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Giving Back to the Community, Ljubljana, September 28, 2015

Ljubljana, September 28, 2015. Giving back to the Community -Corporate Volunteering Week, organized by AmCham Slovenia and the Slovene Philanthropy, is taking place across Slovenia between September 28 and October 2, 2015. This year’s slogan is “Each volunteer is a superhero”. The program has been carried out for three consecutive years; The previous two corporate volunteering weeks brought together 74 companies that were active in 97 different locations across Slovenia. As many as 1200 volunteers participated and volunteered for 8200 hours.

During the opening day of the program, the honorary patron of the Corporate Volunteering Week, H.E. Borut Pahor, the President of the Republic of Slovenia and the U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Brent R. Hartley, together with the program supporters (Triglav Insurance company, SAP, AbbVie Biopharmaceuticals, Petrol, TSmedia, Europlakat and Helios) volunteered at the national volunteer center, which will connect different volunteer organizations, promote volunteering, serve as a training center for migrants and as a counseling and assistance center for people without health insurance. Ambassadors from ten different missions in Slovenia joined the team as well. Among others were ambassadors of Japan, Austria, Spain and Serbia. Together they removed the flooring, built walls, removed old windows, tidied the surroundings and thus contributed to bringing the National volunteer center to life as soon as possible.

President Pahor, who together with builder Silvo patched a hole in the garage, emphasized how much he enjoys participating in the Giving Back to the Community program and how satisfied he is with the growing participation of the Slovenian diplomatic corps. This is an opportunity for them to show their attitude toward our country, to get connected in a different context and to do something good together, on a symbolic level.

“Corporate volunteering is a very important part of every society in which citizens want to help friends, relatives, neighbors or complete strangers, as we have recently seen when Slovenians helped the refugees. Volunteering is also a very important part of life of Americans, as 20 percent of the population is in fact volunteers. At the same time, Americans donate a lot, both within the U.S. and internationally. We are therefore very pleased for the Embassy to be able to support the Slovenian Philanthropy and AmCham Slovenia with our work,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Brent R. Hartley, who, together with embassy officials, actively assisted in volunteer tasks in and around the house within the Diplomatic Day of Service.

Milan Dragič, director of SAP, an ardent supporter of the project, who worked very hard himself, said: “We are proud and joyful to once again be invited to participate in the Giving back to the Community initiative. Volunteering is one of the main components of the society and demonstrates mutual care. Every action that can contribute to alleviating people’s suffering is of course praiseworthy, therefore we are pleased to have participated in the past, to be here today and to join you again in the future. “

Ajša Vodnik, executive director of AmCham Slovenia, which is also the initiator of the project, highlighted: “For the third year in a row, we are giving back to the community in cooperation with the Slovene Philanthropy and we are pleased to have been receiving an ever larger response both from businesses and the diplomatic corps. This indicates that only together can we achieve changes in society.”

Tereza Novak, executive director of the Slovene Philanthropy: “There is still not enough cooperation in Slovenia, in particular between different sectors. Therefore corporate volunteering is a great way to learn and integrate the entrepreneurial spirit with voluntary organizations. As such it proves that despite different priorities, we are able to work together for a greater good. Today’s work on the house, which will become the home of the Slovene Philanthropy, proved this once again through excellent energy of the participants. It also opened the doors to all partners, who wish to become a part of this story. “

Matjaž Polak, director of Helios, who donated the paint and other products for several campaigns across Slovenia, pointed out: “In Helios, we are monitoring the refugee crisis and want to be included in solving the problem. As we know that the Slovene Philanthropy has been active in this field, and because we work with the American Chamber of Commerce, the decision to donate our products for the purpose of renovating the house and other premises, was not a difficult one.”

The company EMMA carried out Giving Back to the Community activities in Radovljica, where they organized a party with Rok Trkaj (TN: A popular Slovene rapper): “We have been involved in the Giving Back to the Community project for the fourth time. We organized a gathering for CUDV (Center for training, work and protection) Radovljica users. More than 65 users participated together with their mentors and all our employees. Respecting diversity and confronting the “new” was what brought us together into a long-term partnership in the first place”, emphasized Tatjana Potokar, director.

The AmCham Young Leaders Club joined this year’s campaign as well. They organized a blood donation campaign on September 29 and a campaign for collecting cat food and donations for the škofja Loka cat shelter.

This year, we are also beginning to implement the Tree of Growth program, within the Giving Back to the Community initiative. At the proposal of Petrol and Danfoss Trata, the Tree of Growth will circulate among AmCham Slovenia members. Companies that wish to join the project will host a tree within its premises for three months and thus contribute to strengthening the message of sustainable practices and awareness of the importance of humanitarian operations, recycling and nature conservation. By entering Petrol premises on October 1st, the “relay tree” will become a nationwide project. By disposing of bottle caps within the tree, we will not only show our social responsibility and humanitarianism, but will also be giving back to the nature and promote a clean environment.

You can find photo gallery HERE.