Via Foundation recognized individuals and companies which are donating their time and money to help others through the 21st Via Bona Philanthropy Awards, held on Monday, May 21, under the patronage of the US Embassy. This year, Via engaged the public through online voting. Whether on not you were among those who voted, you may be interested to read about the winners of the 2018 awards in five categories – Patron, Personal Engagement, Young Personal Engagement, Good Company and Bequeaths.
Dress nicely and polish your shoes.
Love what you do.
Words of wisdom shared by Wendy Luers, wife of US Ambassador William Luers and founder of the Foundation for a Civil Society (FCS), the predecessor to Via Foundation. Wendy’s life lessons have been etched into Via staff memory and, just in case memory fails, posted on the wall of our conference room.
Via Foundation has selected 15 of the most inspiring examples of giving for 2018 and the award winners will be chosen from this pool of finalists. You can vote for the examples you feel are most powerful at www.cenaviabona.cz.
In many European countries, you can find organizations not unlike Via Foundation that are supporting local communities. In 2017, we set out to form a “CEE network” to forge connections with these likeminded organizations.
The social issues we are facing today go beyond national borders and it is clear that all European countries, and the organizations within them, are dealing with similar problems: integration of minorities and refugees, societies divided between urban liberals and rural conservatives and threats to fragile East European democracies, to name some of the most pressing.
We have opened a call for another round of ViabilityNet 3.0, through which we support people who are engaged in communities in Central and Eastern Europe – and their ideas. If you are considering filling out an application but you’re still unsure whether ViabilityNet is a good fit for you, these thoughts from Zuzana Šrůmová, a participant of this year’s program, may help you decide.
A year ago a friend of mine said to me: “Zuzko, I really think that you should apply to this program. What you are doing and what you want to do in the future are exactly what this program is all about. I was one of the participants in the last round and it was really great.”
The house of ideas, Mokrinhouse, located in the tiny village of Mokrin in north Serbia, hosted the second meeting of our ViabilityNet 3.0 program.
Mokrin’s past development is typical of rural villages in Central and Eastern Europe. It was lively in the early 20th century, particularly because the Orient Express had a stop here to resupply water to the train’s steam engine, which enabled people to trade between Istanbul and Paris. And then at the end of the 20th century, Mokrin suffered a drastic decline in population.
In the ViabilityNet 3.0 program we are training 14 community leaders from the Central and Eastern European region to support them in the development of more resilient communities. The participants have their own community projects, which you can see here in more detail , and have the chance to participate in four meetings to learn theory and new skills and exchange ideas during the year-long process. The first meeting took place in August 2017 in Slovakia, where we started to become familiar with the concept of resilience.