Belgrade, December 3, 2011 – This year's recipients of the 2011 VIRTUS Corporate Philanthropy Awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Republic of Serbia National Assembly building. The prizes, traditionally awarded annually, this year for the fifth time, are given in several different categories and recognize companies and enterprises contributing in the most effective way to the common good by providing financial or other support to civil society and non-profit organizations.
The VIRTUS competition is organized by the Balkan Community Initiatives Fund (BCIF) with financial support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). Significant support in the implementation of the award is provided by the VIA Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and numerous other partners, including AmCham Serbia.
Winners of the VIRTUS Corporate Philanthropy Award for the year 2011 are:
Erste Bank ad Novi Sad, awarded for its contribution at the national level
Holcim (Srbija) d.o.o., awarded for its activities in the local community
Sunce Marinković, awarded for small and medium enterprise
Telenor d.o.o., awarded for long-term partnership between the business and nonprofit sectors
B92, awarded for the most innovative CSR project
Erste Bank ad Novi Sad, awarded for corporate volunteering programs
Despite difficult economic conditions and limited budgets, interest in the VIRTUS award has not declined, thus reinforcing evidence of high awareness of the importance of corporate responsibility. With their positive examples, the companies showed that corporate social responsibility and long-term investment in the development of local communities and society as a whole are the key to leading society towards sustainable development.
Mia Vukojević, Executive Director of the Balkan Fund for Local Initiatives emphasized: "The interest shown by new companies, as well as those who applied for the award in previous years, demonstrates an ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility. In addition, strengthening inter-sector partnerships and voluntary activities show the importance of corporate philanthropy for the development of society, which truly motivates us to further develop the idea of social responsibility ".
The award ceremony was attended by numerous guests, including HE Mary Warlick, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, HE Michael Davenport, the British Ambassador to Serbia, Rasim Ljajić, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and Ivana Ćirković, Director of the Government Office for Cooperation with civil society.