New opportunities for the development of philanthropy

Belgrade, November 4, 2021 – The global pandemic has created a new reality and numerous challenges for all segments of society. In such circumstances, the key question is how to inspire companies and citizens to strategically contribute to the common good. The answer lies in new types of cooperation and communication channels, use of new technologies, improvement of the environment for giving in Serbia, digitalization of philanthropy through the prism of new opportunities for initiating and implementing philanthropic initiatives, as pointed out at the National Conference on Philanthropy: New Reality – New Opportunity, organized by the Trag Foundation, with the support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), within Framework for Giving project.

Mirko Janić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Employment

It is very important that the society develops awareness of the importance of mutual help and giving for the common good. In times of crisis, people are more willing to support humanitarian initiatives, but it is important that solidarity is always present. The Government of the Republic of Serbia is ready to contribute to the creation of a more favorable environment for the development of philanthropy, the importance of which was once again confirmed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mirko Janić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs at the opening of the conference.

Shanley Pinchotti, Director of the Office of Democratic Governance and Economic Growth, USAID Serbia

Shanley Pinchotti, Director of the Office of Democratic Governance and Economic Growth, USAID Serbia, said: “USAID is proud of all successes accomplished in partnership with the Coalition for Giving lead by the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation during the past three and a half years. Together, we established the National Day of Giving; increased non-taxable portions of student scholarships; facilitated online crowdfunding and increased the number of private sector actors and individuals engaging in philanthropic giving. …In 2021, Serbia jumped to 48th from 129th on the World Giving Index.

Biljana Dakić Đorđević, Executive Director of the Trag Foundation

Biljana Dakić Đorđević, Executive Director of the Trag Foundation, pointed out the importance of further development of philanthropy. „Public opinion polls on philanthropy in Serbia show that citizens are more willing to give for the common good and to volunteer, while companies are increasingly showing interest in launching philanthropic initiatives. Also, the number of local humanitarian foundations is increasing. This indicates an existence of a large number of charitable people and the necessity to constantly improve the environment for further development of philanthropy, both through the legislative framework and new tools, enabled by modern technologies, that support the financial sustainability of civil society organizations. The Trag Foundation established the Endowment Fund, the first of its kind in the region, and the funds are used to support active and responsible citizens who are changing their communities and the whole society for the better“.

The two-day conference brought together a large number of relevant actors from the civil, public, corporate sector and the media. On the first day of the conference, participants analyzed the Philanthropic Agenda and the results of previous efforts to establish a more favorable legislative framework for common good, new opportunities to develop philanthropy through digitization, and facing new challenges in humanitarian crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the second day of the conference on Friday, November 5, participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the results of the Save Food, Save Humanity campaign and the initiative to abolish VAT on donations of food prior to its sell-by date. The participants will also discuss how to instigate local philanthropy and Trag Foundation will present the publication „Towards financial sustainability of civil society organizations in Serbia – models of endowment and reserve fund”.

The Conference is organized within the Framework for Giving project, funded by USAID, and implemented by the Coalition for Giving, led by the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation. Other Coalition members are the Trag Foundation, Catalyst Balkans, Smart Kolektiv, the Serbian Philanthropy Forum, the Responsible Business Forum and Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


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