History

We started our work in 2009.
But our connection with Bulgaria dates back more than
25 years.

November 9, 1989
In Europe, the Berlin Wall Falls
On November 9, the Berlin Wall fell. The Iron Curtain lifted and opened the way to democracy and free markets for the countries from Central and Eastern Europe.
November 9, 1989
November 28, 1989
In the United States, the US Congress Passes the SEED Act
On November 28, 1989, the US Congress passed the Support for Eastern European Democracy (SEED) Act, promoting the transition to free markets and democracy in former communist countries. In a way, the program had similarities to the Marshall Plan of 1948, but this time, the economic assistance would not be government to government. Instead, the US government grants would be managed by a novel and unique creation—enterprise funds, private US organizations that would work on the ground in selected countries and fund local initiatives through grants, loans, and other investments. The enterprise funds authorized under the SEED Act were funded with US tax money through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) but managed by independent, volunteer boards of directors comprised of US business executives and entrepreneurs. In all, ten funds were created in 17 countries across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
November 28, 1989
1991
The Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund
Is Established
The Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund (BAEF) was established, with capital of $55 million. The Fund began investing in Bulgaria’s emerging free-market economy by helping entrepreneurial Bulgarians create small and medium-sized businesses
1991
1992-1995
The Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund
Invests in Bulgarian Businesses
Through BAEF’s micro-lending, SME and Hotel Lending programs, in three years, the Fund made over 500 investments in businesses located in 130 cities, towns and villages across Bulgaria.
1992-1995
1996
The Bulgarian American Credit Bank
Is Established
The successful development of the Fund and its increased investment activities led to the establishment of the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank (BACB). BACB began by creating a Home Mortgage Lending Program and assisting with the passage of Bulgaria’s Mortgage Bond Legislation. By 2001 and for several years to come, BACB was recognized as the most profitable and efficient bank in Bulgaria. Over the next ten years, BAEF and BACB invested in more than 5,000 Bulgarian businesses, which employed thousands of Bulgarians.
1996
2007
Bulgaria Becomes a Member of the
European Union
On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria entered the European Union. Having largely fulfilled its mission, BAEF began selling its assets.
2007
2008
BACB Is Sold
In August 2008, BAEF sold its majority ownership of BACB to Allied Irish Bank, allocating the proceeds of the sale together with other asset sales to form the America for Bulgaria Foundation’s $400 million corpus. The total investment returns positioned BAEF as the most successful of the ten SEED Act Enterprise Funds.
2008
2009
The America for Bulgaria Foundation
Is Established
The proceeds were earned in Bulgaria thanks to the good management of investments and the work of the Bulgaria team. It was a natural decision for this capital to be put to continued good work to improve Bulgaria’s business environment, the quality of education and the prosperity of society in all its dimensions. This vision was at the core of the 2009 founding of the America for Bulgaria Foundation. Each year ABF donates about $20 million out of its $400 million endowment. The corpus is invested to allow ABF to continue as a perpetual foundation in its four key areas of interest.
2009
September 10, 2012
ABF Founding President, BAEF and BACB President and CEO, Frank Bauer, Awarded
Order of Madara Horseman by the
President of Bulgaria
After 21 years of dedicated service at the helm of the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund (1991-2012), the Bulgarian American Credit Bank (1996-2008), and the America for Bulgaria Foundation (2008-2012), Frank Bauer retired. President Rosen Plevneliev (2012-2017) awarded Mr. Bauer with the Order of Madara Horseman – First Degree. The high state award was bestowed on Mr. Bauer for his great merits in strengthening, developing and deepening the bilateral relations between Bulgaria and the United States.
September 10, 2012
September 30, 2015
Muzeiko Opens to Children and Families
Muzeiko, the first interactive science discovery center for kids and families was inaugurated in Sofia, Bulgaria. Muzeiko is a modern informal educational institution of the 21st century, nurturing the children’s interest in sciences and technology. Through its creation it has already provided hundreds of jobs to Bulgarian companies, entrepreneurs, scientists and educators and is a popular tourist destination.
September 30, 2015
January 17, 2017
American Optimism Meets Bulgarian Potential: America for Bulgaria Foundation Unveils New Identity
Nancy Schiller, president and CEO (2016 – present) of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, introduced its new identity at a conference in Sofia for more than 600 of the Foundation’s partners from 75 locations across Bulgaria. It includes a new logo and related visuals, a new domain name and a new tagline. “Our new identity captures the unique partnership between our two countries, best exemplified by our new tagline American Optimism Meets Bulgarian Potential" Mrs. Schiller said.
January 17, 2017
July 4, 2018
ABF Acquires its Home at 6 Malyovitsa Street
in Sofia
107 years after it was built to house the family of renowned Bulgarian merchant Andrey Arsov, ABF acquired the property at 6 Malyovitsa Street in Sofia for its headquarters. Designed by Austrian architect Karl Heinrich with decorative elements on the façade, crafted by 20th-century Austrian sculptor Andreas Greiss (author of the interior of the Parliament building and the Royal Palace in downtown Sofia), the two-domed house was declared a monument of culture in 1978.

In 1996, the building’s restoration began after international developer Litexco Bulgaria acquired the first floor and entrusted the job to architect Roussi Dellev and the restoration team of Nikolay Ivanov - ОМ. In 2013, the building was declared one of the five best-restored historic buildings in Sofia by a national poll conducted by Bulgarian National Television. In 2018, the house at 6 Malyovitsa Street was included in “Vienna’s Creative Influences on Sofia Architecture” temporary exposition at the Sofia History Museum.
July 4, 2018