- History of Close to You Foundation
- Executive council
- Youth Council
- Management Team
- Merger of ADV & FPDL
- Annual Reports
- Close to You Foundation's publications
HISTORY OF CLOSE TO YOU FOUNDATION
The Close to You Foundation 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 certain ideologies, doctrines or religions.
The Close to You Foundation established in time 3 social businesses, being declared the 2016 Social Entrepreneur of the Year within the international competition EYEntrepreneur Of The Year.
ADV Romania is one of the biggest social enterprises from Romania, built around the one-stop-shop principle, according to which a disadvantaged individual or someone having lived in a placement center can access a package of services addressing several issues: social and psychological services, educational services, professional orientation, qualification, employment and assistance at the workplace.
In time, ADV Romania created 7 products for an integrated approach in the field of social economy:
- 2004 – The Youth Club – day center for children and young people from under privileged categories, including with disabilities. We teach them independent living skills in order to destroy the circle of poverty, continuously investing in education – a priceless possession of any individual!
- 2008 – UtilDeco – work integration social enterprise, having created in time more than 150 workplaces, of which more than half have been for people with disabilities and from other groups at risk. We offer archiving and document storage services, we produce protective and work equipment, printing services and work protection and safety services.
- 2016 – JobDirect – social enterprise and the first Agency for Placement and Assistance at the Workplace addressing people with disabilities. We offer services of evaluation, testing, counseling, professional capacity building, mediation and placement on the labor market, job – coaching for maintaining the workplace.
- 2017 – WISE.travel – social enterprise in the field of tourism – tour operator. Supports NGOs and social businesses by developing communities!
- 2018 –ADV Academy – we invest in education, research, public policies and social innovation in the field of social economy! The activities take place in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and the European Union.
- 2019 – The Social Enterprises Accelerator – grant administrator for 42 social enterprises established and developed in Romania, 5 in the Republic of Moldova and 3 in Ukraine! We multiply social enterprises and generate social and economic impact for the individual, the environment and the community!
- 2021 – together with our partners, we are preparing to launch AFIN, the first Romanian non-banking instrument addressing Romanian social enterprises!
ADV Romania’s story is written by people and represents their dream of creating a better world! Come close to us! Let’s build together, let’s be the change we want to see in the people around!
What we do every day, practically defines our future!
The Close to You Foundation has developed over 85 projects/programmes in the last 19 years (30 mil Euro+), financed by international bodies, local authorities and from its own funds. The programmes of the foundation carried out at the local, national and regional level and at the 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 defense of the rights of direct beneficiaries – people from vulnerable groups and a development assistance component - granted to NGOs from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Nigeria.
The Close to You Foundation is also the initiator of FONSS - Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Social Services, founded in August 2014. The presidency of the first mandate was 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, a member of the Anti-Poverty National Coalition.
Close to You Foundation is accredited by ANC for: Trainer, Bookbinder, Common skills - digital skills, Social Economy Entrepreneur, Social enterprise manager, Project manager, Registrar and Archivist.
Close to You Foundation is 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 is investing in 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, the foundation periodically organises training courses for entrepreneurs and social economy managers, study visits, national fairs and ensures counseling and coaching for the development of social enterprises.
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.
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 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 ...
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
„My name is Anca Prisacaru, 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
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.
- 2019 - 1st Award for the WISE.travel project at the Civil Society Gala, within the ”Economic and Social Growth Section”.
- 2017 - Special Award at the ”Structural Funds Gala” granted by the ”Trandafir & Associates” Company. This award belongs to a team from 9 partner institutions who in 2014 sat at the same table and planned an integrated package of social and educational services addressing 13,000 children and young people from the Iasi and Vaslui Counties.
- 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.
“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.
- FONSS – Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Social Services;
- NGO Commission within the Social and Economic Development Council of Iasi county;
- RISE - Romanian Network of Social Integration enterprises, member of ENSIE Europe;
- FOND - Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Development, member of TRIALOG Europe;
- NGO Coalition for Structural Funds;
- Starting October 2018, Close to You Foundation is an observer member of EASPD, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities which represents over 15.000 support services for persons with disabilities across Europe