The number of citizens, as well as representatives of the business sector, who initiate philanthropic initiatives or participate in philanthropic actions is increasing year after year. At the same time, we record an increase in donations for the common good, as evidenced by the amount of donations that has risen more than four times since 2015. For sixteen years, Trag Foundation has, through the VIRTUS Award, presented to the public all those who have done good deeds, thus promoting, supporting and spreading the idea of philanthropy.
Two weeks before the closing of the competition for the VIRTUS Philanthropy Award, Trag Foundation organized a media conference that once again emphasized the importance of highlighting humane people with a big heart, as well as companies and enterprises, which have contributed to the community development in a responsible way during 2022. The state of philanthropy in Serbia was also discussed, as well as the motivation for philanthropic activity.
“Although in the first years of awarding, the VIRTUS Award was primarily dedicated to the business sector, examples of noble people who wanted to help others, make someone happy, and change something for the better in their immediate environment, inspired us to introduce a special category of the award – for individual contribution to philanthropy. Equally importantly, one of the goals of the award is to promote and stimulate philanthropy in our country, so that as many companies and individuals as possible can be involved in similar, meaningful programs or actions in the future. The fact that donations for the common good are constantly increasing, that in the previous two years we jumped from the bottom of the World Giving Index to the 27th position out of over a hundred countries, and that a number of people under the age of 30 who express a strong need for solidarity with individuals and vulnerable groups in our society is in constant rise, indicate a shift in the understanding of philanthropy in Serbia”, said Marija Mitrović, Philanthropy and Partnerships Director at Trag Foundation.
Mirjana Mutuc, an accountant from Novi Sad, speaking about her initiative of preparing cooked meals for socially vulnerable families, which she introduced with her daughters five years ago, pointed out that she has once again convinced herself of how many humane people there are among us. “My idea was to connect those who have excess food with those who need help. I am very pleased with the support we have received from a large number of people of goodwill, as well as with their willingness to help in alternative ways. The VIRTUS Award made our work more visible, and we founded an Association “Meal for the Family 3M”, within which we are making further plans to launch numerous initiatives for the common good in the upcoming period”.
Marko Čikarić, a teacher from Prokuplje, said that despite working in a small mountain village of Tovrljane, he wishes to contribute to making the lives of children and other residents of that place for the better. “I try to offer pupils a kind word, a piece of advice and support, in addition to knowledge, to improve their childhood. Although their school is far away, I believe that they deserve a quality education, just like their peers who live in towns and cities. The VIRTUS Award provided me with the additional strength to continue my work, in order to encourage the optimism of my fellow citizens who live in those beautiful, but practically abandoned places”.
The call for nominations for the sixteenth VIRTUS Philanthropy Award is open until February 14th, and more information about the competition can be found at the following link: www.tragfondacija.org/virtus-nagrada.