Nonprofit organizations emerged in Bulgaria at the start of the 19th century (Encyclopedia of Giving, 2012). A cornerstone institution accredited as the origin of Bulgarian civil society is the chitalishte, a multi-functional community center (Gavrilova & Elenkov, 1998; Kabakchieva & Hristova, 2012). The first chitalishte appeared in the 1850s, when the country was still a part of the Ottoman Empire. The centers were critical in preserving and developing Bulgarian culture and played an important role in the national revival and independence movement: ‘The chitalishte was both an educational and a nationalist institution, linked therefore to democracy (via education) and national identity’ (Valkov, 2009, pp. 431–432). Even after gaining independence, the state provided very little financing to nonprofits. Instead, donations from membership dues, fund-raising, entrepreneurial activities and donations from wealthy Bulgarians financed these organizations (Valkov, 2009). Close to 3,000 community centers exist today and continue to serve as libraries, education centers, music schools, theaters and more.
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- European Union
- Social Capital
- Civil Society
- Social Trust
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© 2015 Franziska Bieri and Neven T. Valev
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Bieri, F., Valev, N.T. (2015). Giving in Bulgaria: A Nonprofit Sector in Transition. In: Wiepking, P., Handy, F. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137341532_8
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