Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige, the principal shareholder of Vienna Insurance Group, provides major support for many social activities.
Social Active Day
Vienna Insurance Group took advantage of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering as an opportunity to create a broad base of volunteer involvement among Group employees by introducing the Social Active Day. VIG encouraged its employees in nine countries to use their time for the needy and disadvantaged in society by permitting employees to devote a day to social activities. More than 2,000 employees in VIG companies were inspired by this idea, and took part in numerous projects. Organisations and institutions with a wide variety of objectives were pleased to receive assistance from these helping hands, such as special-needs facilities, homeless shelters and initiatives, nursing homes, orphanages, children’s aid and environment protection programmes and many more.
The participants took the Social Active Day motto – “Take your chance and care!” – literally and volunteered their assistance wherever help was needed and welcome. Taking care of the elderly, cooking soup and serving it to the needy, helping with the setup, sales and disassembly at a social flea market, painting fences, beautifying areas, helping with autumn cleanup, and teaching and playing with children are only a few of the activities performed last year. The response was impressive. Based on participant feedback, there will also be no lack of Social Active Day volunteers in 2012.
Dr. Günter Geyer Social Active Award*
Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige, the principal shareholder of Vienna Insurance Group, will award a new prize for outstanding social commitment named after General Manager Günter Geyer for the first time in 2012. The prize will be awarded to Group companies whose social activities, or those of their employees, performed in the service of their fellow men deserve special mention. The intent is to provide a total of EUR 100,000 in funding for projects each year. The first prize will receive EUR 50,000. Mr. Geyer’s tenth anniversary as the head of the Group in 2011 marked a festive occasion to launch this new award.
Caritas children's campaign*
The principal shareholder of Vienna Insurance Group, Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige, has been a long-term partner of Caritas, providing many years of support for its annual children’s campaign in the poorest countries of Europe, including 2011 and the current year. The funds collected by Caritas in February benefit more than 200 aid projects in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. There are children who rely on outside help in many of these countries. The donations provide for their most urgent needs: a place they can feel at home, loving care, enough to eat, clothing and all the necessities for regular school attendance.
Examples from Group companies:
Bátor Tábor – camp for sick children in Central Europe*
The “Bátor Tábor” foundation organises free camps for chronically ill children, including adventure therapy. The children strengthen their abilities through play as part of the healing process in this programme, thereby regaining part of their self-confidence. The Hungarian camp has been a permanent member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps since 2007. Each year, around 600 children from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia celebrate big and small personal successes here with rowing, riding, archery, dancing, playing music, and sporting activities on the ropes course. For the last three years, Union Biztosító has permitted its employees to devote a day each spring to beautifying the interior and exterior areas of the facility. Whether doing garden work, planting trees or repairing fences, the employees take part each year with great pleasure and enthusiasm.
Wiener Städtische has been a cooperation partner of Zweite Sparkasse (“Bank for People without a Bank”) since 2007. Zweite Sparkasse helps people who no longer have access to banking services because of their difficult economic circumstances. In addition to the banking products offered, all account holders receive free or very inexpensive insurance solutions from Wiener Städtische. Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige makes the premium payments. Zweite Sparkasse celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2011 and specially dedicated its anniversary party to its 430 volunteer employees.
Children's University of Comenius
The Detská Univerzita Komenského (Children’s University of Comenius) held its ninth traditional matriculation celebration in Bratislava for eager-to-learn children between the ages of nine and 14 last year. Kooperativa Slovakia was the main sponsor for the project and also made it possible for 15 of its employees’ children to participate. In the first lecture, the young researchers examined the question of how life in the country differed from life in the city. Other presentations were dedicated, for example, to seafaring secrets, or the world of insects. The academic part was supplemented by interesting and varied workshops and outings.
* Principal shareholder Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige provided a major part if not all of the support for these activities.