The Jelena Šantić Foundation (FJŠ) was founded in 2005 by Group 484, with the financial support of Vojin Dimitrijević, a member of the then-Board of Directors. The vision of the Foundation is to promote artistic projects that carry the spirit of social values, tolerance, and peacekeepingas advocated by Group 484 founder Jelena Šantić (1944-2000), a famous ballerina and peace activist. 


Today, the Jelena Šantić Foundation functions as an independent organization with a well-developed organizational structure, dedicated and energetic team, and programs that are continuously improving and developing. Five years after its re-establishment, the FJŠ budget has grown by more than $100,000 due to the support of various donors and partners and its continued promotion of values such as tolerance and peacebuilding. During the period when Group 484 was its administrator, the main focus of the Foundation was establishing the Jelena Šantić Award and realizing projects that support children without parental care. It was during this time that FJŠ and Group 484 organized the inclusive AprilZmajJun choir.


In the last five years, we have expanded our work to include community development. Through our grant program and the Jelena Šantić Award, we are empowering creative, transformative initiatives across Serbia in urban, rural, and sequestered communities. So far, we have mapped more than 350 initiatives that have shown the potential for developing their visions and activities in different communities across Serbia. More than 50 initiatives from nearly 30 communities have benefitted from our direct support, totaling approximately $80,000. We collaborate and network with similar civil society organizations from Serbia and the Western Balkans to increase the impact of the FJŠ, its resources, programs, and actions. For the first time in 2020, the Jelena Šantić Award will be awarded to regional initiatives that have contributed to building bridges between citizens and communities in the Western Balkans region.

Jelena Šantić was fearless and bold. Her consistent views, energy, principles, and ethics are core values that we nurture and implement in all aspects of our work—in our public stances and in the continuous improvements of the communities in which we work and live. As a Prima Ballerina, influential in the international community, Jelena used all her resources to build peace in the Western Balkans region and rebuild Western Balkan societies. We want to see more such citizens in our communities. We challenge the traditional approach to community development, helping citizens from diverse fields use an engaging culture to rebuild and nurture local resources to ultimately achieve more prosperous communities, together.