How American Optimism Met Bulgarian Potential in 2017

“American Optimism Meets Bulgarian Potential” – we started 2017 with optimism, inspired by a new logo, a new motto, and a new visual identity, which state our mission and long-term support for Bulgaria loud and proud.

For the first time in 2017 we gathered all our partners and friends from across the country, with whom we have completed over 700 projects worth more than USD 200 million in the last nine years. This year alone we launched 60 new projects, worked on over 150 initiatives, and made investments in the amount of USD 16 million. We continue to look for and create new opportunities for strengthening and expanding ABF’s community to celebrate Bulgaria’s potential. 

Our mutual efforts brought Pirogov’s Little Heroes to life, helped achieve a UN award and launched Bulgaria’s candidacy to put the Bishop’s Basilica and the Roman Mosaic Heritage of Philippopolis on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

ABF’s Little Heroes of Pirogov transformed the children’s clinics in Pirogov Emergency Hospital into a magical, welcoming place for children and their loved ones. The Little Heroes spread over the three floors of the children’s clinics in Pirogov, and a new playground was built in the yard of the hospital. The silver pine tree planted by the Foundation in the playground will dazzle and gleam in the hospital yard with its Christmas decorations, a bright reminder of the “Little Heroes” initiative of ABF and its partners.

Bulgaria was the center of attention of the United Nations twice this year. In October, Bulgaria’s  Trust for Social Achievement, founded by ABF, was awarded in the “Exclusive Contribution” category of the UN Prize for Sustainable Cities and Settlements for its successful program “Urban Planning – Everybody Wins.” This program was implemented in three Bulgarian municipalities – Kyustendil, Peshtera and Dupnitsa.




An exhibition dedicated to the Bishop’s Basilica and the Roman Mosaic Heritage of Philippopolis, organized by America for Bulgaria Foundation with the support of the Permanent Delegation of Bulgaria to UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Municipality of Plovdiv was held on November 20 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. This exhibition launched the initiative to include the Bishop’s Basilica and the Late Antique Mosaics of Philippopolis, Roman province of Thrace on the UNESCO’s Indicative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Work on the candidacy continues with ABF’s financial and organizational support.   

The Bulgarian Donors Forum was awarded by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev for its “Learn to Donate” program. It is aimed at familiarizing students in grades 1 to 12 with the principles of charity and goodwill and is being implemented in 24 schools nationwide with the support of America for Bulgaria Foundation.  







The newly-created Anti-Corruption Fund analyzes deals and transactions with high corruption risk with a special focus on public procurement. The tender tracking algorithm identifies signs and signals of possible violations. Teams of legal experts and auditors assess the data collected and gather additional information needed to report specific cases to the law enforcement authorities.

In three cities – Gabrovo, Razgrad and Vratsa, we saw the opportunity to prove how powerful community can be by uniting the efforts of the local administration, citizens and businesses. It was an honor and a pleasure for our Board of Directors to visit these three cities in April, and in June we continued with meetings of non-governmental organizations, active citizens, business representatives and local institutions. We built a solid foundation for cooperation and will continue this active partnership in 2018.


This year, ABF launched the Academy for School Leadership,  aimed at enhancing the prestige of teaching and the quality of education in Bulgaria. The Academy offers qualification programs tailored to the needs of Bulgarian principals and teachers, developed by experts from the Teachers’ College of Columbia University and Bank Street College in New York in partnership with the Qualification Department of Plovdiv University. 


The Schools of the Future program, which supports innovative school communities nationwide, reached another 23 schools this year. BGN 2.6 million was invested in modernization of the learning environment and new teaching and learning methods.




This year Bulgaria’s Olympic teams in natural sciences, supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation, won 16 gold, 19 silver and 29 bronze medals in the international Olympiads in Informatics, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematical Linguistics. Bulgaria hosted the first European Junior Olympiad in Informatics – EJOI 2017. America for Bulgaria was its gold sponsor.



Telerik Academy, which helps students between grades 4 and 12 across the country learn more about programming and new technologies, will reach 5,600 students from 13 cities nationwide over the next three years thanks to America for Bulgaria’s financial support.



200 disadvantaged youths between 13 and 20 had the opportunity to take English courses through the Code Success program of the Trust for Social Achievement.






Muzeiko – America for Bulgaria’s Children’s Museum ventured outside of Sofia in the second year since its launch. In Razgrad, more than 6,000 visitors saw the traveling exhibition “Inventions” dedicated to the most important inventions of the 19th and the 20th centuries. The center ‘crossed’ the ocean, grabbing the award for the best mission performance at the annual conference of the Children’s Museum Association of the United States.





Bulgarians enjoyed a number of performances by world-famous stars. Gil Shaham, one of the most prominent violinists of our time, came to Bulgaria to play on the Sofia stage in the “Music of America” series, which we started with Cantus Firmus and the Classic FM Orchestra in 2010.

Bulgaria welcomed Frank Uwe Laysiepen (Ulay), a talent who has left a mark on 20th century art, with his first photo exhibit in the country. One of the greatest innovators of jazz music of our time and the most sought-after artist for festivals, Robert Glasper (5 Grammy Awards), and 21st century American Jazz symbol Christian McBride (4 Grammy Awards) were among the headliners of the A to Jazz festival, which the Foundation supported for the seventh year.

The Young Virtuosos Contest, funded by America for Bulgaria Foundation, attracted a record number of 135 participants in Sofia. Some of the most influential musicians and lecturers in the world arrived in Bulgaria to judge the contest.

The year is coming to an end, but our projects next year will be no less impressive and ambitious.     

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