In 2020 the whole world faced unprecedented challenges brought by the Coronavirus, turning all our lives upside down. ING’s empowering purpose was implemented in its approach with helping others cope with the pandemic, when we provided support to the most vulnerable in various ways.
“At ING, we feel responsible not only for our customers and our employees, but also for the community. Therefore, we put maximum efforts into helping people who had been affected by the crisis the most, through different lines of support. We were able to donate more than BGN 100 000 to diverse organizations helping the local community to sustain and overcome the Coronavirus, reducing its health, social and economic impact. – said Greg Konieczny, Country Manager at ING Bulgaria.
For more details about ING Sofia’s initiatives read below.
- We joined the “United Against Covid-19” Relief Fund, which supported the emergency needs of local communities across Bulgaria. The Fund was established by the Bulgarian Donors Forum, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria. Together with many international businesses and individuals, “United Against Covid-19” collected more than BGN 1 million. Financial assistance was provided to a total of 106 projects, including : 28 hospitals and 7 smaller medical establishments; 15 municipalities; 37 civil society organizations; 9 community centers; 2 schools; and 8 micro and small businesses. Through the Fund’s financial support, the recipient organizations procured medical and personal protection equipment, food and medicines for the elderly, children without parental care, the unemployed, homeless, victims of domestic violence, and other vulnerable groups.
- We stood by social entrepreneurs, supported by our internal program Social Innovation Fund. We have been helping social start-ups to develop and stabilize their businesses for many years already. The pandemic put some of them again in at risk. In order to support them to sustain and continue their work, we released unconditional donations to Horse therapy “Zita and friends”, Ole, male and the ARTON Foundation.
- 37 computers were donated to the “Old technique for new beginning” campaign, organized by Amalipe and the TOGETHER Foundation also joined by many others. The pandemic moved the children from their schools to their homes. A research made by Amalipe in March showed that ¼ of children studying in 200 Bulgarian schools lacked sufficient devices for homeschooling, which put their online education at risk. All 793 devices (computers, laptops, tablets and other), collected through the campaign, were distributed to 76 schools in Bulgaria, which distributed them to approximately 1200 children without such equipment, enabling them to , join online classes and see their classmates.
- As the first step of our long-term social programme Open the Circle, ING became a partner of PROMYANАTA 2020 together with 2 client companies. PROMYANАTA is a well established TV initiative, aiming to support social entrepreneurial projects. In response to the pandemic, in 2020 the initiative slightly changed its focus and helped five established NGOs working closely with children and their families for years – were therefore conscious of their problems. The NGOs were provided with financial grants so they could help the children and young people who have been hit the hardest by the crisis. Through consultations, trainings and financial support, PROMYANATA helped them strengthen their organizations and achieve long-term stability.
- We continue to develop Open the Circle as a cross-sector coalition, founded jointly by ING and Reach for Change Bulgaria. 32.5% of the population of Bulgaria has lived at risk of poverty and social exclusion even before the Coronavirus outbreak. This is the highest percentage among all members of the European Union. Led by our desire to change these statistics, we established Open the Circle – a project aiming to empower innovators to develop their sustainable solutions for social inclusion. The project is supported financially by the global ING fund, established to help communities build back better by supporting projects in areas such as financial health, sustainable employment and digital skills. The Scaling Readiness Program, to be implemented in 2021, as the second step of Open the Circle, will help two social entrepreneurs focused on job creation and building financial health for vulnerable families, in scaling their innovations and impact.