The borders of Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine meet in the center of Europe, in the Carpathian Mountains and Tysyanska valley. One of the features of this region is the low level of economic development that results from the peripheral
location and complex history of interstate and interethnic relations. Despite the diversity of languages, religions, nationalities and communities the Carpathian region has many common features too. Common history and geographical position, similarity in models of economic development, common goal to achieve a high level of welfare promotes cooperation between local communities.
The Carpathian Foundation was formed on the initiative of the Institute “East-West” (previously named as the Institute of Research, “East-West”). In 1993, leaders of five countries with the assistance of the Institute “East West”, gathered in Hungary and signed a declaration on the establishment of the Carpathian Euroregion, the mechanism of cooperation of public authorities. It was the first cooperation of such kind in Central and Eastern Europe.
Since the Carpathian Euroregion referred mainly to the cooperation of public authorities, the need aroused for initiation of a coordinating structure promoting cooperation between cross-border citizens and the NGO sector. For this purpose the regional leaders decided to use the community foundation model, as they believed that this model is an appropriate method for establishing international regional foundation.
In 1994, the Institute of Research “East-West” with the support of Charles Stewart Mott Foundation established the Foundation for development of the Carpathian Euroregion.
The main purpose of the Foundation as a dynamic interregional organization was to support community initiatives in the Carpathian Mountains, the local governments’ projects and the NGOs. The impetus for such Foundation’s development in Central and Eastern Europe was the belief that supporting local democracy, cross-border and interethnic cooperation at local and regional levels is an important element of building a stable and democratic Europe.
In 2006 Carpathian Foundation has been transformed into the Network of 5 independent foundations operating in Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.