What is (not) changing in the Open Society Georgia Foundation - Keti Khutsishvili's op-ed

29 Dec, 2023

For almost 30 years, the Open Society Georgia Foundation has been a platform uniting people, organizations, or coalitions for democratic changes and public good. From 2024, our team with the unchanged mission and values will continue to operate under a new name – the Civil Society Foundation (CSF).

Civil Society Foundation (CSF) is the successor to the mission and history of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Since 1994, the Open Society Georgia Foundation has been part of the global network of Open Society Foundations, which is currently undergoing a process of geographic expansion, structural, managerial, and other changes. At this moment of transformation, we realized that global issues are becoming more important to the network, whereas it is still important to us to work on challenges that are critical to our society. This brought us to the idea to stay committed to our original vision and continue doing what we’ve been doing so far.

From now on, in the status of a local organization, we will continue to support a diverse array of independent voices and initiatives that serve Georgia’s European aspirations, protect human rights and media freedoms, help integrate minorities into society, and establish social justice in the country – a firm basis for this is professional resources, financial reputation, social capital and nearly 30 years of grants management experience.

The sustainability of the Civil Society Foundation is supported by the global network of the Open Society Foundations, which remains our partner. At the same time, we are implementing a variety of projects, supported by a number of international organizations, we have successful cooperation with the EU, USAID, and the embassies of different countries represented in Georgia, and are also open to cooperation with other donors.

The Foundation is and will be the driving force behind the European aspirations of Georgia, which, together with the civil society, stays vigilant in its efforts to counter corruption, oppression, and authoritarianism. Our grant funding will be still available to the civil sector, initiative groups, and individuals, who support the principles of a democratic society; feasible changes can only be achieved through their unity. The Foundation will continue to stimulate educational initiatives, create publications and discussion platforms, and develop thematic coalitions. As in previous years, we will implement some activities on our own, and in some priorities, we will bolster civil society organizations.

Over almost three decades, the Foundation’s investments in the development of an open and democratic society in our country exceed USD 100 mln. This support was aimed at empowering youth, women, children, refugees, students, professional groups, socially vulnerable people, as well as people with health problems or disabilities.

Many of our activities are well known, many – less known. Recently, the Foundation has regularly been preparing an EU Candidacy StatusMeter, the document assessing Georgia’s fulfillment of the recommendations for obtaining the EU candidate status, and still continues to support the process of European integration. Bolstered up by the Foundation, the first children’s hospice for palliative care was established in Georgia, a number of churches and monasteries, paintings, and frescoes were preserved; a free legal aid service was established; the most reputable online and regional media organizations have started to operate; thousands of young people and professional groups were awarded scholarships to study abroad and improve their qualification; studies have been prepared, findings of which are often instrumental for democratic change.

The Foundation has empowered society in times of war, social upheaval, or the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation has made significant contributions to advancing key reforms in public health, expanding space for participatory democracy and civic engagement, strengthening respect for human rights and the rule of law, and empowering free and independent media.

This year, the unity of civil society defeated Russian law, and it was this unity that helped us obtain candidate status for EU membership. 2023 was the year that brought more optimism to our citizens. We hope that in this victory, there is a modest contribution of the Foundation too. Our main goal now is to strengthen civil society and to move to the next phase to help our country begin the negotiation process with the EU in a speedy manner.

Therein we also believe in the power of the united will of our citizens.

Wish you a happy 2024!


Keti Khutsishvili

Executive Director

Civil Society Foundation