On November 22nd, 2022, AmCham Bulgaria celebrated Thanksgiving at its traditional Charity Dinner that collected a total of BGN 64,000 that will go to the causes the Chamber and its members support. These causes are Get Ready to Succeed, the scholarship program that supports students and university students with excellent grades that have lost one or both parents or have grown up in a specialized institution, and Fund for Support of Women Victims of Domestic Violence, which targets organizations that provide legal, psychological, and social consultations and support crisis accommodation centers for women and their children who look for shelter and a new beginning in their lives.
The event gathered 200 people – members and partners – at Sofia Tech Park for the first time since 2019. As per its design, it aimed to express gratitude to its members and friends for the achievements and the joint success over the past year, to honor the American tradition that is embedded in this holiday, and to raise funds for causes that the Chamber and its members traditionally support.
“Let me thank our members for their devotion to being proud and loyal members of AmCham. A month ago, we acknowledged the most engaged ones in our projects and activities.
Today my personal and Board’s thanks go to each one of you – having your companies as our members makes our Chamber stronger.
Working united – we can do change for the good of the business climate, our companies, and society,”Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President.
“It is my honor and privilege to be part of such a great traditional event that does both – gives thanks for the efforts and contribution to our community and friends and raises funds for those in need. I feel obliged to take this relay and bring it to the next level,” said Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria.
Guest of honor was H.E. Herro Mustafa, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, who said in her remarks:
“…in spite of the challenges of this past year, I am thankful for so many things: for my family; for the many friendships I’ve formed during my over three years in Bulgaria; and for the enduring strength and resilience of the U.S. – Bulgaria relationship.”
About the causes
Elitsa Barakova, Executive Director, BCause Foundation, Elena Stefanova, 10-year scholarship holder, and Yuliya Andonova, Communications Manager, P.U.L.S.E. Foundation addressed the audience with emotional testimonials about the benefits of the causes and the people behind them.
”I am thankful today to donors and friends for the opportunity to lend a hand, to bring confidence and independent living to young people and women, so that no one stays trapped in the worst times of their lives. Together we make a new beginning of success and wellbeing!” – said Elitsa Barakova, Executive Director, BCause Foundation – a member of AmCham Bulgaria – and which is a leader in charity and CSR programs in the country.
There were two emotional testimonials on behalf of the causes.
First, Elena Stefanova, a 10-year scholarship holder, addressed the guests saying: “To be an orphan or half-orphan, is a heavy burden, but what really makes it worse is that we are fragile, scared, and insecure. Donors who believed in us are those invisible forces that make us stronger and independent! Yesterday’s scholarship holders are today’s donors, society heroes, and inspirers! That is why investment in “Get ready to succeed” is an investment in the future of Bulgaria and not only.”
In her turn, Julia Andonova, PULSE Foundation, said: “The PULSE Foundation provides 24-hour programs to support people who have suffered from violence. With us, they find shelter, security, and protection, professional help from psychologists, lawyers, social workers, and educators. For more than 20 years, we have been helping thanks to good people, friends, and companies who support our mission for a future without violence. Thanks to you, over 300 victims of violence will receive help and support next year. Together we give hope and a better future.”
In 2022, BCause Foundation marks the 17th year in a row in which the “Get Ready to Succeed” Program collects funds for scholarships to esteemed students and university students with difficult lives. So far over 2,5 million leva have been collected thanks to corporate and individual donors. Those funds have helped many future doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and other young people to focus on their education and become the professionals Bulgaria needs. AmCham and its members have contributed to the scholarships BGN 500,000 over the past years.
About the Charity Dinner
The Charity Dinner was funded by sponsorships, by members that bought corporate tables, and by individual passes. AmCham Bulgaria thanks to:
- Gold Sponsor – Glavbolgarstroy.
- Silver Sponsors: Asarel-Medet, Dundee Precious Metals Bulgaria, and Congress Engineering.
- Bronze Sponsors: Coca-Cola, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3, Ingram Micro, SiteGround, Zornitza Estate, and Le Petit Quché.
The Chamber expresses gratitude to those that bought corporate tables: A1 Bulgaria, AES Bulgaria, HPE operated by Selectium, MSD Bulgaria, Progress Software, Philip Morris Bulgaria, and United Group (Nova TV and Vivacom).
The event was hosted by Angela Rodel, Executive Director of Fulbright Bulgaria, and Yana Nikolova, International News Editor, Nova TV. The program of the evening included special performances by Militsa Gladnishka and Mihail Yosifov Sextet that combined jazz, soul, and funk music. Boriana Ballet performed a special mini program of dance and light effects to the audience.