Portraits of Turkey: Images of a land and its people.Portraits of Turkey: Images of a land and its people.Portraits of Turkey: Images of a land and its people.Portraits of Turkey: Images of a land and its people.

Program Statement 

The Chrest Foundation believes social action and civic participation contribute to the creation of a more just, equitable, and tolerant society. The Foundation concentrates its resources on civil society organizations in Turkey that focus on increasing gender equality and fostering communication and dialogue through arts and culture. The Foundation is also developing US-based giving programs in the areas of criminal justice reform and the environment. Please check back over the next few months for updates.

Program Areas

The Chrest Foundation concentrates its grantmaking in program areas addressing two major fields: Gender Equality and Communication and Dialogue Through Arts and Culture. The Foundation has additional interests beyond gender and the arts, which it carries out through a program called Special Projects (see below). Activities supported by the Foundation are distributed across Turkey, though occasional programs are supported in the immediate region, including Cyprus and the Caucasus. Priority is given to organizations which operate in Turkey, particularly those organizations based directly within the communities in which they serve.

The Foundation believes it can make the greatest impact in advancing gender equality and fostering understanding across social divides by building and strengthening the infrastructure of civil society. Therefore, it primarily seeks out opportunities to support programs with the aim of strengthening the infrastructure in the two main fields - the women’s movement and areas of the cultural field that benefit from increased communication and dialogue - in line with the civic infrastructure dimensions listed below.

Civic Infrastructure*
While there are many different interpretations of what constitutes a robust civic infrastructure, the Foundation mainly considers the following factors in assessing where its resources can best be used to support the growth and success of the fields within which we work:
  • Vision: Does the field have a well articulated vision and agenda? Does the vision resonate across society?

  • Strategy: Is the field thinking strategically about change and the steps needed to achieve change?

  • Leadership and Networking: Is the field promoting leadership across many different levels? Are there 'strong anchor organizations' with the ability to mobilize constituencies?

  • Capacity: Does the field command the skills and knowledge required of it to successfully pursue its strategy?

  • Sustainability: Is the field thinking about the financing arrangements that are required for its long-term sustainability?

In following through with this line of thinking, the Foundation seeks gender and cultural projects which fulfill the following objectives:
  • To advance knowledge and learning that contribute to the field overall;

  • To increase the scale, scope, and nature of funding and partnership possibilities which benefit the field or its goals overall;

  • To promote innovative applications which can serve as a model (OR which embody civic leadership potential);

  • To enhance local civic innovation that fosters connectivity between local community leaders and the wider field; and

  • To promote agenda-setting efforts.

Below, further information is provided on the core areas of the Foundation’s work. A full list of grants may be found on this website (click here).

* The Chrest Foundation benefited from "Funding Social Movements: The New World Foundation Perspective" published by The New World Foundation in developing this framework.

Program 1: Gender Equality
Gender inequity remains a serious problem in Turkey, with access to education, vulnerability to domestic and other forms of violence, and barriers to political participation forming only some of the many challenges which add up to an environment that excludes women from social, economic, political, and cultural life. While the legal setting has indeed changed as a result of new legislation, the social and cultural context remains male-dominated, preventing women from taking full advantage of their rights and opportunities. The Chrest Foundation supports efforts that enhance the capacity and impact of the women’s movement in Turkey.

Click here to see a complete list of supported projects.

Program 2: Communication and Dialogue Through Arts and Culture
This program offers grants to projects that promote understanding and tolerance, and that seek to foster dialogue and communication through innovative cultural initiatives. The Chrest Foundation recognizes that challenging social circumstances can often be confronted and overcome through efforts which promote critical reflection and exchange between communities. One of the ways the Chrest Foundation fosters understanding is through promoting the development of cultural activities, which can function as an important means to bring together cultures and communities, to elevate new voices, raise questions, and propose alternative ways of thinking. The Foundation does not support individual artistic projects, but prefers to support collective endeavors bringing together artists and/or intellectuals who wish to address a specific issue, engage in bridge-building, or tackle the needs of the cultural sphere overall.

Click here to see a complete list of supported projects.

Program 3: Special Projects
While the Foundation mainly works in the areas of gender equality and arts and culture, it will also support innovative and promising approaches in other areas of development, particularly if they resonate with the core values of the Foundation.

Click here to see a complete list of supported projects.

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