Great Contribution of the Serbian Philanthropy Forum and the B92 Fund in Fighting the Coronavirus
03. Jun 2020.
By involving and activating the members, as well as the entire philanthropic community, and in cooperation with the B92 Fund, close to RSD 190 million in money, and more than RSD 10 million in goods, was raised for support to the Serbian healthcare system since March 2020.

The Serbian Philanthropy Forum has been recognized since the beginning of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as a relevant mediator between the needs of the healthcare institutions and donors. By behaving towards donors with care, regularly reporting, and spending money transparently, the Forum and the B92 Fund have set standards in the use of donor funds and permanently strengthened the relationship of trust with the members and other participants in the philanthropic community.

During the crisis caused by coronavirus, the Serbian Philanthropy Forum members provided great support to the healthcare institutions, and reacted to the urgent needs identified through daily communication with healthcare workers. Members sought distributors, warehouses with goods, and suppliers who were able to deliver goods urgently. In that way, in cooperation with Nordeus and UNICEF, a permanent table with needs and timelines of delivery was created and updated every day. Data were checked with the Ministry of Health daily to avoid overlapping of donations and other activities. This enabled donors to get the most important information and make decisions on donations while firmly believing that the donation will bring the needed effects. This method of transparent work not only helped in raising funds, but often encouraged donors to give even more from their existing budgets.

Members of the Serbian Philanthropy Forum sent a part of donations directly to the account of the National Health Insurance Fund responding to the invitation of the Serbian government. At the same time, the members were active within the Serbian Philanthropy Forum, or directly.

The Hemofarm Foundation donated RSD 5,000,000, Hemofarm Stada, with a donation in the amount of EUR 387,000, Delhaize provided RSD 6,000,000, UniCredit Bank – EUR 50,000, Elixir Group – RSD 30,000,000, Nordeus – EUR 60,000 and RSD 3,391,200.00 and especially through their own initiative with the members of the Digital Serbia, Telekom Serbia – RSD 20,000,000, European Consulting Group – RSD 67,230, while MK Group provided the use of a hotel in Novi Sad to the state, donated RSD 34,000,000 and food in the value of RSD 4,000,000.

Ana i Vlade Divac Foundation provided USD 550,000 for humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable citizens and support to healthcare institutions, organizations of civil society, the media and informal groups of citizens, while RSD 3.7 million was raised via platform run by Catalyst Balkans for supporting the most vulnerable citizens.

Marbo product, member of Pepsico Group, donated approximately RSD 11 million, Komercijalna banka around RSD 2,500,000, but also gave a direct donation to the healthcare system, and donors who wanted to stay anonymous – RSD 7,360,000.

Extremely important support was given by the agency Chapter 4, which was also a mediator between the Serbian Philanthropy Forum and socially responsible companies, clients of this agency. Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, European Consulting Group, Vetroelektrane Balkana (WEBG), Japan Tobacco International, as well as Telenor and Mobi bank, are important donors of this project.

Donations in kind were also very important, primarily hygiene products by Unilever Belgrade, regular meals for healthcare workers, as well as patients, provided by McDonalds, food and beverages by MOL, Coca Cola, Marbo product, MDS, Mars chocolate bars, all amounting to more than EUR 10 million.

The B92 Fund provided the entire infrastructure for fundraising and implementation of donations in a way that enabled maximum transparency.

In addition to fundraising activities to support the Serbian healthcare system during the coronavirus crisis, the Serbian Philanthropy Forum, together with partners from the Coalition for Giving, continued its activities on the USAID-funded Project for improvement of the Framework for Giving and preparations for the National Giving Day. During the state of emergency, members of the Philanthropy Council from the Coalition for Giving proposed a set of measures to the Philanthropy Council and the Government to help secure higher donations to the most vulnerable citizens, including promotion of the Instruction for tax relief, cancelling of bank fees on donations and VAT exemption of food donations. Also, the Coalition sent a proposal for the state to include associations that organize economic activity according to the principle of social entrepreneurship in the program of economic measures.

The Serbian Philanthropy Forum, together with partners from the Coalition for Giving, worked on representing vulnerable groups (primarily persons with disabilities) and strengthening the position of an important communication channel between civil society and the Serbian Government, in order to improve conditions for development of philanthropy in our society.

The Serbian Philanthropy Forum will continue to work intensively on gathering relevant participants from all sectors in order to formulate proposals for the adoption of necessary legal changes, as important factors for creating a more favourable environment for the development of charity in Serbia. The experience we have, but also the estimates that we will soon face the challenges of increased poverty, force us to focus primarily on this area. That is why it is important that we make progress as soon as possible in the initiatives supported by the Serbian government's Philanthropy Council, primarily when it comes to allowances for food donations.

The time we lived in was marked by needs and actions: solidarity, humanity, social responsibility, generosity, decency, altruism, on a case-by-case basis, as the circumstances demanded.

In our immediate future, it will be very important for these values to grow and become our culture, system and part of our nature.