United: We Support Communities in Need in Bulgaria

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Open letter from the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum, America for Bulgaria Foundation, US Embassy, and American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria to present the activities of the United against COVID-19 Relief Fund.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum, America for Bulgaria Foundation, US Embassy, and American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria united efforts and established the United against COVID-19 Relief Fund. We appealed to our members and partners to make unconditional donations to the fund so that we could respond quickly and effectively to the urgent needs of Bulgarian society.

We established the United against COVID-19 Relief Fund with the confidence that joint philanthropic efforts are the best way to support people and institutions, deliver effective remedies, and build greater capacity to meet urgent needs.

The Initiative. On April 9, 2020, the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum, America for Bulgaria Foundation, US Embassy, and American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria announced the establishment of the United against COVID-19 Relief Fund. Guided by its mission “to help communities in need in Bulgaria,” the fund established as its goal to financially support the most vulnerable groups across the country affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Transparency. For maximum transparency to donors, applicants, and other stakeholders, we created a dedicated website, www.united4bg.org, that includes detailed information about the fund’s mission, objectives, and governance; the donors and funds raised; the application requirements and application form as well as information about the approved organizations.

Donors. To date, the fund has raised 1,006,475 levs, donated by 44 donors—companies, foundations, and individuals—from March to May 2020.

Applicants. The fund administered the application process on a competitive basis, with two calls for proposals. The fund targeted medical institutions, municipalities, civil society organizations, community centers, schools, and micro and small businesses with ideas for how to support people affected by the crisis. The maximum funding per project under the rules of the fund is 10,000 levs.

The fund received 693 applications in the two rounds. Most of them, 303, were from nonprofit organizations, followed by 110 municipalities and 100 community centers. Fifty-five hospitals and 26 other medical institutions also applied. Most of the proposals came from small towns. One hundred organizations offered activities with regional or national scope.

Supported projects. The fund approved a total of 106 projects, as follows: 28 hospitals and 7 smaller medical establishments; 15 municipalities; 37 civil society organizations; 9 community centers; 2 schools; and 8 micro and small businesses. Through the fund’s financial support, the recipient organizations procured medical and personal protection equipment, food and medicines for elderly people, children without parental care, the unemployed, homeless, victims of domestic violence, and other vulnerable groups. The list of approved projects from both rounds can be found on the initiative’s website www.united4bg.org

Reach: The fund will provide assistance to 700,000 people, according to estimates provided by the approved organizations. The projects are in 82 locations (44 small towns, 26 villages, and 12 regional centers) throughout the country.

We are confident that the fund and its donors made a significant contribution to national and local anti-crisis efforts. The examples of collaborative efforts throughout the country are unprecedented and demonstrate the vast potential and impressive commitment of Bulgarian society.

Thank you to the generous donors to the United against COVID-19 Fund: The Coca-Cola Foundation, America for Bulgaria Foundation, ContourGlobal Maritza East 3, NEPI Rockcastle, Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, ING Bank NV, Progress Software, Citibank, Johnson & Johnson Bulgaria, UniCredit Bulbank, Glavbolgarstroy Holding, MSD Bulgaria, TELUS International Europe, Tsetska and Grozdan Karadjovi, Svetozar Georgiev, Trust for Social Achievement, AES 3C Maritza Iztok 1, Paraflow Communications, Mylan, EXL Service Bulgaria, Blagotvoritel Foundation, AIG Europe SA (Bulgaria branch), Fadata, Meglena Rusenova, Green Step Club, Rossen Ivanov, Krassimir Nenov, Titan Machinery Bulgaria, and sixteen anonymous individual donors.

These were challenging times for all of us. We witnessed remarkable real-life stories of kindness, humanity, and solidarity. We thank the United against COVID-19 donors for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate how people and businesses can fulfill their civic duty and lend their support to alleviate medical and equipment shortages and support medics, vulnerable populations, and needy families.

Sincerely,

The Bulgarian Donors’ Forum
America for Bulgaria Foundation
American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria
US Embassy in Sofia

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