Representatives of several dozen organizations participating in the Polish-American Freedom Foundation's “Act Locally” Program managed by the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland met at the Freta Gallery in Warsaw on October 23rd, 2012. They summed up their last year local activities. In the second part of the event, the “Civic Leader of the Year” award was presented.
The “Act Locally” is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s program managed by the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland since 2000. Its objective is to assist and encourage local communities by lending support to civil initiatives that help solve local problems and stimulate new aspirations among communities in small towns and villages as well as to develop their social capital. During the gala, the 2011 grant competition, which is a part of the present 7th edition of the Program, was summed up.
At present, the “Act Locally” Program is the only nationwide undertaking under which grants are awarded at the local level. Through the network of Act Locally Centers (the Program partners) which now covers 540 communes, the inhabitants’ initiatives stimulating local activity are co-financed. Only in 2011, thanks to 661 grants awarded by the Act Locally Centers, various initiatives benefitting small communities, with participation of almost 14,000 volunteers, were implemented. Almost PLN 2,4 million was allocated for the implementation of the Program. The total value of implemented projects amounted to over PLN 5 million, due to additional contribution of local organizations and informal groups. From the Program’s inception, more than 5,300 projects were co-financed, for the total amount of PLN 23 million.
Thanks to the grants obtained through the Program in 2011, the members of small communities could organize various activities such as bike tours, craftwork classes for the disabled, family field games or set up the multigenerational brass band that plays concerts for hospital patients. Colorful graffiti decorated the gray walls of the Sports and Recreation Center and numerous musical and artistic workshops were held. The projects also included the Volunteer Fire Brigade units training courses in first aid, which were organized for children, youth and adults.
During the gala meeting, the winners of the ‘Tell about…’ competition addressed to those implementing the co-financed projects were presented with the awards. The purpose of the competition is to encourage the participants in the projects to look for attractive ways of communicating and promoting their activities. The Competition Commission awarded one main prize and distinctions in each competition category – the Man, the Motive and the Place.
In the “Man” category the main prize went to the ‘Nature’ Agro-tourism Association of the Cieszyn Region from Koniaków for the “Countrywoman and the sticks’ movie; the distinctions were awarded to: ‘Let’s Do Something Together’ Informal Group from Książenice for the ‘The Man from the forest’ multimedia documentary, and the Association of the Krobia Region from Krobia for the ‘Dog’s life not necessarily must be tough’ multimedia documentary.
In the “Place” category the main prize was presented to the Volunteer Fire Brigade from Łodygowice for ‘Don’t be indifferent – Save human life’ multimedia documentary. The distinctions were awarded to: Noodles Stage Association from Biłgoraj for ‘Biłgoraj graffiti – Let’s paint it together’ movie and the Volunteer Fire Brigade from Skuły for ‘Save from oblivion – Let’s remember about those killed in action’ movie.
In the “Motive” category the main prize went to StronieArt from Stronia Śląskie for ‘The small commune with a big talent’ movie, while the distinctions were awarded to: the ‘Activists’ Informal Group under the patronage of the District Center of Culture in Chybie for the ‘Autumn fashion factory’ movie; the Civic Information Office for ‘Let’s help citizens by citizens’ movie and ‘Let’s Do Something Together’ Informal Group for the ‘Książenice. Neighbors for neighbors’ multimedia documentary.
During the second part of the meeting, the results of the Newsweek Polska Competition for the title of the Civic Leader of the Year 2011 were announced. 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 Polish-American Freedom Foundation is the Main Partner and the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland is the Strategic Partner of the competition. The Civic Leader of the Year 2011 title went to Reverend Father Jacek Stryczek who, together with his “Spring” Association, carries two actions: ‘Noble Parcel’ and the ‘Academy of the Future’.
The Gala was conducted by Anna Popek.