chapter  10
Pages 13

The restoration of the market economy and democratic institutions in Estonia began in 1991, when the country became independent. Since then, ideas about the relationship between the emerging foundation sector and other parts of society – notably the government and the forprofit sector – have been developing at a rapid pace. They are partly based on the revolutionary popular movements’ discourse of the late 1980s, on ideas originating from the United States (US) and Western Europe, and on the (mostly implicit) expectations of politicians and other stakeholders. Inevitably, the everyday work of the foundations presents them with new challenges and possibilities, sometimes demanding painful compromises. This chapter examines foundations in Estonia today and how they see their place in society.1 We will show how the foundations make efforts to combine their ideals with the realities of their everyday work and explore how common ideas and visions, but also controversies develop within the field of non-profit organisations.