NEWS
LatCham Member USBF Makes Grant to Transparency International
Mar 13, 2009
By Gustav Plato
The United States Baltic Foundation is a non profit 501c3 organization and a member of LatCham.

The USBF announced today that through its Baltic Good Governance Initiative, it has made a grant to the Latvian Chapter of Transparency International.

Information about the US Baltic Foundation can be found at www.usbaltic.org.

The following is USBF's press release:

WASHINGTON, DC Baltic Good Governance Initiative Program Committee Chairman Ints Silins announced today that the Latvian anti-corruption organization Delna will be the beneficiary of the program's first grant. The BGGI will grant Delna $2,500 to redesign and update the organization's website.
Delna, the Latvian chapter of Transparency International, is a watchdog organization that for a decade has worked to promote democracy and the rule of law and to fight corruption. It is also known as TI-Latvia. Delna's goal is to create an environment in Latvia that is intolerant of corruption and in which citizens understand their rights and participate actively in civil society. In November 2007 Delna was an organizer of the peaceful "Umbrella Revolution," blocking an attempt to fire the head of the Latvian government's anti-corruption agency. In 2009 Delna helped organize the "White Ribbon" initiative to support civic action free of violence.

"In light of the current economic crisis and political uncertainty in Latvia today, systemic work to combat corruption and to increase government accountability and transparency has become ever so important. Improving the political culture and promoting personal accountability is the foundation for improving the economy and promoting sustainable development," said Laura Mikelsone, the Director of Delna. "I am very thankful for the U.S.-Baltic Foundation's support to TI-Latvia in this timely and urgent matter of re-launching our web page. This will give us the tools to communicate our message within Latvia and abroad," continued Ms. Mikelsone.
I'm also glad to announce that Professor Rasma Karklins has agreed to serve as an advisor to the BGGI, added Ambassador Silins. Prof. Karklins is a leading political scientist whose book, The System Made Me Do It, set the standard for the study of corruption in post-communist societies. Her first-hand experience in the Baltic States and her outstanding theoretical knowledge will help BGGI sharpen its programs. Prof. Karklins teaches at both the University of Illinois-Chicago and at the University of Latvia.

Through the BGGI, USBF raises funds and awareness in the United States to support Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian non-governmental organizations that promote public integrity and transparent government. Additional information related to BGGI can be found at http://www.usbaltic.org/good_governance.php.

The U.S.- Baltic Foundation (USBF) was established in 1990 to unite all Americans who supported the aspirations of the people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for democracy and independence and are dedicated to strengthening our trans-Atlantic ties with the Baltics in the 21st century. In the 1990's USBF initiated a broad range of programs including municipal government development, training for independent media professionals and NGO development. As an advocate for closer U.S.- Baltic relations, USBF also initiated a broad range of cultural, government and public relations programs including a nationwide tour of Baltic modern art and our Ambassador's Council luncheons in the U.S. Capitol.

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