THANKS to his Dobrý Anjel (Good Angel) project, Andrej Kiska became Slovakia’s best-known businessman-turned-philanthropist even before he launched his presidential campaign.

He nonetheless could not avoid the criticism that he abused his charitable activities for political ends. And not only from outsiders, but also from his former friend and Dobrý Anjel co-founder Igor Brossmann, who claimed that he and Kiska promised each other they would not go into politics when they founded the charity.

Kiska’s philanthropic history goes back to 2005, when he sold his Triangel and Quatro companies and invested some of the money into founding Dobrý Anjel. The project is a unique charity system which has attracted thousands of Slovaks thanks to its transparency. Within the system, families of oncology patients receive regular monthly allowances from the organisation, and the donors can track down exactly how much they have paid and whom their money went to. The costs of running the system are covered from the money that the founders of the charity deposited to start – Kiska claims to have invested the equivalent of €1 million.

After initial hardship the system ran smoothly, but the two founders started having differing opinions about the way the charity should be run and financed, and Brossmann left the project.
“I did not like the fact he was going to abuse the Angel,” Brossman told the Pravda daily after he publicly supported Milan Kňažko, one of Kiska’s main competitors in the presidential race. He claimed he knew about Kiska’s intentions to run two years in advance.

Kiska, in contrast, claimed for the Trend weekly that he only decided to run in March or April 2012, when his project to build a philanthropic hospital failed. That was the point when he realised that he does not have enough power to change things like malfunctioning health care unless he goes into politics, he said.

Kiska left Dobrý Anjel in May 2013. His wife Martina succeeded him as the board director.