ERSTE Foundation: 1 million euro special budget to help the people of Ukraine

Monday, 7 March, 2022

Funds to be allocated through existing networks in civil society and international cooperation with foundations

ERSTE Foundation condemns the war of aggression against Ukraine and its people. It will provide a special budget of one million euros for acute and medium-term aid to address the effects of the war on the people of Ukraine. The foundation can draw on its long-established networks in civil society in Central and Eastern Europe.

In a first tranche, 500,000 euros will be used for the following measures:

  • In close coordination with the teams of Erste Group’s Social Banking departments in Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, NGOs in the border region will be supported in helping people who have fled to these countries.
  • In Ukraine itself, measures are being taken in cooperation with Ukrainian and European partner foundations to provide logistical assistance to civil society organisations, including cultural initiatives and independent media, and to ensure their safety and evacuations where necessary.
  • Finally, together with our partners in education and science as well as cultural initiatives associated with ERSTE Foundation, we aim to reach out with aid programmes to the people who have arrived in Austria.

A decision on how best to apply the second part of the special budget will be made at a later date, after the situation has been assessed.

The CEO of ERSTE Foundation, Boris Marte, expressed his dismay about the situation: “We collaborate in multiple ways both with civil society in Ukraine and critical voices of civil society in Russia and Belarus. Their current situation is dire. We stand with the people of Ukraine and the courageous dissenting voices in Russia and Belarus.”

ERSTE Foundation has long facilitated debate and the free exchange of ideas concerning the future of Europe. It supports independent journalism and critical contemporary culture in Eastern Europe. With the foundation’s help, social organisations from Ukraine are able to expand their knowledge in Vienna and work to improve living conditions in their country.

Boris Marte: “This war also challenges Europe and its values. A strong civil society is more important now than ever before.”

For further inquiries, please contact:

ERSTE Foundation, Communications: Maribel Königer
Tel. +43 664 8385341, Email:

Download media information on all Erste family humanitarian aid measures (pdf):


Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.