PRESS RELEASE 2010-09-01

610.000 Euro and over 1.600 km on the bike – all for Social Integration!

These are the ingredients for the third cycle of the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration. 610.000 Euro is the total value of the cash prizes which will be offered to innovative and efficient social integration projects from 12 participant countries. In order to show that everyone can make a change, an ERSTE Foundation team will travel on bike for over 1.600 km, through 6 countries, with stops in 10 cities.  ERSTE Foundation launches, on 1 September 2010, the call for applications for the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration 2011.

610.000 Euro and over 1.600 km on the bike - all for Social Integration! Winners of the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration 2009

For the new edition, the award has expanded to four new countries, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Moldova, besides the eight ones included previously in the call.

The Award for Social Integration is offered every two years, since 2007, and aims at encouraging the development of civil societies from Central and South Eastern European countries. Also, the Award is meant to publicly honour the social integration projects striving to make a change for the better in this region.

The call for applications is open until 30 November 2010 to non-profit organisations, as well as public administrations, civil-society, private initiatives, religious communities, and media representatives based in one of the following countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

What would you change?

ERSTE Foundation team will show how regular people can achieve their individual goals – with the right mindset. Two members of the ERSTE Foundation Award team will start a biking tour, travelling through 6 participant countries, in order to talk to local NGOs and media representatives about the Award and encourage them to apply. They will leave Vienna on 8 October and travel for the whole two weeks through Central and South-East Europe, making stops in 10 cities on their way: Bratislava, Pecs, Osijek, Vukovar, Brcko, Belgrade, Pancevo, Timisoara, Szeged and Budapest.

“Everyone can make a change, and even a single person’s action can start to move a mountain – either a small or a bigger one. This has been proven already by the winners of the first two cycles of the Award for Social Integration, The success key lies in real commitment, so the question we would like to raise is “What would you change”? said Boris Marte, ERSTE Foundation Board Member. ”ERSTE Foundation aims at shaping societies that enable equal participation of all people, and in which people are ready to take on responsibility and use it for the common good. Each of us should have a contribution to this and it is precisely this attitude that the 2011 Award for Social Integration seeks to reinforce and promote”, he added.

 As the Award addresses this year to an increased number of participants, the number of prizes also grew. In this cycle, 30 organisations will join the ever growing group of best practice projects and will be invited on stage within the Award Ceremony, which will take place in Budapest, Hungary, in June 2011. The winning projects will be ranked and verified by the jury comprised of 20 prominent individuals, leading experts in the social integration areas, civic society, politics, media.

 “The Award is developing from one edition to another, from four countries in the first year, to twelve in 2010/2011. It’s the participants’ enthusiasm and outstanding commitment that encouraged us to expand, so that we can reach more organisations, and award more projects that advocate for social integration. We try to make a change in empowering the civil societies in these countries. We want to open dialogues and to create opportunities for the NGOs to fulfil their goals, for developing better, more inclusive societies”, said Dejan Petrovic Project Manager of the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration.

 Providing financial support to the winners for their continuous social development commitment is only one of the benefits of this award. In addition, all 100 shortlisted projects will receive regional recognition for their efforts thanks to media relations support provided by professional PR consultants, financed by ERSTE Foundation for a period of two years. Also, all shortlisted projects will become part of a best practice network and have their details posted on the ERSTE Foundation’s Social Integration Network website:

 For more details about the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration and application process, please follow this link:



ERSTE Foundation, Communications:
Maribel Königer – Tel. +43 50100 15453, E-mail:
Jovana Trifunovic – Tel. +43 50100 15844, E-mail:
Andreea Gurau – Tel. +43 50100 619614, E-mail: 

ERSTE Foundation

ERSTE Foundation is active in the Central and South Eastern European region. Together with its partners, it creates a hive of activity for common good. ERSTE Foundation is the legal successor of the 190-year-old “Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse”, the first Austrian savings bank. Its two commitments are based on these historical roots: as the major shareholder, ERSTE Foundation safeguards the future of Erste Group as an independent company, and invests its dividend to support the common good.