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Media Release

ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration 2009: Society to Benefit from Social Commitment – € 295,000 cash award for projects in eight South Eastern European countries

12. January 2012

The award is open to organisations of the public sector, civil society, private as well as religious initiatives, and the media. Everybody who supports social integration – understood as all activities aimed at creating a stable and just society that includes disadvantaged groups and persons with special needs – is entitled to apply for the award, which offers a total cash prize of EUR 295,000. While demonstrating social commitment is actually quite simple, it isn’t a given: it’s about helping others who cannot help themselves. Social and ethnic minorities, disabled and traumatised people, children and adults on the fringes of society – they all benefit from this dedication.

Who can apply? Non-profit organisations as well as public administrations, civil-society and private initiatives, religious communities, and media based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia can apply for the award. 
The call for applications is launched 1 September 2008.
Deadline for submitting applications is 14 November 2008.

To apply online please follow this link: The application form can also be downloaded, filled in and uploaded again or sent to us directly by e-mail. E-mail: Applications from Romania should be sent to E-mail: 

Platform for increased visibility  Providing financial support to the winners for their continuous commitment – a total of ten projects will be awarded and another ten will receive honourable mention awards – is only one of the benefits of this award. 60 finalists will be invited to attend the award ceremony held in Bucharest in June 2009. They will thus be given a public platform that ensures increased (media) attention and public awareness of their activities. The award will also provide the finalists with opportunities to network and establish contacts with potential partners and sponsors. “In particular in the Central and Eastern European societies that not long ago experienced major political changes, social and economic crises and violent conflicts, there is often a lack of respect and appreciation for social commitment. Therefore, we would like to contribute to bringing more attention and recognition to people who stand up for others and thus serve society as a whole,” says Boris Marte, Board Member of ERSTE Foundation. 

Selection process and follow-up  Similar to last year’s process, the projects will be evaluated based on their effectiveness and specific benefit for society. They stand for innovation and sustainability and thus make the often quoted important difference in the future lives of the people concerned. During the selection process, a screening committee draws up a shortlist of 100 candidates. The international jury of 16 experts will then evaluate this shortlist and choose 60 finalists. In a second step the jury will select the ten winning projects and ten honourable mention awards. All 60 finalists will be invited to Bucharest and will also be part of a video presentation shown during the award ceremony. ERSTE Foundation will also provide them with the opportunity to attend the conference “25 Years of Struggle for Social Participation – What are the Perspectives for Marginalized Groups?”, which is held in Bucharest prior to the ceremony. The conference takes stock of the 20 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain and analyses the problems and perspectives of social integration in Central and Eastern Europe. The award is growing – and part of a mission Since its inception in early 2008, the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration has considerably grown in scope and size: while in 2008 a total of EUR 60,000 was awarded to the Balkan region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia), the prize money distributed to the winners of the 2009 award ceremony was almost quintupled and the network of participating countries was further expanded to include Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Romania. “Our objective is clear: to support as many innovative and meaningful projects as possible,” says ERSTE Foundation Board Member Boris Marte. “Such an objective certainly calls for the continuous expansion of our activities – and this important step is just one of many more we intend to take,” he adds. The ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration is part of ERSTE Foundation’s Social Affairs programme. The programme aims at shaping a society in Europe that enables equal participation of all people and in which these people are ready to take on responsibility and use it for the common good. “Europe” can only be successful if each one of us puts their intellectual, cultural, economic and social capital to use for social integration. It is precisely this attitude that the 2009 Award for Social Integration seeks to reinforce and promote. 

Media: ERSTE Foundation, Communications: Maribel Königer (You can communicate with me in German, English and French.) Tel. +43 50100 15453, E-mail: Jovana Trifunovic (You can communicate with me in Bosnian, German, English, Italian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian.) Tel. +43 50100 15844, E-mail:   ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration 2009, Office in Bucharest Oana Raluca Soare (You can communicate with me in English, German and Romanian) Tel. +40(0)725 261015, E-mail: 
Applicants: ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration 2009: Dejan Petrovic (You can communicate with me in Bosnian, English, Croatian, Montenegrin, Slovenian and Serbian.) Tel. +4350100 15421, E-mail:   ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration, Office in Bucharest  Hajnalka Bessenyei (You can communicate with me in English, Romanian and Hungarian) Tel. +40(0)725 261015, E-mail: