FROM AN IDEA TO AN ORGANIZATION
The idea for the Global Albanians Foundation (GAF) was born in Tirana Airport in the summer of 2015 when our Founder Mark Kosmo realized it was extremely difficult to donate money to help in Albania. For three years after that, the GAF was a joint activity of Germin, the Massachusetts Albanian American Society (MAASBESA), and the Albanian American Women’s Organization – Motrat Qiriazi (AAWO).
After a Diaspora Flet Conference held by Germiin in the spring of 2018 in Prishtina, it was clear that something more formal and sophisticated was needed. The GAF was then legally established in June of 2018 as a separate organization in the USA, and it received its 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in February of 2019.
We launched our web-site about 12 hours before the Albanian Earthquake in November 2019, and were able to collect over $200,000 in donations in the month following the earthquake since people trusted our integrity, management, and implementation skills. On average, we have raised about $200,000 per year to help Albanian not-for-profit organizations in Albania, Kosova, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Presheva. We have helped with earthquake and covid relief, youth, education, and health care.
CHANGING THE PURPOSE OF ALBANIAN DIASPORA FINANCING
Although it is not easy to raise money for Albanian NGOs, we hope to work on a larger scale with the large Albanian Diaspora to provide sustainable financing through crowdfunding and online donations for high impact and innovative Albanian not-for-profit organizations. We strongly believe that the not-for-profit sector in the Western Balkans plays a critical role in strengthening and advancing civic, economic, and social development.
Historically, the Diaspora’s main financial contribution has been through remittances. However, remittances have declined as the Diaspora has become more established outside of Albania and Kosovo. At the same time, because incomes are much higher in the destination countries than in the countries of origin, there is no doubt that most Albanian wealth is concentrated in the Diaspora. The purpose of the GAF is to attract some of this wealth back into the region to promote its economic and social development.
Therefore, the GAF provides a necessary institutional mechanism for the Albanian Diaspora to donate in their country of origin. These donations will provide financing for not-for-profit organizations who are experiencing a decline in their traditional sources of revenues from international donors over the past 2-3 decades.
We Are All Global Albanians
Transforming Our Future Together
Mark Kosmo at TEDxTirana