PRESS RELEASE 2007-08-01

Working for a Better Society Deserves Respect and Recognition

 The “ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration” offers EUR 60,000 per year and broad public appreciation of initiatives that tackle social problems of countries in transition in the Balkan region with new ideas.

Working for a Better Society Deserves Respect and Recognition

 Working for a Better Society Deserves Respect and Recognition The “ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration” offers EUR 60,000 per year and broad public appreciation of initiatives that tackle social problems in the Balkan region. The open call starts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia on 1 August 2007. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 October 2007. For the first time, ERSTE Foundation confers the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration this year.

This challenging award not only comes with a total prize money of EUR 60,000, but also awards the winning projects with a whole package of other benefits. In addition to the financial grant, the award will provide publicity and access to a network of future sponsors and supporters. The ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration intends to foster the creation and operation of socially-oriented projects as well as to enhance their value in society. It conveys the message to the wider public that social engagement and social work practice is recognised and honoured. With the creation of its award for social integration, ERSTE Foundation wants to show respect to the people, whose experiences, knowledge and initiatives are so important for the development of civil societies.

The award is meant to promote their efforts in creating societies with equal opportunities for everyone. It encourages projects for stable, safe and just societies that are inclusive of disadvantaged, vulnerable groups and people with special needs. Therefore, the award will support the winners not only financially but also through public relations and the establishment of networks. A professional film will be produced to promote the winner of the first-prize. All other winners will be included together in a special promotional film. These films will be made available to local and international media channels. Additionally, they will have complete access to ERSTE Foundation’s network of possible sponsors and supporters.

The short-listed nominees will receive regional recognition for their efforts through media coverage, which will also increase the potential for support at regional and EU level. The prize money will benefit a total of ten organisation and their projects each year. The first-prize winner will receive EUR 20,000, the winner of the second prize EUR 15,000 and the thirdprize winner EUR 10,000. Honourable mention awards (EUR 2,000 each) will go to seven other organisations. “It is important to promote small and medium-sized organisations which have created an innovative project for social integration. We want to raise greater awareness of critical social issues that will motivate involvement of a broader social spectrum,” states Boris Marte, managing director of ERSTE Foundation. The award is to encourage collaboration across geographical and cultural borders by building up a network of social innovators and innovative projects in the Central and South Eastern European region, he says. “We want to motivate people to find new ways to solve social problems. Their best-practice models can be inspiring for others.” The call is open to non-profit organisations as well as to the public sector, civil society, private initiatives, and religious communities and to the media. From 1 August to 30 October, all organisations and projects that are based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vienna, 31 July 2007 Page 2 of 2 Croatia, Serbia or Slovenia may submit their applications. In the following years, other countries will be added to those of the first call. The award will be given annually. A jury consisting of international and regional experts will choose ten winning projects from a short list of nominees. Winning projects will be announced during the awarding ceremony in early 2008.

The application form can be filled in online on this or downloaded and then uploaded.

Those without access to a computer may send application forms by surface mail to the following address:

ERSTE Stiftung (ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration) Graben 21 A-1010 Vienna Austria For further information on conditions, criteria, schedules, please visit CONTACTS Media: ERSTE Foundation, Communications: Maribel Königer (You can communicate in English, French and German) Tel. +43 50100 15453, E-mail: Applicants: ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration: Dejan Petrovic (You communicate in Bosnian, Croatian, English, Slovenian and Serbian) Tel. +43 50100 15421, E-mail: