Mission

The Group Seven Children's Foundation provides care for children who suffer from the isolation, poverty and displacement inherent to the break-up of a country. Group Seven, consisting of seven Yugoslavian athletes who play basketball internationally, was established to assure that all assets of the Group Seven Children's Foundation, without regard for politics or nationality, go directly to the assistance of those who need them most.

Committed to using their name recognition and popularity around the world to encourage others to contribute, these seven athletes have come… "together for the children!"

For decades, the ravages of war and poverty have affected the Balkan Countries. All of the citizens of these countries have suffered, but the children have suffered the most. Many children have been abandoned, many have suffered injuries from the war itself. There are few resources to care for the most serious medical problems. Political unrest in these countries makes it even more difficult to get help directly to those who need it.


Founders

The Group 7 Children's Foundation is a result of the humanitarian effort of seven of Yugoslavia's world renowned basketball players. The founding members of Group 7 include: Vlade Divac, Predrag Danilovic, Aleksandar Djordjevic, Zarko Paspalj, Zeljko Rebraca, Dejan Bodiroga, and Zoran Savic. These athletes have joined together to offer care and comfort to children suffering from the isolation, poverty and displacement inherent to the break-up of Yugoslavia.

As coordinators of the Group 7 Vlade Divac Children's Foundation, we are committed to ensuring that all assets of the foundation will provide material, moral and emotional relief to the children of the former Yugoslavia. We are hopeful that the recognition and popularity of these athletes will encourage others to contribute to the cause. The foundation is guided by the commitment to offering assistance where it is most needed, irrespective of nationality or religion.


Partners

Vlade Divac, star center for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, and International Orthodox Christians Charities (IOCC) are partners in a vital effort to bring hope and opportunity to the young people of his native Serbia-Montenegro.

A leader on and off the basketball court, Divac has helped IOCC provide half a million dollars in humanitarian assistance in his homeland since 1997 – including clothing sets to children living in refugee shelters in Serbia; school-supply kits and winter shoes to children in Montenegro; and food parcels to refugee families in Serbia.

“Vlade has consistently been voted one of the NBA’s good guys,” said IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou. “He has earned that reputation through, among other things, his longtime collaboration with IOCC to bring hope and opportunity to the children of the former Yugoslavia.”

In 2004, IOCC and the Vlade Divac Group 7 Children’s Foundation began a new initiative to connect students in Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina through the Internet.

Titled “Connecting Kids,” the $230,000 project uses information technology as a tool to strengthen education in Serbian and Bosnian schools and to foster dialogue between students in Serbia and students in Bosnia.

Computer centers are being established in 17 rural and suburban schools — nine in Serbia and eight in Bosnia — to provide basic computer training and classroom support to 160 teachers and 800 students and to connect youth across Serbia and Bosnia through interactive, Web-based curricula.

“These days, technology is integral to a good education, and a good education is the key to a brighter future for students in my homeland,” Divac said. “I’m excited about this project because it uses computers creatively — to increase learning, spark dialogue and spread tolerance.”

Most recently, Divac offered a challenge grant of up to $50,000 for IOCC’s programs in the troubled Serbian province of Kosovo.

From 2001-2003, Divac supported IOCC’s “Healthy Teeth-Beautiful Smiles” project. The dental hygiene education and awareness campaign reached more than 24,000 elementary school children in Serbia’s eight largest cities, providing them with dental kits and training on how to use them, and encouraging them to make healthy lifestyle choices.

The project also provided data on the dental health of children in Serbia that has been used to study and target dental health services. This effort continues today through the country’s Ministry of Health.

Divac recently received IOCC’s Good Samaritan Award for his years of distinguished service in support of the humanitarian mission of IOCC.

Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).