Simona Cristina Șerban

photo of Simona Cristina Șerban

Executive Director, President of the Board of Directors, Cluj Community Foundation, Romanian Federation of Community Foundations, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, E-mail:, LinkedIn profile of Simona Cristina Șerban

Your experience with the CFs and your professional relevance to the theme of CFs

I am the executive director of the Cluj Community Foundation (CCF) since its establishment in 2008. CCF was one of the first community foundations in Romania and I was among a small group of community leaders who pioneered the concept both locally and nationally. I am a founder and currently I am serving as a chair of the Federation of Romanian Community Foundations. Before assuming my current position, I worked in Cluj for over three years as a consultant and activist on initiatives to build trust and productive working relationships in the community, mobilize local resources, strengthen the grassroots civil society, and prepare the grounds for establishing CCF.

Key characteristics and information about the CFs and community philanthropy in your country:

Romania is in a period of profound change, economically and socially. Both businesses and individuals are prioritizing to core investments. Steps such as the launch of Direct Debit and SMS donations systems are building both donation mechanisms and the standards nonprofits need to comply to, in order to raise awareness and trust among the general population. The network of community foundations may play an important role in terms of developing the spirit of involvement at the local level, via fundraising, fund development and philanthropic counseling. Community foundations have an unique positioning, that of catalysts on the local nonprofit landscape. The development of the community foundations movement implies the development of the entire local nonprofit landscape. In the Romanian CFs Movement we are currently articulating a complementary vision and action plan, based on partnership values that include the 12 registered Community Foundations, new initiatives, the Romanian Federation of Community Foundations, the CF National program, led by ARC, donors and partners.

Area of your particular interest in the CF development/ CF management/ practice (please specify if this is a theme where you are interested to learn more, bring your own expertise or both)

Strategic planning – strategies for planned development stages, intentional design, including change theory and outcome mapping; Business models – interest in endowment building, fee structures, social entrepreneurship; Federations – roles, structures and relationships local-national-regional-global – building the field; Technology – digitalizing, new tools to on line ecosystem, bridging the on line with the off line. Learn and contribute. Main question: Is there a braking point for innovation and creative energies of the community while also building towards sustainability and how can we balance?