The ceremony was opened by Jerzy Koźmiński, PAFF President and CEO who for a bigger part of his address spoke about “Act Locally“, the program that for over 20 years has been stimulating village and small town residents to social activity. He pointed to the special role of activities aimed at development of local communities among other areas which the Foundation is engaged in. Jerzy Koźmiński expressed his appreciation for all local and civic leaders who in that difficult 2020 took up activities aimed at counteracting negative effects of pandemic. In the “Act Locally” Program alone almost 900 local projects worth a total of PLN 3,5 million were implemented in 2020.
During the first part of the Gala the winners of the competition for the title of Civic Leader of the Year were announced. The competition refers to Wisława Szymborska’s initiative of 1996, later taken up by Jacek Kuroń and “SOS Social Assistance” Foundation. The objective is to award civic involvement and promote activities of individual people who are solving various social problems with the support of NGOs, informal groups and local government institutions. Polish-American Freedom Foundation is the main partner, and the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland the substantive partner of the competition.
The Newsweek Polska Editor-in-Chief Tomasz Lis noted that we should respect this year’s winners of the competition especially high, as they managed to do exceptional things in those most difficult times and thus passed the solidarity, empathy and love for other people exam.
The Civic Leader of the Year 2020 in “local” category went to Oliwia Łysiak of The Institute of Potential Association. She was awarded for holding charity actions for children and seniors who found themselves in a difficult situation, as well as for stimulating young people of Olszytn to take up pro-ecological actions, defend human rights and cultivate historical memory.
The winner of national category was Sebastian Górniak, President of Balian Sport Foundation – for stimulating the disabled to activity and supporting their attempts to overcome their limitations through participating in sports activities in such disciplines as boxing, rugby or diving, as well as securing them access to specialist healthcare services.
The Competition Committee distinguished also people who had been active in assisting those in need due to Covid -19 pandemic. The Civic Leader of the Year 2020 title in that category went to Aleksandra Czarna-El Baz, the founder of A Senior in Crown Foundation. Thanks to her, those seniors who needed it most got food, medical and psychological support. She managed to activate several thousands of volunteers and persuade numerous sponsors to join her campaign.
Apart from main awards, the Competition Committee decided on three special awards. Two of them were received by Joanna Czerska-Thomas and Kosma Kołodziej – the coordinators of Support for Hospital program implemented in Bydgoszcz. The winners organized and ran an exemplary system of support allowing to secure means of personal protection and meals for staff of 19 hospitals and many nursing homes in Kujawsko-Pomorskie province.
The third special award went to Aleksandra Smolińska, President of Stowarzyszenie Serduszko dla Dzieci (A Small Heart for Children Association). The Competition Committee pointed in its decision on that award that the winner has consistently been supporting development of children and young people of Warsaw district of Praga, and activating residents of that district to act, among other things through running Praska Światoteka and non-public Radiopraga.pl, as well as engaging local community in revitalization of backyards of the tenement houses and creating city bee yards.
The Competition of the Civic Leader Committee is composed of: Renata Kim, head of the Society section, Newsweek Polska; Jerzy Koźmiński, Polish-American Freedom Foundation President and CEO; Jan Kuroń, Jacek Kuroń’s grandson and a famous cooking expert; Tomasz Lis, Newseek Polska editor-in-chief; Paweł Łukasiak, President of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland; Janina Ochojska, President of the Polish Humanitarian Action; Przemysław Radwan-Röhrenschef, Vice President of the School for Leaders Foundation; and Michał Rusinek, President of Wisława Szymborska Foundation.
In the second part of the Gala, the 11th round of the “Act Locally” Program finals were held. President of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland Paweł Łukasiak noted in his address that special role in program implementation is played by communication. “The videos made by grant recipients are the excellent communication tool and show that such values of the program as social involvement, willingness to face challenges or resource sharing lead to great results even at the time of pandemic,” he said. The President pointed also to effectiveness of Act Locally Centers’ response to problems caused by the pandemic. The most effective ALCs and their good practices were awarded.
In the Tell me… competition the awards were given for 2019 and 2020. The competition is addressed to the Act Locally Centers’ beneficiaries and its objective is to encourage them to look for interesting ways of describing their activities and promoting projects supported under Act Locally program, which leads to stimulating local communities and building the common good.
For 2019 the prizes of PLN 2,500 were awarded to the following organizations:
In the category of:
- A PERSON – the main prize for Our Dialect In Generations Dialogue video was received by The Pensioners and Annuitants Club of Szudziałowo informal group, submitted to the competition by Sokółka Local Fund Foundation.
- A PLACE – the main prize for: That What Counts Is… video went to Teen Challenge Christiam Social Mission, Winiarczykówka Branch, submitted to the competition by Orawa Development Association.
- A THEME – the main prize for: Living Out Of A Suitcase video was received by Local Photographers Informal Group at Communal Culture Center at Gilowice, submitted to the competition by Żywiec Region Development Foundation.
- THE VIDEO PRODUCT OF THE PROJECT – the main prize for Tell Us… About Czernichów From The Bird’s Eye View project video went to Sound and Image Club informal group submitted to the competition by Żywiec Region Development Foundation.
For videos produced in 2020 the prizes of PLN 2,500 were awarded to the following organizations:
In the category of:
- A PERSON – the main prize for: Flower Hamlet – A Place For Bees video was received by St. Filip Neri Paradiso Foundation submitted to the competition by Żywiec Region Development Foundation.
- A PLACE – the main prize for pt. Tell Us… How We Were Creating Tu Pobiedziska.TV! video was received by tu Pobiedziska.TV Club informal group, submitted to the competition by Piast Trail Act Locally Group.
- A THEME – the main prize for pt.: We Will Defeat The Virus With Sports video went to Informal Group Of Parents Taking Up Actions To Counteract Negative Effects Of Pandemic, submitted to the competition by ARTS Art, Adventure and Pleasure Foundation.
- THE VIDEO PRODUCT OF THE PROJECT – the special prize of PLN 3,000 for: The Second Dimension video was awarded to Sportownia Association, the video was made by Izabela Janczak-Bizoń, Kamil Sorocki, and Jakub Kudłacz, and submitted to the competition by ARTS Art, Adventure and Pleasure Foundation.
The Competition Committee also distinguished the following works documenting projects aimed at counteracting negative effects of pandemic:
- In SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT THAT COUNTERACTS COVID-19 NEGATIVE EFFECTS category the main prize of PLN 2,500 for: A Tailor Made Village video was awarded to Friends of Kończyce Małe Association nominated by Cieszyn Creative Young People Association.
- In SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT THAT COUNTERACTS COVID-19 NEGATIVE EFFECTS category a distinction of PLN 1,500 for: Healthy Body Makes Mind Healthy! Act Locally 2020 video was awarded to We care for our place Act Locally Initiaitve nominated by Partnership for Barycza Valley Association.
An important element of the Gala was also the announcement of the Competition for Act Locally Centers’ best practices winners, that is whose activities can serve as an example for the others, are innovative and improve the program quality.
A total of PLN 30,000 was divided between the following Act Locally Centers and awarded in the following individual categories:
In COMMUNICATION ON ACT LOCALLY PROGRAM category the prizes went to:
- Stobrawa Valley Act Locally Group Association for a good practice named: Communication synergy; and
- Activation and Development Foundation for a good practice named: An adventure with radio, we announce ourselves on Facebook;
In LOCAL SCHOOLS OF ANIMATORS category the prizes went to:
- Żywiec Region Development Foundation for a good practice named: School of Local Animation – Spring transfer.
In FUNDRAISING category the prizes went to:
- Kaczawa Association for a good practice named: Fundraising campaign: Acting does not fade away,
- Biłgoraj Region Local Fund Foundation for a good practice named: Donors’ evening online,
- Young People Together – Płock Region Local Fund Foundation for a good practice named: Act Locally in Płock County,
In COUNTERACTING NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF PANDEMIC category the prizes went to:
- W.A.R.K.A. – Vision, Activity, Entertainment, Culture, Alternative Association for a good practice named: Cooperation in the times of pandemic,
- Science for Environment Foundation of Koszalin, for a good practice named: ALC helps act Coalition for Young People Foundation for a good practice named: Baskets full of vitamins for Seniors,
A SPECIAL PRIZE for outstanding effects of inspiring the “Act Locally” grant holders to implement The Tales Of The Plague Times Or How To Tame Fear, and To Win with the Pandemic We Are Writing Fairy Tales for Children projects went to Frontier Social and Cultural Association.
The host of the Gala was Grzegorz Nawrocki, and the crown of it was an atmospheric concert by Monika Borzym.