In the Ambassador of Social Engagement category, in which Omenaa Foundation is the Partner, the award went to sportswoman Katarzyna Zillmann and music star Michał Szpak. They both were nominated by Campaign Against Homophobia (Polish abbreviation: KPH). Michał Szpak has been loudly appealing for natural environment protection, equality of citizens and tolerance for LGBT+ people for years. In 2023, he was engaged in a campaign promoting the Get Stronger grant fund, one of the latest KPH projects. In social media, he deals with such important issues as mental health, available free forms of support for LGBT+ people in difficult situation, or challenges faced by relatives and the closed ones of LGBT+ people. In turn, Katarzyna Zillmann contacted Campaign Against Homophobia in reaction to the outrageous banners that were displayed at Legia Warsaw stadium in 2019. At those days, KPH was promoting #SportPrzeciwHomofobii (#SportsAgainstHomophobia) social campaign with participation of sportspeople opposing homophobia. Since then, Katarzyna Zillmann has regularly cooperated with KPH as its ambassador, taking part in various initiatives of that organization.
In the Stars for Refugees and Ukraine category, in which the Polish-American Freedom Foundation is the partner, the award went to Mateusz Janicki. The actor has been a volunteer of Border Group since 2021, and together with other activists appeals for creation of a humanitarian corridor at the border with Belarus and allowing medics to enter it to help wounded and ill refugees. He uses social media to report in details about the situation on Polish border with Belarus. He acts with Maja Ostaszewska, Piotr Głowacki and Barbara Wysocka in “Responsibility” performance that tells the story of refugee crisis on the border with Belarus. Also, for years the actor has been engaged in such initiatives as Noble Gift, Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Krzysiek Helps to Help, and 1.5% campaign of Kraków Association for the Protection of Animals.
Julia Kamińska, one of the most socially involved stars, received an award for Charity Assistance. For years, the actress has been encouraging her fans and friends to engage in various charity initiatives such as Noble Gift, or the Academy of the Future. As the Ambassador of the Academy, she takes part in promotional campaigns, encourages fans to volunteer for the good of children and sponsors to support financially that very valuable initiative. Privately, she meets the little program participants – children who suffer from very low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence. Julia Kamińska also supports DKMS Foundation, Empowering Children Foundation, Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation, I Have a Dream Foundation, and Rak’n’Roll Foundation (In Polish “rak” means “cancer”).
The Nature and Animals Protection category is supported by Santander Bank Poland Foundation. In that category, the winners are Kasia and Jacek Sienkiewicz. As the Kwiat Jabłoni (Apple Blossom) band they have been promoting activities of Open Cages Association since 2019, but privately they had supported that organization even earlier, since 2015. Among other things, the Artists agreed to be the Ambassadors of #VeganChallenge campaign encouraging to try the vegan diet. In 2021 Kasia and Jacek decided to offer 1% of their total income from sales of their second album titled Mogło być nic (It could be nothing) for activities carried out by the Association. In 2023 Kwiat Jabłoni arrived in a famous spot promoting collection of signatures for Fur Free Europe ECI to ban fur farming all over European Union.
In the Health category, supported by Przedsiębiorstwo Farmaceutyczne LEK-AM, the winner is actor Wojciech Mecwaldowski for whom autistic children are especially important. For many years he has been cooperating with the following organizations acting for the benefit of people with that disability: Stowarzyszeniem Dwie Strony Medalu (Two Sides of a Coin Association) that nominated him to the Plebiscite, JiM Foundation, and Dolnośląskie Association for Autism. The actor gives interviews, makes films, tries to make people more aware how important is the acceptance for autistic people, or so-called “people with spectrum”. Wojciech Mecwaldowski has also cooperated with Wrocław Children Hospice, SOS Children’s Villages Association, and he has also taken part in photo session to charity calendar organized by Magdalena Różczka. The income from sale of the calendar was granted to Intervention Pre-Adoption Center in Otwock.
Each of the winners in above-mentioned categories received a statuette made by Apart and a check of PLN 10,000. Grants will be transferred directly by Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland to NGOs indicated by the winners.
Special Award of Twój Styl monthly
Twój Styl editorial officer, the Main Partner in Plebiscite, awarded its Charity Star to actress Katarzyna Zielińska, who has been the Ambassador of SOS Children’s Villages Association for many years. The actress gets engaged in the Association’s fundraising campaigns (1.5%, Help Us Protect Children, or Roots and Wings), and help actions for the benefit of charges and caretakers. She is especially involved in #JestemzSOS (#I’mfromSOS) project that teaches elementary school students all over Poland how important are empathy, tolerance, and communication in diversity. On her own initiative, the actress gets involved in charges’ life, visits SOS Children’s Villages in various regions of Poland, meets with families, and gives gifts. Last year, after the war broke out in Ukraine, Katarzyna Zielińska was the first to start and promote fundraising actions for abandoned children and foster families from Ukraine. She managed to collect as much as PLN 39 m. That sum allowed to hold a secure relocation, acclimatization to Poland, and secure decent living conditions in new reality. With trust in her fans in social media, the actress regularly gets engaged in the Internet fundraising actions for ill children as well as takes part in many charity events all over the country.
Special Awards of Charity Stars Plebiscite
This year, the Plebiscite Chapter awarded two Special Awards of Charity Stars Plebiscite: for activities in Ukraine and for contributing to development of philanthropy in Poland.
One of the awards went to Zygmunt Solorz for almost three decades of charity activities, including setting up We are for Children Polsat Foundation, care for natural environment and transformation of Ossa Conference and Training Center in Rawa Mazowiecka into one of the biggest help center for refugees from Ukraine.
The other prize was awarded to Omenaa Mensah and Rafał Brzoska. It expresses special appreciation for their contribution to development of modern philanthropy, creation of business and NGOs partnerships, humanitarian help for citizens of Ukraine and many valuable charity and education initiatives such as construction of Kids Haven School helping homeless children in Ghana, or Rafał Brzoska’s scholarship fund for students who don’t live in big cities. Omenaa Mensah and Rafał Brzoska’s most outstanding initiative is TOP CHARITY Great Charity Auction – the biggest charity business event in Poland. When the war in Ukraine broke out, they organized the biggest private transport of humanitarian aid for civil people. Konwój Polskich Serc (Polish Heart Convoy) consisted of 34 freight cars full of food, medicines, and other basic commodities. The couple encouraged many firms, organizations, and institutions to cooperate with them. Joining hands with their partners, they established RIO Edu Centrum – day care help center for mothers and small children from Ukraine. Their next step was to set up RiO Vibe Centrum offering psychological support, sensory integration classes and social abilities training for children and young people, and workshops and individual support from psychologists and coaches for parents. In 2023, Omenaa Mensah and Rafał Brzoska set up a Philanthropic Consortium. They want to combine knowledge, strength and resources of people who will join hands with them to support organizations active in health care and education.
About the Plebiscite
The Charity Stars is the biggest media campaign promoting and awarding social involvement of film, TV, the Internet, social media, sports, music, or theater stars. Nominations to the Plebiscite are submitted annually by NGOs and managers of celebrities. The finalists and winners are selected by the Plebiscite Chapter and partners.
For more information, please visit www.gwiazdydobroczynnosci.pl
Plebiscite initiator: Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland
Main Partner: Twój Styl magazine
Partner in Plebiscite and Stars for Refugees and Ukraine category: Polish-American Freedom Foundation
Partner in Ambassador of Social Engagement category: Omenaa Foundation
Partner in Nature and Animals Protection: I.J. Paderewski Santander Bank Poland Foundation
Partner in Health category: Przedsiębiorstwo Farmaceutyczne LEK-AM
Media patrons: Polsat, TVN, www.twojstyl.pl
Statuettes sponsor: Apart
Supporting partners: Hotel Sofitel Warsaw Victoria, AA, Lavazza, Neboa, Finedeeds
Source: Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Poland
Photo by Krzysztof Kuczyk, Marcin Skiba