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MOL awards HUF 20 mln to civic groups

Voting for NGOs in the MOL Local Value (Helyi Érték) program begins today, with each winning organization receiving HUF 500,000 from the Hungarian oil and gas company, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Voters can pick from among civic groups in 40 districts around Hungary, with two or three groups competing in each district that qualified through the first round of the program. In each district, local residents and other members of the public may decide on the winner by voting at a designated MOL station by April 22.

Proposals were submitted in four categories, and so are very diverse: for example, one NGO came up with a stroller-friendly hiking route in Pilis, while another proposed a team-building training and dance house for single parents.

MOL received a total of 297 applications for the program. According to the prior professional evaluation and the decision of the board of trustees of the MOL Foundation, 109 applications will be eligible for the public vote held between April 1 and 22.

"We launched our program to mobilize civil society throughout the country for the first time to support local initiatives and collaborations," said Kata Apáti-Tóth, communications director at MOL Hungary. "The campaign was popular all over the country, and the number of applications matched our expectations, with especially many applications from Eastern Hungary."

Apáti-Tóth added that during the assessment, the emphasis was on the approach of volunteering and sustainability, with a focus on innovation.

The MOL Foundation is awarding a total of HUF 20 mln to the NGOs. To cast a vote, a coupon with the name of the selected organization must be torn from the relevant flyer at a participating gas station and folded into a collection box labeled Helyi Érték.

The list of organizations qualifying for the second round is available here. The final announcement of results will be made by May 3 at the latest, MOL says.