WISE is part of the largest work integration social enterprise in Romania, being declared "Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016" within Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year world competition. Throughout time, we provided social aid to over 150.000 beneficiaries, created over 100 jobs, out of which at least 40% are dedicated to disabled people.
WISE is developed by us, Close to You Foundation (ADV), a non-governmental organization and a work integration social enterprise, established in February 2002 by Holt International Children’s Service USA, whose mission is the integration of people with disabilities or other vulnerable groups.
Its national headquarters is in Iasi and it is registered as a Romanian foundation, independent from state authorities, not conditioned by any certain ideologies, doctrines or religions.
Close to You Foundation has developed over 75 projects/programmes in the last 15 years, financed by international bodies, local authorities and from its own funds. The programmes of the foundation carried out at a local, national and regional level and at the cross-border/transnational level, are in the domain of social services and social economy, innovative services targeting the inclusion and employment of vulnerable groups, particularly young people. In parallel, the lobby and advocacy component for the NGO sector has been developed by the promotion and defense of the direct beneficiaries - people from vulnerable groups and a development assistance component - granted to NGOs from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Nigeria.
Close to You Foundation is currently providing the following services:
ANGELA ACHIȚEI - CEO
Educated as a social assistant, with a Master's degree in integrated education at Al.I. Cuza University of Iasi and currently a Ph-D. candidate in `strategic management of social economy businesses`, during her 15 years of activity with Close to You Foundation, Angela has carried out the management of more than 75 European projects
ANA DRELEA - MEMBER - THE EMPLOYEES REPRESENTATIVE
Ana Drelea has started her activity with Close to You Foundation in 2004, as a volunteer. She became very attached to the foundation's values and in 2006, she applied for the position of financial assistant, being, as a result, employed within the organization.
PETRISOR OSTAFIE - MEMBER - THE BENEFICIARIES' REPRESENTATIVE
At the beginning of 2004, I came into contact with Close to You Foundation, as a beneficiary. I found people determined to help for the better those in need. I was fascinated by the way they helped the beneficiaries with the problems they had and I decided that I wanted and could do more for those around me.
ANA VASILACHE - HONORARY MEMBER
Ana Vasilache is an architect and town planner, with a vast experience as trainer and facilitator of participating processes of strategic planification in communities and organizations. Ana is founding member of FPDL - Partners for Local Development Foundation, a non-governmental organization
OLIVIA BACIU - HONORARY MEMBER
Olivia Baciu is working in the field of local and international development, being consultant and trainer in the development of organizations/institutions and transition governance for the representatives of civil society organizations and of local and central public administrations and their partners, as well as for the coalitions and federations
”Social Entrepreneur Of The Year” Prize granted to Angela Achitei for the establishment of UtilDeco as a social enterprise within Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme, the only global entrepreneurial competition taking place in more than 145 cities from 60 countries, covering over 94% of the global economy.
the European Commission published us on its website as a good practice model representative for Romania on the disabled people's protected employment.
"For us, Close to You Foundation is a trendsetter through what they have been doing for years in the social economy sector, fighting for the interests of social organizations at a national level so the work of the sector is respected and recognized."
"They prove each day that organizations outside Bucharest can successfully promote public policies at a national level."
"I'm a big fan of Close to You and of Angela Achitei (and not because she is my namesake). What Angela Achitei has started in Iasi is in fact, a way of believing in people and in their power, sometimes still undiscovered. The network she has created within the social services and the social economy structures constitutes a vivid demonstration of what it means to be a person of the citadel, for the community of Iasi and more. It is a model to be followed for both local and national public policies."
"During my 15 years of activity in the non-governmental sector, I have had the opportunity to witness many projects develop and I have watched them with the care of someone who knows how serious are the challenges with which they will be faced in order to ensure their continuity. Close to You Foundation has managed to find, quite naturally, because the foundation's programmes are really the expression of the local needs, a way of efficient development by establishing UtilDeco. I was impressed by the evolution of UtilDeco, going from the stage of an idea, several years ago, to the stage of a truly effective social enterprise and, at the same time, a model of the involvement of the beneficiaries - people from vulnerable groups, in various activities, turning to advantage their talent and dedication. It can be done! Close to You Foundation is showing, thanks to UtilDeco, that this can be done in Romania as well! Not only by knowing the beneficiaries' real needs, but also through clear management abilities and a lot of dedication, extraordinary longstanding projects are born, both in the capital city and in other locations in the country."
"The visit to UtilDeco has provided me with a lot of information and has deeply impressed me. I appreciate the efforts made to improve social services and to influence and change the way in which social services and social enterprises are regarded. I would like to come back because here I have discovered an overall thinking and a concrete system of providing improved services, including to people in rural areas."
“Close to you” Foundation is involved at national and European level into advocacy endeavors aimed at improving and regulating some aspects related to social services, social economy, the rights of disabled people, the development of the NGO sector, European funds, transparency and social equity. In this sense, as the founding member, it has laid the foundations of several national platforms and networks.
We are the member of the National Committee of Integration and Fight against Poverty attached to prime minister Dacian Ciolos' cabinet.
Close to You Foundation is registered with the Unique Registry of the Transparency of Interests, RUTI, implemented by the Romanian Government.