Friends of Chicago Foundation is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization committed to developing Bulgaria-United States citizen partnerships and providing public support for establishing a sister cities relationship between Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and Chicago.


To help develop the cooperation between Sofia and Chicago by initiating educational, scientific, cultural, environmental, economic, business, tourist and other exchanges and projects.

To promote the sharing of best practices on a city-to-city basis in the area of administrative and social services, public education, city police and security, local transportation, environment and organization of public events.

To support initiatives launched by the Bulgarian community in Chicago aimed at strengthening the Bulgarian-American cooperation.

To encourage the citizen diplomacy by providing opportunity for developing personal contacts between Bulgarians and Americans, local authorities, business, media, nongovernmental organizations, educational, scientific and cultural organizations; thus, paving the way to establishing a sister cities relationship between Sofia and Chicago.

To collaborate with organizations within Bulgaria, the United States and other countries with similar goals.


In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the “People-to-People Initiative.” He believed that diplomacy on a person-to-person level was an important resource for successful negotiations between governments. Recognizing the importance of involving all citizens in world diplomacy, he called upon the nation’s cities as the centers of opportunity, expression and economic growth, to unite with communities around the world in building a solid structure of world peace. At the core of all sister cities relationships is an agreement, signed by the Mayors of each city, reflecting their mutual commitment to building bridges between governments, businesses and individuals. Today, through formal Sister Cities affiliations, 2,400 Sister Cities relationships are bringing citizens together to cooperate and share ideas, activities and solutions on a range of topics, including the environment, education, culture, medicine, and technology.  


In 1960, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley signed the first Sister Cities’ agreement with Warsaw, Poland. In the ’70s and ‘80s, Chicago signed with seven additional Sister Cities. And in 1990, Mayor Richard M. Daley enacted an executive order to establish a volunteer Board of Directors, kicking off more than a decade of increased community participation and a rapid growth in Sister Cities’ relationships. Since then, Chicago has established official relationships with a total of 28 cities in almost every region of the world. Friends of Chicago Foundation strives to make Bulgaria’s capital Sofia the next city with which Chicago has a sister city relationship.