The COVID-19 challenge generated unprecedented levels of giving and volunteering in Bulgaria. Companies, civil society organizations, and volunteers jointly initiated campaigns and upgraded existing ones to best serve their communities’ needs. As a result, much-needed protective gear and medical equipment reached hospitals and medical staff in a timely manner, while emergency relief packages of food, medicine, and protective equipment were distributed to the most vulnerable Bulgarians.
The sixteenth edition of the annual Corporate Donor Competition of the Bulgarian Donors Forum honored socially engaged companies that were most actively involved in the COVID-19 response and in the efforts to resolve the healthcare and social problems deepened by the pandemic.
Another important focus of this year’s ceremony, held on December 7, 2021, at the Presidency of the Republic of Bulgaria, was the cooperation between citizens and business — a necessary prerequisite for sustainable social change. “The generosity of donors would have a hard time reaching people without the invisible civic infrastructure — all those local organizations, community centers, boards of trustees, clubs, and volunteer groups that work to transform the philanthropic gesture into real help for those in need across the country,” said Krasimira Velichkova, executive director of the Bulgarian Donors Forum.
TELUS International Bulgaria Community Board’s “Time to Make Tomorrow” initiative was recognized as the best giving program of 2020. Over the course of the year, the initiative funded COVID-19 relief projects worth 185,000 levs (nearly 110,000 US dollars) benefiting 150,000 children and young adults.
Two companies tied for the best volunteering program award: Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria for its #YouthEmpowered initiative and Hewlett-Packard Global Delivery Bulgaria Center for the HPE Gives Platform. The Coca-Cola program focuses on the career development of young people, and HPE Gives supports projects in the fields of education, social development, and environment protection.
With donations worth over 1,700,000 levs (983,000 US dollars), or 0.73% of the company’s annual profit, mining company Dundee Precious Metals Chelopech became the year’s Most Generous Donor. The recipient of the top prize in the Largest Volume of Nonfinancial Donations category is dairy products manufacturer Danon Serdika, which donated nearly half a million levs’ worth of dairy products last year.
The Meet and Code program of technology company SAP Labs Bulgaria and the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation won the award for most successful partnership of the year. More than 2,500 children and young adults from 19 locations improved their digital skills and developed programming projects through the partnership.
For his overall contribution to giving in Bulgaria, investor and philanthropist Stanimir Karolev received a special distinction. Mr. Karolev is the founder and main contributor to the Karoll Knowledge Foundation, which supports young scientists and tech entrepreneurs to spur the development of an innovation economy in the country.
For the first time in the competition’s history, the special award “Courage and Inspiration in Giving” was presented, and its recipient is Za Dobroto (“For the Good”) Foundation. In the last two years, the eight brave female founders of the foundation have attracted thousands of supporters for the cause of better children’s health care in Bulgaria. In 2020, Za Dobroto started the first emergency fund to help hospitals deal with the pandemic, and this year they launched a scholarship fund for the children of teachers and medics who lost their lives to COVID-19.
The corporate donor awards ceremony was organized in partnership with communications company Brand New Ideas and caterer with a mission Maria’s World Foundation and with the support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, Deloitte Bulgaria, American Foundation for Bulgaria, Capital weekly, BGlobal magazine, broadcaster Bulgaria On Air and the Bulgarian NGO Portal.
The Bulgarian Donors Forum (BDF) brings together philanthropic foundations and socially responsible companies supporting causes in the field of social services, ecology, cultural and historical heritage, education, human rights, and health care. The America for Bulgaria Foundation is a partner in the Forum’s mission to encourage responsible, sustainable giving among the country’s largest donors.