https://efc.edu.pl/en/o-fundacji/programsWhat we do
What we do
At the Roman Czernecki Educational Foundation (EFC Foundation) we deal with education. Our aim is threefold: we strive to create equal access to education, to promote creative, innovative ways of thinking about education in the light of the challenges of the XXI century, and to broaden its definition to include social responsibility and civic engagement.
We believe that non-governmental and nonprofit organizations have a specific obligation to constantly question the means chosen to achieve their statutory ends. It is hard to come by constructive criticism in philanthropy - there is no market verification or disenchanted voters. A grateful recipient is always at hand. Yet it is precisely the financial and political independence of NGOs that should oblige them to incessantly question how they spend their money. In any subcategory of human interaction with one-another or the environment there is a scale of the good, which can be achieved for one dollar. Yes, it is a subjective scale and yes, its extremities are an ideal, but this does not mean we should not work with this scale always on our minds. Constantly striving for the most good is what makes philanthropy the true “love of man”.
The Horizons Scholarship Programis a result of such an exercise. Its creation is a reaction to changes in the socio-economical situation unraveling over the past decade in the Polish hinterland, as well as the radicalization and polarization of parts of the country.
Horizons are an expression of our belief that as an educational foundation EFC is obliged to approach education as broadly as possible. This approach can be split into three general categories: 1. An education that is relevant to the challenges of the new century; 2. An upbringing that immunizes to radicalization and promotes critical thinking and social engagement; 3. Growth based around the undervalued question of what is a good life.
Education is a process full of contradictions. Competition versus cooperation; engagement with class materials and good grades in school often come at a cost of engaging with friends and the outside world; a sense of identity and belonging – of roots - is paramount to the propensity for tolerance, empathy and curiosity of the world in a wider sense; a feeling of one's democratic rights and an entitlement to good education stand in contrast to feelings of duty towards one's neighbors, society or the environment. We do not aspire to overcome these contradictions. Quite the contrary, we underline them and work with them; this is part of the educational process. We have built a program that enables kids to achieve enduring foundations - a strong sense of self and identity, an open mind and social empathy. The Horizons Scholarship Program also provides complex financial and material aid and creates the best possible conditions for learning. However, we also wish to teach our scholars how to be active members of their local communities, engaged citizens, compassionate patriots and conscious Europeans. Achieving balance between education, personal growth and social awareness is the only way to have a real impact on the modern world.
We believe changes in the conventional approach to teaching should be implemented at an early stage of education. That's why the EFC offers grants to teachers from all around Poland, who share our viewpoint and wish to participate in those changes in their schools. We support projects conducted outside of the classroom, which engage a diverse group of students in social, artistic or scientific activities.
EFC works with underfinanced schools in rural areas of Poland. We provide them with long-term support by collaborating closely with the school staff, workshops and trainings, as well as material aid. Our aim is to turn schools into social and cultural centers which will attract new students and which will create work opportunities for locals by a self-sufficient operative model.
Each year, teachers have the chance to receive a prize for "fixing the world." We look for professionals who promote cultural, ethnic and religious tolerance and who are sensitive to the complexity of our history. The prize was named after Irena Sendlerowa, a Polish hero who saved hundreds of Jewish children during WWII.
As a passionate educator, Roman Czernecki was actively engaged in perfecting his teaching methods and the education system in Poland throughout his entire life. With his work as an example we believe, that an ongoing discussion about education is necessary in order to understand and overcome challenges we face today. Each year, a committee of experts awards authors of the best academic, popular and professional articles about educational theory and/or practice.
Sharing good practices and promoting social activism and civic engagement in Poland are our priorities at the EFC. Each year, we take part in the Polish Business Roundtable gala, during which we present the most inspiring non-profit organizations. The Andrzej Czernecki Prize for social activism honors our founder, an outstanding Polish philanthropist, and distinguishes one of the non-profit organizations for its work.