Example of Good Practice

Last year, the VIRTUS award for individual contribution to philanthropy went to Tamara Klarić and Bogdan Stevanović from Belgrade

Tamara Klarić and Bogdan Stevanović

This year, Trag Foundation has announced the 14th VIRTUS Award for Philanthropy. The aim of this prestigious award is to recognize and highlight companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals who have supported public benefit initiatives in the most long-term and effective way during the previous year. The VIRTUS Award is presented with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) within the Framework for Giving project, the European Union, and the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

Last year, the VIRTUS award for individual contribution to philanthropy went to Tamara Klarić and Bogdan Stevanović from Belgrade, who created the humanitarian action “Take a step”(„Pruži korak“) and thus raised funds for the construction of a new Parent’s House in Belgrade, in which children with cancer and their parents from other cities in Serbia stay, when children come for treatment. They designed a socially responsible application for mobile phones “Take a step”, in which 560,000 people and over 60 donor companies participated, and raised more than half a million Euros to build a new Parent’s House in Belgrade. The “Take a step” application had several levels. The first is raising money for a new Parent House. The second is the motivation of people to be physically active, which is the best prevention to reduce heart disease. The third aspect is ecological, because walking helps to reduce the emission of harmful gases in the air for at least a few days, which contributes to the protection of the environment.

The two of them walked from Niš to Belgrade and by their example motivated the general public to get involved in that humanitarian action. Back in 2017, by walking from Belgrade to Niš, they raised funds for the construction of the hemato-oncology department of the Children’s Hospital in Niš. In that way, together they crossed Serbia on foot twice, while all participants in the action in 2019 crossed the circumference of the planet Earth on foot.

“The environment in which we live is a direct product of our decisions and actions

Our wish was to do something for children with cancer and to show how much power can have ” little ordinary people ” when they unite in great and important deeds. Let everyone imagine what (s)he would do if the fate of the world depended on her/him. I hope we are all ready to hear that great surprising truth – yes, the world depends on us. The environment in which we live is a direct product of our decisions and actions. There is a whole range of activities that shape our present and future – from not throwing garbage in nature to engaging in community development initiatives. That is why it is very important for people to gather around humane ideas and to show through philanthropic initiatives that good deeds can connect us. Such a society is a better place to live “, said Tamara Klarić.

Almost all activities were realized voluntarily and thanks to the pro bono contribution of individuals and companies: the service for creating and running the application is a donation from an IT company, two Startit centers in Belgrade and Novi Sad and Think Innovative center in Niš offered space for project presentations to the business sector, and the media supported the action. During the walk, Tamara and Bogdan were provided with accommodation and food by volunteers and parents gathered in NURDOR. The lease of the server for installing the application was financed by the initiators of the action – Tamara and Bogdan. During this campaign, the results were measured on the basis of donations paid for each kilometer traveled, since the application counts the steps, then, individual gifts from donors, such as a house on Fruška Gora, based on published texts in the media and social networks. The estimated value of the support is close to one million Euros.

Tamara, in addition to her professional engagement in the National Association of Parents of Children with Cancer – NURDOR, regularly volunteers in the activities of the association. Bogdan donates a part of the income from his books to the NURDOR association, which have been published in several editions, and on social platforms he motivates a large number of his followers to get involved in philanthropic initiatives.

These two young people became an inspiration for other people to initiate similar actions, as well as to join humanitarian initiatives, thus giving best contribution to the development of philanthropy.

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