Charles Stewart Mott Foundation President William S. White received the first-ever Philanthropy Compass Prize awarded by the European Foundation Centre (EFC) on November 9, 2009, for “outstanding contributions to the development of the EFC and the European philanthropic sector.”
The award was presented during EFC’s 20th anniversary celebrations, which also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Upon accepting the award, Mr. White briefly discussed why Mott began its Civil Society program, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations working in Central/Eastern Europe and Russia.
“We realized that when the Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, there was a historic opportunity,” he said. “In the States, we never thought this would happen. This was an opportunity and it had to be seized.”
EFC officials said the award also was meant to recognize Mr. White’s contributions to EFC’s own development as a philanthropic institution. They said future Compass awards will not be given out annually. Instead, they only will be presented to recognize “unique and exemplary contributions” to the European foundation community.