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Romania’s Alina Porumb wins Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize

7 October 2015

By Maria Chertok, Caroline Hartnell, Jenny Hodgson

It is with great pleasure and pride that we can now announce the winner of the Third Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize: Alina Porumb, strategic philanthropy programme director of Romania’s Association for Community Relations (ARC).

The prize, supported by the Charities Aid Foundation, is for an individual who has demonstrated remarkable leadership, creativity and results in developing philanthropy for progressive social change in an emerging market country or countries.

The core of Alina's work in the last ten years has been helping to create an active community foundations movement in Romania. There are now 13 Romanian community foundations serving 37 per cent of the population and investing a total of $560,000 in local communities, with three more in the process of setting up.

In choosing Alina, the judges commented on the scale and quality of her accomplishments; her ‘indefatigable and inspiring leadership in support of the development of community foundations across Romania’, her intellectual leadership and her outreach internationally.

‘In addition to the numbers,’ wrote one judge, ‘she has been successful at helping people break through the psychological barrier of authoritarianism and having individuals collaborate to work on community problems.’

While the judges commended Alina for her outstanding leadership and commitment to the development of philanthropy for progressive social change, they also recognised ‘the extraordinary accomplishments of her five colleague finalists and the collective contribution these six remarkable people have made and are continuing to make’.

This was a very difficult decision and an ‘extremely close’ competition, said Christopher Harris, chair of the judges.

The other finalists were:

  • Marta Cabrera, co-founder and president of EMpower – The Emerging Markets Foundation, USA
  • Celso Grecco, creator of the world’s first social stock exchange in Brazil
  • Rohini Nilekani, leading Indian philanthropist and founder and chairperson of Arghyam
  • Nina Samarina, founder and chair of Perm Region Community Foundations Alliance, Russia
  • Xu Yongguang, president of China’s Narada Foundation and emeritus chairman of the China Foundation Center

We too would like to congratulate Alina and the other finalists. Each one of them would have made a wonderful winner. If you haven’t already done so, you can read all about their achievements in a special Alliance supplement.

The prize will be presented at the 2nd Emerging Markets Philanthropy Forum, to be held 23-24 November in Beijing, China, hosted by the China Foundation Center – to which the prize winner and all the other finalists have been invited.

Finally, we’d like to thank our judges for their dedication and hard work, especially as this is their second year of service:

  • Akwasi Aidoo, Humanity United, Africa
  • Andre Degenszajn, GIFE, Brazil
  • Christopher Harris, USA (chair)
  • Larisa Zelkova, Potanin Foundation, Russia

Sadly, Alice Lau and Kavita Ramdas were unable to take part.

In a few months’ time we will be launching the Fourth Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize, so watch this space

Find out more about the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize

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