In 2006, three independent developments converged to make a Palestinian community foundation an obvious and strategic way to effect a permanent, structural improvement in Palestinian lives. First, the January legislative elections that brought the Hamas movement to power within the Palestinian Authority led almost immediately to a near-total cut-off of budgetary support and severe reductions and restrictions in support to civil society. Overnight, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who had been the largest per capital recipients of international aid in the world plummeted even further into poverty, and became even more vulnerable to the violence of the Israeli occupation. Emergency aid channelled through multilateral organizations and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), has not compensated for the loss of earned income, and in fact, has deepened the sense of indignity and hopelessness that has pervaded the lives of generations of Palestinians.
A core group of Palestinians became convinced that an endowed community foundation was worth pursuing. A working group of dedicated volunteers formed, adding the community foundation to their long list of community activities. In 2007, the Founding Board of Directors was identified and the Dalia mission statement created as were future strategies. A governance structure was set in place and the necessary legal entity established.
Significant fundraising was undertaken to create a permanent endowment with a large sum of money professionally invested over time with the earnings used to fund civil society activities to ensure sustainable income for current and future generations. Endowments are a core strategy of community foundations around the world.
Our Mission / Vision:
As Palestinians, We Have the Right to Control Our Own Development Resources.
Dalia Association was established in 2007 by members of the Palestinian community from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Israel, and the Diaspora. We are diverse in terms of age, gender, religion and politics, yet we are united by our vision – to realize our rights as Palestinians to control our resources and sustain our own development for generations to come. Our mission is to mobilize and properly utilize resources necessary to empower a vibrant, independent and accountable civil society.
To achieve our mission, we:
• Make grants to support inspirational and relevant civil society initiatives, especially grassroots efforts that seek to supplement local resources. Community-controlled grantmaking increases the transparency, accountability and professionalism of local initiatives.
• Link resources by introducing people with expertise, ideas, contacts, equipment, and other assets to community activists who can use them to serve their communities. Effectively utilizing resources that already exist in our abundant community helps decrease our dependence on outside resources.
• Encourage giving by locals, companies, and refugee and Diaspora Palestinians We revive local traditions of philanthropy and volunteerism and create new systems that make giving easier, safer and more trustworthy. A permanent endowment will be built over time to ensure sustainable income for current and future generations.
• Advocate for systemic change in the international aid system so that it respects Palestinian rights and responds to local priorities. Advocacy includes constructive engagement with innovative donors who want a local partner to help them improve their policies and maximize their impact.