HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW FOUNDATION
The University of Warsaw Foundation was established on May 12th, 1988 by the UW Rector, professor Grzegorz Białkowski, with the purpose of supporting the University which was seriously underfunded at the time. Scant funding from the state budget could cover only the most pressing needs. There were no financial resources for advanced laboratory equipment or for maintaining contacts with foreign academic centers and research units. The University Library was unable to purchase literature and scientific magazines. Thus, the University community endorsed the project of setting up the Foundation and made contributions in order to establish its founding capital.
On July 9th, 1988, the UW Foundation and its Statute (see: Statute of the University of Warsaw Foundation) was approved by the Minister of National Education, which made it possible to apply for registration of the Foundation in the District Court for Warsaw–Praga in Warsaw.
On October 29th, 1988, the University of Warsaw Foundation was registered in the Register of Foundations (no. RF–94).
The first President of the Board of Directors elected by the UW Senate was professor Tomasz Dybowski (Department of Law and Administration). The Board included 12 members and the Revision Committee included five members.
During first months of the Foundation’s existence the Board dealt with organizational and administrative matters – creating its bank account and stamps – which was not easy at the time, since foundations only started to emerge and were treated with distrust. It was only the third bank, to which the Foundation applied, that agreed to open its account.
The Board of Directors engaged in wide-ranging operations aiming to popularize the Foundation and its goals among domestic and foreign academic community and alumni of the University of Warsaw. The Board applied for support to enterprises and institutions with a purpose to reach the widest possible circles of donors. These efforts gained results and the Foundation soon received funds for the appropriate pursuit of its statutory goals.
The first donation was transferred to the Foundation’s account on January 20th, 1989: an equivalent of 0.50 current zlotys was sent by an individual donor for the University Library.
At the beginning, the Foundation’s activity was focused on extending library collections, acquiring equipment for the UW organizational units, supporting academic and research projects and providing funds for the participation of the UW scholars in domestic and foreign academic conferences.
In 1990, the Foundation began its effort to find a site and funds for the construction of new Warsaw University Library. The former building of the library was in a poor technical state and there was no storage space for the library collection. Part of the collection, including invaluable treasures of national culture, could have been dilapidated due to lack of maintenance. Already in 1920, the director of the University Library filed a request to the UW Rector for a new library building to be raised. However, for several dozens of years the efforts of the University were ignored by the authorities which were not interested in its development. The University itself had neither sufficient funds nor an appropriate site for a new Library building.
Finally, after the transition to democracy, the Foundation’s endeavors gained acceptance of Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government, which subsidized the project. The government subsidy, together with contributions and efforts of many other people, made it possible to raise the new University Library, which was open on December 15th, 1999. Since that time, the Foundation has also continued to support other construction investments of the University of Warsaw (see: Investments).
From May 17th, 2000 to December 16th, 2009 professor Hubert Izdebski (Department of Law and Administration) had served as the President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
On October 11th, 2004, the Foundation acquired the status of public benefit organization and was registered in the Sate Court Registry (no. 0000218937).
Since its establishment, the Foundation has continued pursuing its essential goal of supporting the research and academic development of the University of Warsaw. It has financed different student associations’ projects, academic publications, conferences, research trips, exhibitions, etc. It has also supported the cultural development at the University by co-organizing and subsidizing artistic projects and series of concerts enjoying great interest among wider audiences.
Since May 17th, 2010, professor Michał Nawrocki (Department of Physics) continues to serve as the President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
In 2013, the Foundation celebrated the jubilee of the 25th anniversary of its establishment.