Taking a Look at the ‘Big Four’ Humanitarian Organizations in Serbia

Belgrade, Serbia – With the recent launch of the Serbian Philanthropic Forum at the imitative of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, the humanitarian sector in Serbia has received much media attention as of late. The numbers are murky, but according to analysts over $100 million has been donated since 2015 to organizations working in the region.

Here’s a look at the ‘Top Four,’ based on audited reports.

In terms of funds raised and star power, the Novak Djokovic Foundation is the clear winner. According to their website, they made $12.6 million from 2012 to 2015 alone. Founded in 2007, the global organization champions and invests in early childhood education. This is achieved by creating best-in-class programs and learning environments in Serbia where more than 600 teachers have received training. The Foundation has built or repurposed 18 schools and helped over 10,000 children to date. Their galas feature world class celebrities worthy of world’s number one tennis player and the organization’s founder, Novak Djokovic.

Also founded in 2007 by a former athlete, the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation‘s objective is to provide financial, material and other resources to meet physical, mental, social and other needs of refugees, internally displaced and abandoned persons, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, political views or any other affiliation or commitments. The organization receives a large majority of its funds from ‘bilateral donors’ such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which amount to an average of over $2 million for the past five years.

The 28. Jun organization ranks first in value of material aid delivered at $6.1M, amount of humanitarian, medical and disaster relief aid in terms of weight at 184 tons and in efficiency with $18 worth of humanitarian aid to going underprivileged communities for every $1 they receive. Founded in 2012, it is also the only humanitarian organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) operating in the Western Balkans. 28. Jun is the only organization on the list not founded by an athlete and which began in the Serbian diaspora.

Humanitarian foundation ‘Budi human’ founded by former professional water polo player and current president of the New Belgrade municipality, Aleksandar Sapic, is the leading organization which is based only in Serbia. The foundation collects funds for sick children via SMS and it gives equal opportunity to all those who need help by leaving it up to the donor to choose which case they will support or if they choose to donate to a pot which is then divided between all the cases. The foundation also receives some corporate donations and has been supported by Huawei in the past.

There are many other international organizations such as the Red Cross and UNICEF, and numerous smaller NGOs affiliated with the Serbian Orthodox Church operating in Serbia. Corporate and private foundations, diaspora-based groups and organizations endowed by celebrities dominate the rest of the landscape, with the ‘Top Four’ remaining the largest independent outfits for the moment.

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