“We can say with high confidence that PAFF Local Partnerships have been successful. Their activities brought very positive results. There are many indications that they are of sustainable nature and not only one-time activities,” said Jerzy Koźmiński, the Polish-American Freedom Foundation President and CEO in his opening address. Tomasz Lis, Newsweek Polska editor-in-chief , in his video congratulated the winners and expressed his appreciation for their involvement in civil activities. “That is the time when caring about other people and acting for their benefit is priceless,” Tomasz Lis said.
During the first part of the Gala, the winners of the ninth round of the Newsweek Polska weekly competition for the “Civil Leader of the Year 2017” title were honored. In the national category the award went to Jolanta Golianek, the founder of The Burned Foundation, for providing medical, psychological, rehabilitation and legal assistance to people who suffered severe burns, and for effective popularization of their problems through the “Woman with Scars” exhibition and “A Burned Woman Is Running” civil society campaign. In the local category, the winner is Agnieszka Dejna – for her involvement in occupational activation and rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities, and especially for making their life goals come true thanks to employing them at Browar Spółdzielczy in Puck and making it possible for them to participate in an innovative rehabilitative diving program.
The Competition Committee has also granted two special awards. One of them went to Bydgoszcz councilor Ireneusz Nitkiewicz for involving residents of that city in helping the homeless as part of the “Warmth of the Heart Closed in a Jar” campaign and for active promotion of the food sharing ideas as well as for charity actions for the disabled and their families. The other special award was granted to Rytel village head Łukasz Ossowski for organization of outstandingly active and efficient help for those harmed by the hurricane in August 2017, for coordination of support from all over Poland, and for involving numerous volunteers in recovering the area from the devastation.
The competition for the “Civil Leader of the Year” title is a continuation of the idea promoted by the “SOS SOCIAL ASSISTANCE” Foundation in 1997, launched by Jacek Kuroń, and initiated by Wisława Szymborska. The objective of the competition is to show activity of people, and organizations supporting them, that struggle with various social problems, and popularize examples of civic attitudes and taking the matters into their own hands, not waiting for institutional help. The winners are selected by the Competition Committee composed of: Jerzy Koźmiński, PAFF President and CEO; Paweł Łukasiak, President of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland; Tomasz Lis, Newseek Polska editor-in-chief; Renata Kim, head of the “Society” section, Newsweek Polska; Przemysław Radwan-Röhrenschef, President of the School for Leaders Foundation; Jan Kuroń, Jacek Kuroń’s grandson; Michał Rusinek, President of Wisława Szymborska Foundation, and Janina Ochojska, President of the Polish Humanitarian Action. The Main Partner of the competition is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and the Substantive Partner is the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland.
The Gala made an opportunity to award the most active Local Partnerships of the fifth edition of that PAFF program. That round was summed up by Paweł Łukasiak, the President of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, an organization which is the Program Manager. As he noted, “Each of the partnerships could find their own ways of building common good that were most suitable for their community. While the element common for all PAFF Local Partnerships is the method of local community animation for common good that was developed in the program and is a sustainable effect of that initiative.”
Distinguished as the most effective initiative groups building PAFF Local Partnerships were:
- The initiative group of “Fruit of Our Passion from Warka” project – for building a broad and sustainable partnership of organizations and institutions, and for outstanding involvement of partners in implementation of Apple Warka – Fruit of Our Passion project, and in particular for the successful promoting apple as the local product, and effective engaging local community in various actions, including the creation of the Apple Trail.
- The initiative group of the “Network of Places Friendly to Young People” – for model cooperation with partners from Błażowa, Boguchwała, Chmielnik and Lubenia rural communes in Podkarpackie Province, and in particular for very effective integration of young people and building intergenerational relations by creating space for their activity.
Leaders of the following partnerships were awarded with prizes of PLN 15,000 and PLN 10,000 for the outstanding activity in the “Common Good Lab” initiative for the Program alumni:
- Biłgoraj Region Local Fund Foundation,
- Bieszczady Foundation,
- Civil Initiatives Development Center (CRIS).
Since 2009, a total of 38 coalitions have been established under the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program. They cover 85 communes, with over 600 partners and 6,000 volunteers involved. As part of the program, various activities in the area of social space development, improvement of environment, regional product creation, or preservation of cultural heritage in the region have been carried out. These activities were received by a total of 18,000 residents of local communities.