Reverend Father Jacek Stryczek, President of the ‘Spring’ Association is the winner of the Newsweek Polska Competition for the title of the “Civic Leader of the Year 2011”, which awards the activities of individuals and organizations for which they work. The Polish-American Freedom Foundation is the Main Partner, and the Academy for the Philanthropy in Poland is the Strategic Partner of the Competition.
The Civic Leader of the Year 2011 was presented with the statuette during the “Act Locally” Program gala, which was held on October 23rd, in the Freta Gallery in Warsaw. Reverend Father Stryczek was awarded for establishing a unique formula of assistance, which is managed locally through actions such as the “Noble Parcel” and the “Academy of the Future”, but it reaches the whole Poland. The Competition Chapter valued the fact that the activity is of a mass-scale character but the support is always provided to a specific person.
Four distinctions were also awarded by the Competition Chapter. They went to: Marcin Kornak, President of the “Never Again” Association, for promoting anti-racist attitudes and implementation of various programs counteracting xenophobia; Reverend Father Andrzej Tuszyński, President of the ARKA Youth Center Association, for helping children from families of modest means and promoting youth volunteering; Paweł Grabowski, President of the Podlaskie Oncological Hospice Foundation, for helping incurable patients; Maria Talarczyk, President of the Sokółka Local Fund, in recognition of over twenty years of activity in the area of social pathologies prevention and supporting equal educational opportunities.
Civic Leader of the Year 2011 – Reverend Father Jacek Stryczek, initiator, co-founder and President of the “Spring” Association
He created a unique form of assistance, which is managed locally, but reaches the whole Poland. Through the “Noble Parcel” action, before Christmas, he helps people all over the country. Only last year the parcels went to 12,000 families engaging 10,000 volunteers and 150,000 donors. He established the “Academy of the Future” operating in 23 cities, thanks to which support has been provided to tens of thousands of children coming from not well-to-do families, having difficulty in learning. He is open to all, regardless of their views, he unites various environments around common goals. He is also active on the Internet – he runs a blog “Sermons when having a kebab”, in which he answers the questions that bother young people.
Marcin Kornak, Founder and President of Never Again Association
He is the initiator of “Let’s Kick Racism off the Stadiums” campaign which promotes antiracist attitude among football fans. During the Euro Championships he helped to carry out the “Respect Diversity UEFA EURO 2012 “Social Responsibility Program under which thousands of volunteers, stewards and service staff were trained. He created a program against hatred on the Internet which led to closing several hundred racist websites. He is also involved in the ‘Music against racism’ campaign, which has met with the support of lots of Polish musicians. He is the author of “Brownshirt Book” , monitoring racial and xenophobic incidents and the editor-in-chief of the “Never Again” magazine, which is the only Polish magazine devoted entirely to problems of intolerance.
Reverend Father Andrzej Tuszyński, Founder and President of the ARKA Youth Center Association
He contributed to setting up the Youth Volunteers Club in one of the most dangerous quarters of Radom. Currently the Club has 1200 members – young people who are actively involved in helping those in need and offers various extra-curricular activities. He opened a canteen where some 500 children from day centers operating in Radom can have a meal. He managed to convince over 80 partners to cooperate with his organization and involved ARKA in the “Act Locally” Program. He cooperates with volunteers of the “PROJECTOR- student volunteers “ Program.
Paweł Grabowski, Founder and President of the Podlaskie Oncological Hospice Foundation
Medicine was his true vocation. Involvement and determination induced him, then a doctor at a prestigious Warsaw oncological clinic, to give up his position there and move to Podlasie. He runs occupational therapy workshops and the Home Hospice that counteracts exclusion of incurable and disabled patients from the social life. He organizes training courses on methods of assistance and palliative care for doctors and volunteers. He gets engaged in local charity events.
Maria Talarczyk, President of the Sokólka Local Fund
She has been managing the Welfare Fund and the Sokółka Local Fund for twenty years. She is the initiator and manager of numerous programs counteracting social pathologies such as alcoholism, drug addictions and crime as well as scholarship programs and innovative educational projects. She helps homeless people, large families, single mothers and seniors. She runs cultural, sports and touristic projects and is involved in actions aimed at environmental protection and increasing attractiveness of the region. She managed to engage her Sokółka partners in the “Act Locally” Program and “PAFF Local Partnerships “ Program.
The purpose of the competition is to award civic activity in Poland. The competition promotes individuals acting for the common good of local communities in NGOs, informal groups formed around NGOs and self-government bodies.
The Competition Chapter comprised the following members:
• Tomasz Lis, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek Polska;
• Jerzy Koźmiński, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation;
• Paweł Łukasiak, President of the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland President;
• Bożena Walter, President of the TVN Foundation “You Are Not Alone”;
• Przemysław Radwan-Röhrenschef, Director General at the School for Leaders Association;
• Jan Kuroń, chef, grandson of Jacek Kuroń;
• Michał Rusinek, lecturer, translator, writer, former secretary to Wisława Szymborska;
• Renata Kim, Head of the “Society” section, Newsweek Polska;
The winners of the previous three competitions were: Barbara and Krzysztof Margol from Nidzica (2008), Wiesława Kowalska of the Echo of Pyzdry Cultural Society (2009) and Dorota Hedwig, President of the Polish Society Against Cystic Fibrosis (2010).
More information: Emilia Dmochowska, Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland