Winners Of The VIRTUS Philanthropy Award 2020

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Main Award for the contribution on the national level 

MK Group LTD for donations totalling more than 1 million euros, intended for the purchase of medical equipment for health institutions, humanitarian food packages for socially disadvantaged citizens, transportation of children in need of medical treatment abroad, support for children without parental care and numerous cultural institutions and organizations. In 2020, the Company provided much needed rest to 450 medical workers in the hotels that they own across Serbia and the region. They also supported the work of the Centre for Family Support – Signpost (“Putokaz”) from Niš, which enabled almost 170 children to stay within their families and achieve a better result in schooling.

Award for the contribution to the local community in which the company operates 

eFront LTD from Belgrade (a part of BlackRock) for the programs of support and empowerment of children and youth without parental care and those that are in the process of leaving alternative care in Belgrade. During the previous year and in cooperation with the Centre for Positive Youth Development – CEPORA, the company organized over 250 online classes and training sessions related to employment for more than 130 children. The company employees dedicated their time to managing an online sales exhibition and delivery of sold products to customers, in addition to buying the products of the protégés of the Centre Star (“Zvezda”), while for each volunteer hour of its employee, the company donated a certain amount to the organization. eFront also organized numerous excursions and socializing events with children without parental care and provided scholarships for talented high school students in Belgrade.

Award for small and medium enterprises

CCS Solutions LTD, a micro-enterprise from Belgrade, for the donation of its product, multi-purpose ecological mask “Green Mask”, and other medical and protective equipment to numerous health, educational and social protection institutions in Serbia. In 2020, CCS Solutions donated protective equipment worth approximately 11% of its annual turnover.

Award for long term partnership between business and the non-profit sector

Raiffeisen Bank JSC Belgrade for a sixteen-year partnership with the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in programs aimed to promote and popularise theatre art. As part of the “Art on Discount” program, that was organized on several occasions, the bank enabled the public to purchase tickets for the theatre’s complete repertoire at popular prices, which resulted in the sale of more than 12,000 tickets. In addition to regular donations to the theatre, the bank provides gift vouchers to its clients for the theatre repertoire every year. During the pandemic, Raiffeisen Bank provided all interested Serbian citizens with an access to quality artistic and cultural content on its website “Art from a Distance”, specially created during the state of emergency, broadcasting a selection of the most popular performances of this theatre.

Award for individual contribution to philanthropy

Aleksandar Alek Kavčić from Belgrade, inventor and professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States of America, for his contribution to the improvement of primary and secondary education in Serbia. In order to provide free textbooks for all primary school children in Serbia, Aleksandar invested approximately 1 million euros for the purchase of the annual circulation of textbooks for primary school, which he published online for free download. In 2020, Aleksandar donated 20 computers of the latest generation to the Mathematical Gymnasium and redistributed 20 computers, which he donated to this gymnasium in 2019, to five primary schools in Serbia. This former student of the Belgrade Mathematical Gymnasium, in addition to the monetary donation, was personally engaged in selecting donated equipment and the entire organization of the procurement of textbooks, which he made available for free use.

Special Award for the most innovative project 

Delta Holding for the unique project “Our Village” through which the company initiated the development and renewal of villages in Serbia by providing financial support, know-how on modern agriculture as well as support in product distribution for 40 farms in the villages of Mala Jasikova and Dubočane near Zaječar. During 2020, its employees spent over 400 volunteer hours educating and advising residents on primary and secondary production. They bought these farms’ products, helping them earn regular income during the crisis period as part of the “Our Village Market” campaign. The company extended the working hours of the rural clinic in cooperation with the Health Centre Zajecar and renovated primary schools in both villages. In addition to this, its employees prepared and donated New Year’s packages for all children from both villages as part of the traditional “Santa’s Helpers” campaign.  Delta Holding also donated money to families from these villages for each newborn baby.

Special Award for contribution to gender equality 

IKEA Serbia LTD for a comprehensive contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Serbia. In 2020, the company conducted a campaign against domestic violence “A safe home is a better home”, due to the escalation of this social problem during the COVID-19 virus pandemic. To contribute to solving this problem in the local community, and in cooperation with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, IKEA financially supported more than 700 vulnerable families and 1,500 individuals, including victims of domestic violence, throughout Serbia. In addition to this, on the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, IKEA displayed the SOS phone numbers intended for victims of violence in its department store. In order to create opportunities for a better position of women in society and their greater economic independence, IKEA is implementing a project to support women entrepreneurs “I am BRAVE!” in partnership with Mastercard and the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.

Special Award for long-term contribution to the local community in which the company operates

Mihajlović system LTD from Paraćin provided support in goods and money to socially disadvantaged fellow citizens, talented high school and university students, deserving individuals in various spheres of social life, numerous health, educational and cultural institutions, as well as civil society organizations of this municipality for almost three decades. In 2020, the year of significant health challenges, this company donated funds for the treatment and care of the most vulnerable social groups, procured medical and computer equipment for health institutions in Paraćin and its surroundings and financed international medical treatments for children and youth from this area. In addition to this, last year the company marked 30 years of its work with a voluntary blood donation campaign in cooperation with the Transfusion Institute in Nis and the Red Cross Paraćin, during which it donated lunch vouchers to all participants that could be used in the company’s restaurant.

Special Award for the personal contribution to poverty reduction 

Mirjana Mutuc, an accountant from Novi Sad, has been preparing and donating cooked food meals for families who could not afford it with her two daughters, since 2018. Every month, Mirjana and her daughters provide meals to about 200 families, buy groceries from donations and their funds, and donate conditional meals in several restaurants and fast food kiosks in Novi Sad and the surrounding area. When the needs began to exceed their capacities, they launched the Facebook group “Meal for the Family”, and the story spread throughout Serbia. The group now has over 10,000 active members, and food for families, apart from Novi Sad, is prepared in more than 20 places across the country. In addition to providing cooked meals, a mother and two daughters supply families with basic groceries, clothes, and other daily necessities.

Special Award for young philanthropists

Selma Hasić Manić and Nerma Zekić Hoćanin from Novi Pazar, caught-up by the situation in Novi Pazar at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, launched an urgent campaign to raise money for the purchase of the most necessary medical equipment for the General Hospital in this city. In just one day, using social networks, and with the help of citizens and the diaspora, they raised 36,000 euros. During the past year, these young philanthropists donated medical and protective equipment to health institutions and pharmacies in Sandžak as well as their fellow citizens for home treatment, worth 100,000 euros. In addition to the actions to support health institutions, Selma and Nerma raised money to support 200 single mothers around Eid, helped children without parental care, and the elderly.

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