Civil Society Requires Independent Financial Backing

It was a big day for Slovenian IT and start-up community yesterday as Kodiram.si reached its funding goal. Over the past month 157 of us got together and raised 7365 euro for Kano Programming Workshop for Underprivileged Kids that will take place the last week of October. I'm even more pleased to report that all the donations came from individuals and privately owned companies, which is a rarity in Slovenia, where the first thought of too many is how to milk the state or one of the many state-owned institutions. I've checked yesterday with the main organizer and she told me that also other workshop related activities are coming along nicely. 25 Kano computers already arrived to Faculty of Computer and Information Science, displays are ordered and on their way, Slovenian association of friends of youth is sifting through the applications to the workshop, and mentors are preparing workshop curriculum. It seems that we're on a good way to organize a great event that will put a lasting mark not just on 25 kids from struggling families, but to a society at large.

I'm also very glad to report that a large part of the funding came from rich Slovenians and highly successful Slovenian companies. While some of them are listed on the web page, several of them decided to donate substantial amounts of money while staying anonymous. I firm believer that civil society cannot survive without independent financial backing and that without civil society a sustainable democracy is not possible. The only way to have independent financial backing is to have rich individuals who are motivated to pay it forward and I consider the lack of socially engaged, rich people as one of biggest drawbacks of Slovenian society. Start-ups are one of the more promising paths towards having more rich people in our society without making the majority poorer. I sincerely hope that Slovenia will continue to generate new start-ups as successfully as in the past few years, creating many new rich people along the way providing backing for civil society independent of politicians and their pity politics.