with my colleagues ways to reduce this phenomenon. I believe in the power of words and in their potential effect if you know when and how to use them. “Bravo”, “I love you”, ”Sorry”,and “I missed you” can have a miraculous effect.

Lopatnic Bogdan

MEMBER

My name is Bogdan, I am 18 years old and I have joined the Youth Club at Close to You Foundation a year ago. Slowly, it has become my second home as after an intensive day of school, I can relax and forget about my problems. The foundation helped me meet a lot of nice people and make plenty of friends. I chose to apply for a position within the Youth Council because I want to contribute to the development of projects for teenagers and for other persons in need.

Echipa de management

Manuela Iftimoaei

Director for European Programmes

Andrei Rotaru

Marketing & Development Manager

Eugenia Stalinescu

Human Resources Manager

Diana Clim

Work Integration Social Enterprise Coordinator

Irina Isacila

Archiving Warehouse COORDINATOR

Alina Paduret

Manager of Jobdirect - Employment and Work Assistance Agency

Anca Prisacaru

Youth Club Coordinator

VOLUNTEERING

patricia

„My name is Patricia Krisan, I am a psychologist and I am pleased to coordinate the Volunteering Programme of Close to You Foundation. Volunteering is an activity I hold dear, activity that I have practised for 10 years and inspired me to choose my career in psychology.  I am passionate about people and their personal growth and my volunteering programme is an opportunity to add value to skills, passions and motivations to those willing to support our activities by offering a part of their spare time. I can't wait to meet you all, good people who want to have an impact on society through volunteering!“

 

Volunteering represents a value of the organisation and an important resource in achieving the mission of our foundation. If you want to be part of the team of volunteers, leave us a message by clicking the button below and we will contact you for an interview!

Fuziune ADV & FPDL

fpdl-adv

In November 2016, FPDL - Partners for Local Development Foundation merged through absorption with Close to You Foundation. By uniting forces, experience and resources, the two organisations will fulfil more successfully their objectives: achieving the social and economic integration of those belonging to vulnerable groups, improving the democratic processes of governance and the consolidation of civil society.

For 22 years, FPDL has played a major role in promoting democratic governance, in Romania and in over 50 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. During this time, FPDL has developed activities and innovative products with professionalism and integrity in the domain of democratising and improving the effectiveness of the local public administration, the organisational and community development. The idea of the merger in itself, as a solution for ensuring the sustainability of an organisation, is an innovative idea in the world of NGOs.

Close to You Foundation’s approach, entrepreneurial and dynamic, will ensure the continuity and valorification of FPDL's products and activities by integrating them into those of our foundation. By transferring its real estate, FPDL has considerably supported ADV's activities, activities it respects and admires for their significant social impact” said Ana Vasilache, president of FPDL.

“This merger represents a vote of trust given to the professionalism and dedication with which Close to You Foundation takes on its social mission. The innovative products developed by FPDL and undertaken by us, represent an extra value added to the expertise and experience of the foundation” said Angela Achitei, president of Close to You Foundation.

Awards received by Close to You Foundation

„Social Entrepreneur Of The Year” Prize in 2017

”Social Entrepreneur Of The Year” Prize granted to Angela Achitei for the establishment of UtilDeco as a social enterprise within EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme, the only global entrepreneurial competition taking place in more than 145 cities from 60 countries, covering over 94% of the global economy.
  • 2016 - The prize for the first 50 specialised groups registered in 2016 with the Unique Registry of the Transparency of Interests - RUTI, implemented by the Romanian Government, granted by Violeta Alexandru, minister for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue.
  • 2016 - The prize for “Development of the NGO sector” awarded to Mrs Angela Achitei by Star of Hope Romania Foundation.
  • 2015 - The prize for “Business with social impact” granted by Business Days.
  • 2014 - Bucharest, Structural Funds Gala, First Prize, section “With INCLUDED impact”, for the results obtained by developing the project “Alliance for the Development of Social Economy” by Close to You Foundation, partnered with General Department for the Protection of Individuals with Disabilities, MMSF, Motivation Romania Foundation, D.G.A.S.P.C. Iasi and Social Cooperative “ll Poliedro” Italy and co-financed by the European Social Fund through POSDRU 2007-2013, priority axis 6 “Promotion of social integration”.
  • 2014 - Bucharest, Civil Society Gala, Dan Manoleli special prize for the development of civil society.
  • 2014 - Iasi, Young Values Gala, special prize for social involvement granted to Close to You Foundation as a recognition for the contribution to the promotion of the authentic values of Iasi.
  • 2014 - Iasi, Feminine Models Gala,” Entrepreneur in social economy” prize for UtilDeco's activity.
  • 2013 - Excellence prize as a model of good practice within the initiative ENWHP “Promoting health at the workplace for employees with chronic diseases - Work and Public Health (work PH)” in Brussels.

In September 2013

the European Commission published us on its website as a good practice model representative for Romania on the disabled people's protected employment.
  • 2011 - Special prize from the Trade and Industry Chamber of Suceava as a recognition on behalf of the business community of Suceava of the quality of its involvement in civil society and of the fundamental values it supports.
  • 2011 - Diploma of merit for promoting the social economy by developing UtilDeco initiative from the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection.
  • 2011 - Honorary diploma and Excellence Trophy granted by the Trade and Industry Chamber of Iasi as “a recognition from the business community of Iasi on the quality of its involvement in civil society and of the fundamental values it supports.”
  • 2010 - Prize for Model of involvement in civil society given to ADV Centre of Constanta within the Radio Awards Gala of Constanta.
  • 2010 - First Prize for the Most visible NGO and first prize for the best relation with the media at ONG Fair of Tg. Mures.
  • 2009 - Prize for “Organisation of the year” at the Volunteers' Gala in Iasi.
  • 2009 - Honourable mention at Civil Society Gala, section “Defence of individual/collective rights for the project “Consolidation and replication of the information, counselling and legal assistance service”.
  • 2008 - Honourable mention at Civil Society Gala for the campaign “I get involved for you”.
  • 2008 - Special prize of 5.000 euro and specialised business counselling for 3 years for establishing the work integration social enterprise within the Competition of Social Enterprises NESsT - ABN-AMRO 2007.
  • 2007 - Second prize on the partnerships developed with the decentralised institutions, granted by the Prefecture of Iasi County.
  • 2007 - Second prize on the involvement of the foundation in the community of Iasi by the Iasi City hall - Department of Community Assistance.
  • 2007 - Nomination of the campaign “I get involved for you” for the Carol Davila prize.
  • 2007 - Nomination for the best annual report - Romanian Donors' Forum.
  • 2007 - “The best volunteers' coordinator prize, awarded at the Volunteers' Gala of Iasi, organised by Bethany Foundation of Social Services.
  • 2007 – “Organisation of the year” prize granted at the Volunteers' Gala of Iasi, organised by Bethany Foundation of Social Services.
  • On 10 May 2007, Petrisor Ostafie, member of the Executive Council of Close to You Foundation and, at the same time, beneficiary, was awarded by His Royal Majesty, King Mihai I, the financial component of `Hanno R. Ellenbogen for Citizenship`Prize. The prize was given to His Majesty the King by The Prague Society and Global Panel Foundation.
  • 2007 - Prize for “The youngest volunteer” at the Volunteers' Gala of Iasi, organised by Bethany Foundation of Social Services.
  • 2006 - Prize for “Volunteer of the year at the Volunteers' Gala from Iasi, awarded by Bethany Foundation of Social Services.
  • 2006 - Nomination of the component “The talkative Corner” within the campaign “I get involved for you!” at the People for People Gala.
  • 2006 - Special mention at the Civil Society Gala for the project “Right to health, right to education for all children”.
  • 2004 - Prize for the best reflection of the volunteering activity awarded by Pro Vorbis within the competition “The best annual reports”.
  • 2004 - “Romanian hearts” diploma from TVR for the programme on maternal assistance.
  • 2003 - National recognition as a model of good practice on child protection for “Service of Maternal assistance for HIV-infected children” awarded by USAID, W.L. and ANPCA.

AFFILIATIONS

“Close to You” Foundation is involved at national and European level into advocacy endeavours aimed at improving and regulating some aspects related to social services, social economy, the rights of disabled people, the development of the NGO sector, European funds, transparency and social equity. In this sense, as founding member  it has laid the foundations of several national platforms and networks.

ANNUAL REPORTS

Close to You Foundation's publications

Archive

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