The Foundations of banking origin are private, non-profit, autonomous organizations and born in the early 1990s from the reform of the credit system. today we have 86 Foundations in Italy, differing in provenance, size and activities. They intervene in different fields from welfare to art and culture, from innovation to sustainability, from primary education to scientific research.
Their mission is to promote development, not only within the territories where they are based and where they are deeply-rooted but also across the entire country. Since the year 2000 they have disbursed over 23 billion euros throughout more than 400 thousand projects and invested substantial resources to pursue the mission established by the Law: social utility and promotion of economic development. The resources used to carry out the projects of the Foundations are drawn from the profits generated by the investments of their assets, which overall amount to around 40 billion euros.
Foundations of banking origin intervene in the territories promoting the so-called “community welfare”, that is to say, they accompany all those subjects – Third sector organizations, institutions, businesses and individual citizens – who take action to take care of the well-being of the members of the community, to achieve the horizontal subsidiarity principle enshrined in the Constitution.
Together with the communities, the Foundations take care of the frailties, promoting the labour integration of the disabled and their autonomy, providing assistance to the elderly who are not self-sufficient (favouring support for families and domiciliation), supporting the protection of children, the recovery the social groups who are most exposed to forms of marginalization and abuse and taking part in the fight of addictions. With this community perspective, Foundations favour the birth of community foundations: institutions borrowed from the Anglo-Saxon world, which are born to respond to community needs with resources coming in part from a promoting foundation and, in part, from donations collected directly from citizens, businesses and institutions.
Moreover Foundations are the main supporter of the world of Volunteering. They annually support the Single National Fund (Fun – Fondo Unico Nazionale), which provides resources to the entire system of service centres for volunteering (CSV – Centri di Servizi per il Volontariato), and contribute to define the general strategic guidelines to which all the centres must comply, taking part in the governance of the national control body (Onc Foundation – Organismo Nazionale di Controllo) and of the territorial bodies connected to it.
Each Banking Foundation operates in its own territory, generally the province or region in which it is based. However, there are also many national and international initiatives, carried out under the coordination of Acri.
Among the major joint projects, there are:
- The Fund for the fight against child educational poverty, which is the largest active intervention in Italy to respond to the phenomenon of child poverty
- Fondazione Con il Sud, to promote the activation of social cohesion paths and good networking practices to encourage the development of the regions of the South
- The vast social housing plan, which Foundations are carrying out throughout Italy together with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
- The Fund for the Digital Republic to tackle digital inequality
Moreover, Acri’s members have launched many other joint projects in different fields as Art and Culture, Environment, Innovation and Research and International Cooperation.
In the field of culture: Funder35, which selects and follows non-profit youth cultural enterprises to consolidate them on a managerial and organizational level; R’accolte, an online catalogue that contain the huge heritage of pieces of art owned by the Foundations (over 13 thousand of paintings, sculptures and ceramics); Per Aspera ad Astra, a project where experimental theatre is made by detainees following the example of Compagnia della Fortezza in Volterra on a national scale.
In the innovation and research sector: Project Ager, which supports the development of research in the agri-food sector, promoting studies to combine high yields and environmental sustainability of agricultural supply chains and thus help consolidate the leadership of Italian agri-food products; Young Investigator Training Program, which aims to involve young researcher working abroad in the participation in conferences of international relevance organized in Italy, and in temporary work experiences at Italian research institutions.
For the Environment: Green Jobs, which promotes the entrepreneurial skills of the green economy in secondary schools, with an educational and training path; Vento, a cycle-pedestrian path from Turin to Venice, along the banks of the Po, which aims to create new jobs by generating a linked industry for tourists of international appeal.
For international cooperation: Fondazioni For Africa Burkina Faso, which has guaranteed access to food for over 60 thousand people, focusing on reorganization of agricultural supply chains, microfinance, involvement of women and burkinabé migrants in Italy; Project Migrants, which deals with sea rescue, first reception and promotion of humanitarian corridors; Never Alone, for the accompaniment of unaccompanied foreign minors who are in our country.