Text: Magdalena Gigova
An original work by the world-renowned sculptor Henry Moore; saving the Levski House Museum from destruction; an ounce of pure gold; the Gutenberg Bible; a collection of plant specimens from Cuba; works by famous artists; equipment for hospitals and institutes… these are just some of the generous gestures by sponsors that have reached the people and places for which they were intended, thanks to the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund.
Until 14 June on Lovers’ Bridge, every curious visitor will have the opportunity of viewing the exhibition, ‘NEF “13 Centuries of Bulgaria”: 40 Years of Donorship Mission’ displaying only a small number of the 80,000 donations made through the Fund.
At the grand opening of the exhibition, Slava Ivanova, Executive Director of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, observed:
‘In 2021, it is four full decades since the establishment of the Fund, with its commitment to fostering donorship in Bulgaria. An anniversary presupposes perusal of more or less familiar chapters of history, the pursuit of new horizons and prospects for the future, while the issue of charitable donation arouses not only reflections on the spiritual dimensions of human involvement in times of upswing or adversity, but also on the maturity of society.
‘The exhibition, ‘NEF “13 Centuries of Bulgaria”: 40 Years of Donorship Mission’, does not claim to exhaust all aspects of what was created by NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, or to encompass in full detail its rich and fascinating chronicle.’
Ms Ivanova mentioned that each donation is unique in the human motives that prompted it, regardless of its size and value, and that they are united by their goal: ‘for the benefit of the people’.
‘The selection of donations on display also offers us the opportunity to meet the individuals who, guided by patriotic intentions and concern, have shown their generosity through the Fund. These are “people of the spirit”: scientists and researchers of international acclaim, prominent artists, some of them world-famous, their heirs. Established lawyers, doctors, pedagogues join in through their donative initiatives. Major financiers, entrepreneurs, business people, and traders complement the colourful portrait of these donors. There are also ordinary people who astound us, not with the extravagance of their bequest, but with the generosity of their gesture. We owe all of them a bow!’ added the Executive Director of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, Slava Ivanova.
The Head of the Culture Directorate at the Sofia Municipality, Biliana Genova, drew attention to the patronage of Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.
During the virtual literary meeting with writers from abroad shortly before the exhibition’s opening, Slava Ivanova suggested launching a competition for Bulgarian works from the diaspora, Milena Dimitrova, from Vice President Iliana Yotova’s team, reported. The motto of the meeting initiated by the Vice President is ‘A people shall not perish when true learning lights its days’.
At the end of the official opening, Slava Ivanova concluded: ‘Today, the Fund faces new challenges. In order to meet them, modern ideas and vision are needed, rationalising its noble mission through the prism of current donative practice and policies, to continue to be nationally responsible and socially useful.’
The bilingual exhibition, in Bulgarian and English, ‘NEF “13 Centuries of Bulgaria”: 40 Years of Donorship Mission’ can be viewed on the Lovers’ Bridge until 14 June.