ERSTE Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
ERSTE Foundation
ERSTE Stiftung Logo.jpg
Founded 2003
Type Austrian private foundation
Focus Social Development, Culture, European Integration
Location
Origins legal successor of Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse (First Austrian Savings Bank) of 1819
Area served
Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe
Method operational foundation and grant giving
Revenue
main shareholder of Erste Group Bank AG
Employees
over 30
Website www.erstestiftung.org

ERSTE Foundation (in German DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Privatstiftung or in short: ERSTE Stiftung) is the biggest Austrian savings bank foundation. In 2003, it evolved from the Erste Oesterreichische Spar-Casse, the first Austrian savings bank founded in 1819. It is the main shareholder of Erste Group. ERSTE Foundation uses the profit from its shares to support the development of societies in Central and South Eastern Europe.

Mission[edit]

ERSTE Foundation is active in Central and South Eastern Europe. Its mission goes back to the savings banks idea of the 19th century. It supports social participation and civil society engagement; it aims to bring people together and disseminate knowledge of the recent history of a region that has been undergoing dramatic changes since 1989. As an active foundation, it develops its own projects within the framework of three programs: Social Development, Culture, and Europe.

Programs[edit]

Social development[edit]

The foundation encourages the development of fairer and stronger societies, where nobody is left behind. It has developed two complementary strategies of social intervention: the integration of individuals and groups who live on the margins of society and research into social change. Its activities create fair prospects for people in difficult social conditions and situations of extreme need with regard to education and participation.

Culture[edit]

The culture program works on mostly transnational projects, involving research activities that focus on the visual arts from the 1960s to the present day. Culture is seen as a driving force for a democratic society and in its ability to forge links between diverse linguistic and geographical regions. Working with artistic strategies creates an experimental playing field for utopias and for proposals beyond the feasibility of everyday politics as well as for exploring the possibilities of various artistic approaches. Therefore, the culture program promotes independent projects and those engaged in the cultural sector by providing them with resources and cross-border contacts that are not embedded within state institutions, also to stop the so-called brain drain.

Europe[edit]

The Foundation promotes the process of European integration by providing a platform for exchanging ideas, knowledge and initiatives. Europeans are encouraged to live according to common values, to freely share ideas, to work together and to learn from one another. The projects focus on establishing a lively culture of dialogue. In an environment insisting on differences, people should be enabled to experience feelings of solidarity, connection and cooperation. The projects anticipate the reality of a unified Europe and convey the potential of the common union, in particular in those countries where, at present, EU programmes cannot yet be implemented. A focus lies on the work with young people, programs for journalists and debates on the future of Europe.

Projects (examples)[edit]

Social banking and financial inclusion[edit]

Being a savings bank foundation, ERSTE Foundation is committed to the social savings bank idea of the 19th century. Therefore, social banking and financial inclusion are key issues within the Program Social Development. The best known projects in this field are:

Awards[edit]

ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration[edit]

Every two years, starting in 2007, the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration is awarded to projects working successfully for the social integration of people in their communities. During an open call, 30 winners are selected among over 1000 applicants from 12 countries (2011) and will receive a total price money of EUR 610,000. Additionally, the publicly honoured NGOs get two years for free public relations (PR) support for their projects and access to an international network of peers. Award ceremonies have been held so far in Ljubljana (2007), Bucharest (2009), and Prague (2011).

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory[edit]

ERSTE Foundation established the biennial Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory in 2008. It supports the work of art historians and theorists in CEE and highlights the notion of arts and culture, encouraging the production of cultural knowledge and exchange between ‘East’ and ‘West’. The award is named after the Slovenian author, art critic and curator Igor Zabel (1958–2005), the senior curator of Ljubljana's Moderna Galerija. He established cultural links between Eastern and Western Europe.

Cooperations with other foundations in international projects[edit]

History[edit]

The origins of the foundation go back to the 19th century. The Erste österreichische Spar-Casse was founded in 1819.[1] As a result of the amendment to the Austrian Savings Bank Act, Erste österreichische Spar-Casse was split into an operational bank (Erste Bank AG) and a holding company (DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Anteilsverwaltungssparkasse, in short: AVS) in 1993. In 1997 Erste Bank, which had merged with GiroCredit Bank AG der Sparkassen, went public, making AVS the main shareholder of the company, which has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange ever since. In 2003 AVS was formally transformed into DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Privatstiftung, in short: ERSTE Stiftung (ERSTE Foundation), which began its operations two years later.

The first major projects included the Zweite Wiener Vereins-Sparcasse, in short: Zweite Sparkasse, founded in 2006, and the Academy for Central European Schools (aces) network, established in the same year. 2007 saw the presentation of the first ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration in Ljubljana and the launch of the first call of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory and the foundation of good.bee followed in 2008. In 2009 ORF and 3sat first broadcast the TV documentary series "Balkan Express (Return to Europe)" and the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration went into its second round, with the ceremony being held in Bucharest. The largest culture project to date – the exhibition Gender Check – opened at MUMOK Vienna in 2010. In the same year, the Social Business Tour 2010 with Muhammad Yunus toured through six Eastern European countries with the aim of introducing the concept of social business as a form of sustainable economic activity in Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Bucharest and Belgrade. That same year the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory was awarded to Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski in Barcelona. In 2011 the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration – then in its third round – was presented in Prague to 34 projects from 12 countries.

Legal status[edit]

ERSTE Foundation is a savings bank private foundation as defined by the Austrian Savings Bank Act.

Boards[edit]

The bodies of the foundation include the Managing Board, the Supervisory Board and the Association. The private Savings Bank Association, established in 1819 and comprising more than 100 members, elects the members of the Supervisory Board and designates its president. The Supervisory Board appoints the members of the Managing Board and supervises the foundation’s management. The Managing Board conducts the foundation’s business and decides on the allocation of project funding, assisted by an Advisory Board of international experts.

Members of the supervisory board[edit]

  • Georg Winckler (chairman)
  • Maximilian Hardegg
  • Bernhard Kainz
  • Peter Mitterbauer
  • Barbara Pichler
  • Peter Pichler
  • Johanna Rachinger (deputy chairwoman)
  • Markus Trauttmansdorff

Members of the managing board[edit]

  • Franz Karl Prüller (chairman)
  • Richard Wolf (deputy chairman)
  • Bernhard Spalt

Members of the advisory board[edit]

Employees, budget and projects[edit]

At ERSTE Foundation work around 35 employees at 2012. The Foundation has spent 40 million EUR for projects between its founding date in 2003 and the end of 2010.[2] During that period, the total number of projects that ERSTE Foundation has implemented and/or supported was 548, 110 have applied for open calls. Around 80% of ERSTE Foundation's annual budget is invested in projects that are initiated within the 3 programs Social Development, Culture, and Europe. The remaining 20% are spent as grants to non-profit organisations to support their projects.[3]

Memberships in umbrella organisations[edit]

ERSTE Foundation Library[edit]

Founded in 2007, the ERSTE Foundation Library collects literature mainly in English and German. It contains around 5000 items and 35 periodical subscriptions (2012). Topics include art and media theory and history, minority and gender issues, cultural theory and policies, economic and political developments, social banking, innovation in foundations, philanthropy, demography, migration, education, and the art of memory. Geographically, the collection focuses on Central and South Eastern Europe. The Library is open to the public. The free-access collection is accessible on the premises by appointment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ C. Rapp, N. Rapp-Wimberger: Arbeite, Sammle, Vermehre. Von der ersten Oesterreichischen Spar-Casse zur Erste Bank. Christian Brandstätter Verlag, Vienna 2005, p. 7.
  2. ^ see annual reports and fact sheet on the homepage: http://www.erstestiftung.org/inside-the-foundation/facts-figures/
  3. ^ For all these figures see the annual reports of the Foundation
  4. ^ see http://www.efc.be/Membership/Pages/EFCMembersMap.aspx
  5. ^ see http://www.nef-europe.org/content/11/our-core

External links[edit]