Our history

In 1991 a consortium of international founders has made a special initiative in the new democracies of Central Europe, from which the Environmental Partnership Association (EPA) emerged. Members of EPA are indigenous foundations of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia that are focused on mobilizing and empowering the people of the region to improve their environment, their local communities and societies.

HEPF the Hungarian member of EPA became an independent domestic legal body in 1994, under the name: "Ökotárs" Foundation. Besides grantmaking and training, we also offer technical assistance, by organising expert help and advisory upon request. In this framework, we significantly contributed to the internal co-operational mechanisms of the environmental NGO movement as well as to an enabling legal environment for the civil sector in Hungary.

Over the past two decade HEPF has, as an intermediary managed a number of grant schemes funded by private, governmental and intergovernmental sources – most recently the NGO Programme of the European Economic Area/Norway Grant as well as the Swiss-Hungarian NGO Block Grant and Scholarship Fund.

Early on HEPF has also realised that financial aid has little effect without methods, opportunities and systems for organisational and community development – thus, the training programme has emerged. It has provided community organising support both by means of shorter trainings as well as long term co-operation and consultancy services.

Change and renewal is continuous in HEPF’s life: we regularly review and evaluate our programmes (involving both the board and external reviewers), adapt and adjust them, answering new challenges in the fast-moving Hungarian environment.