Prague, 8 September 2016 – Via Foundation opened public voting today for the 19th annual Via Bona Philanthropy Awards. Via Foundation also introduced the finalists in each category selected by the jury.
The jury, composed of representatives from companies, non-profit organizations, journalists and professionals selected the finalists in the following categories: Personal Engagement Award, Young Personal Engagement Award, Benefactor Award, Loyal Donor Award, Good Company Award and the Bequests Help Award. In each category the jury members selected 3 finalists from a total of 147 nominations.
The seventh award category is the Public’s Choice Award. The winner of this category is decided through voting by the broad public. Starting on 8 September, members of the public can vote on 15 nominated stories of philanthropists at the Via Foundation website: www.nadacevia.cz/viabona. Voting ends on October 7th.
“The Public’s Choice Award is a special category in this year’s Via Bona Awards which aims to inspire the broad public to give. The nominated stories show that anyone can be a philanthropist. Each and every one of us can help make the lives of those around us better and give our time, experience, energy or money for a good cause,” said Via Foundation program manager Jarmila Cihlářová. “By voting, people can also appreciate other people’s giving and thank those who help others,” she added.
The patron of the Public’s Choice Award is Czech TV (Česká televise). “Czech TV has supported philanthropy in the Czech Republic for many years because we view it as an important part of our society’s development,” says Monika Tomíčková, charitable activities manager at Czech TV.
Via Foundation first presented the Via Bona Awards in May 1998 with the aim of renewing disrupted traditions of philanthropy in the Czech Republic. Via Foundation holds the awards under the auspices of the Embassy of the USA in Prague. This year’s award ceremony will take place on October 9th in Prague.
The General partner of the Via Bona Awards is Nadace Vodafone Česká republika; other partners include Česká spořitelna, Philip Morris ČR and PwC Česká republika.
VIA BONA AWARD FINALISTS 2016
PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT AWARD
Dagmar Hermannová, founder of Pink Crocodile Foundation, opened a special school for disabled children in Prague-Letňany. Through her travels around the world she had seen dramatic differences in how disabled children are supported and educated in various countries. At that time the situation in the Czech Republic was far from perfect: there were practically no educational opportunities for children with combined disabilities with several concurrent disorders.
Miroslav first encountered AIDS when a family friend announced he was HIV positive. He and his friends founded a non-profit organization called Red Ribbon, z.s. and was part of the founding team of the Positive Life Endowment Fund. He works on both projects in his free time as a volunteer. He also tries to inform the public and people with AIDS and break down myths about AIDS. He is a great source of support to many HIV positive people, trying to help them change their approach to the illness and improve their physical and mental condition.
Zdeňka Mocňáková has struggled with a physical disability since she was 25. Despite the fact that she has been in a wheelchair since 2002, she devotes all of her free time to working with seniors and the health impaired. Her experience with unfriendly taxi drivers gave her the idea of founding a service in Louny called Senior taxi, which gives even mobility impaired a chance to take care of errands, doctor visits and shopping without an assistant. The service is very successful and as of this year, Senior taxi clients have at their disposal an air-conditioned vehicle with a seat with electrical turning options.
YOUNG PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT AWARD
At 19 he won one high jump competition after another and was well on his way to a career as an athlete. Then he was diagnosed with a connatal hip defect. Nonetheless Milan decided to make other people’s dreams come true. That was the beginning of A Journey without Pain, which was a 2,000 kilometer bike ride to make two disabled boys’ dream come true. Milan raised enough money to buy new wheelchairs and pay for a trip to Paris for both boys. The second annual A Journey without Pain, planned for this year, is dedicated to making a blind girl’s dream come true.
18-year-old Lenka came up with the project Crocheting for premature babies in Brandýs nad Labem-Stara Boleslav. In three months she crocheted 45 presents for children and their parents. She also recruited dozens of volunteers who began making outfits and shoes for newborns in a hospital in Kolín. She raised money to buy material by selling other products.
He takes part in Christmas luncheons for homeless people on a regular basis, visits residents of a retirement home, helps elderly neighbors, organizes public collections for the needy and helps out at work parties at the Broumov monastery. Jakub is only 19 but he is already an experienced volunteer. He spends his free time working on many different charity projects and has inspired many classmates and peers to begin volunteering.
LOYAL DONOR AWARD
For more than nine years, he has given two-thirds of his orphan pension every month to support children in the poorest countries of the world. He received help from other people in the past: Sir Nicholas Winton saved him from joining a transport to a concentration camp during World War II. Today Asaf Auerbach helps children in need. At age 77 he began receiving an orphan pension designated for children whose parents died during the Nazi occupation before the child could reach adulthood. He decided to regularly give part of his pension to UNICEF.
František Gemperle has supported the Frank Bold Society since 2005. Thanks to his gifts, the organization has been able to provide free legal advisory services and publish various articles about public interest issues. Mr. Gemperle first became involved with the Frank Bold Society more than ten years ago. Today he is one of the organization’s loyal donors, regularly taking part in programs, public affairs and communication with individuals and initiatives.
The illiteracy rate in Bangladesh is almost 60% among people over the age of 15. Primary education can give children opportunities to find better work as adults and live more dignified lives. Despite her severe disability, Irena Jindrová decided to give two children in Bangladesh hope for a better future. Her story shows that even disabled people can help others. Through the humanitarian organization ADRA and its program BanglaKids she has supported the education of two boys since 2012.
GOOD COMPANY AWARD
Bohemia Energy entity s.r.o.
For the past three years Bohemia Energy has supported the virtual project www.jdidoklubu.cz, which offers children and adolescents a place where they can safely spend their free time and get help or advice from social workers if needed. The project is unique because of its target group, which is often outside of field social workers’ range, which makes the Internet the ideal tool.
Dušan Hopp, Auto Díly Servis s.r.o.
This company has taken on protection of fetuses and involved all of its employees in this effort. From 2003 to 2007, it donated dozens of hours for volunteer work days to rebuild a Home for Pregnant Women in Crises. Dušan Hopp, owner of the company, coordinated the volunteers himself and raised funds for the building materials.
In 2014 the company management established the LOGIT Fund with the aim of improving the quality of life of people in the Podbořany area. In 2015 alone the LOGIT Fund funded new gymnastics equipment for children in a dance group, a herb garden at the elementary school in Kryry, new soccer equipment for children in Blšany and help for disabled and children in the Čtyřlístek Educational Center.
He founded a charitable organization named for his mother, ETELA. Its mission is to help disabled children and adolescents up to the age of 18. In the first year the organization distributed CZK 600,000 among 17 applicants, including e.g.the day stationary center in Karlovy Vary, which used the gift to buy a hydraulic lift for a special physical therapy bathtub and a 14-year-old boy from Nepal who was able to purchase a computer for his studies.
Kateřina and Viliam Sivek
Five years ago Kateřina and Viliam Sivek bought a house on the town square in Kostelec nad Černými lesy. Their plan was to remodel the house and make it a place for people with mental illnesses or in crisis. The Blue Doors Therapeutic Center has far exceeded its original aim. In addition to providing care for the mentally ill, patients’ families can find help at the center, which also holds cultural, sports and social events for people with disabilities.
For his birthday party he encouraged guests to support People in Need Foundation rather than bringing gifts. He matched the funds raised for a total of CZK 1,350,000 to help equip 42 maternity hospitals in Cambodia. Sanjiv has also supported construction of two schools in Congo for 628 children. In 2013, he decided to bike 850 km across his native India during an 8-day period to raise money for Doctors without Borders. His company Zátiší Group gives 50% of its profit to charity every year.