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New initiatives strengthen the social profile of Bank Austria

  • Bank Austria awards the "Best Start 2010" advancement award for social projects for the first time
  • Bank Austria is supporting three important Caritas projects with youngCaritas Käfig League, the Brunnenpassage project and the Caritas aid for adolescents in need for poverty prevention
  • SOS Children's Villages house sponsorships and the "gemma's an!" sponsorship project are examples of the long social tradition of Bank Austria

In 2010, Bank Austria awards the "Best Start 2010" Sponsorship Award for a social project for the first time. With this initiative, Bank Austria intends to make an additional social contribution and, at the same time, support charitable initiatives, organisations, associations and other bodies in their effort to further social causes. The award will be given for projects focusing on children and adolescents or integration and migration.

In 2010, 50 cents for each newly opened Bank Austria KünstlerSparbuch savings account will be donated to the winner of Bank Austria's "Best Start 2010" advancement award. Furthermore, Bank Austria will organise and promote a comprehensive fund raising for the winning project from September 1 to December 31, 2010. The tender takes place from May 20 to June 25, 2010. Afterwards, a specialised jury including Christian Moser, managing director of SOS Children's Villages Austria, Michael Landau, Caritas director of the archdiocese of Vienna, and Willibald Cernko, chairman of the management board of Bank Austria, will make a first selection of up to five projects. An internet voting for the committed public takes place from July 1 to August 31, 2010. More information is available on www.foerderpreis2010.bankaustria.at.
"With our new approach to social sponsoring, which has a long tradition in Bank Austria," Willibald Cernko, chairman of the management board of Bank Austria, explains, "we include our customers, employees and the broad public into our activities closely, as we can only answer to our social responsibility successfully together with as many people as possible."

"Operating with social responsibility means to look beyond one's own business," Michael Landau, Caritas director of the archdiocese of Vienna and juror of the award, adds. "It is important that companies help to communicate social requirements this way."

The youngCaritas Käfig League of Caritas of the archdiocese of Vienna
In supporting the youngCaritas Käfig League, the objective is to support young people in spending their leisure time sensibly, to strengthen social competence in addition to technical and tactical skills in the training and to develop a careful handling of public property. The youngCaritas Käfig League represents Viennese-style street football. The youngCaritas Käfig League project allows children and adolescents to play and train football regularly guided by sports and socio-pedagogical professionals.

"The youngCaritas Käfig League is an important project in Vienna to promote and integrate children and adolescents," Christian Oxonitsch, youth city councillor of Vienna, points out. "This offer complements the activities of the city of Vienna perfectly. In a playful environment, children and adolescents learn about tolerance and fair play – the most important characteristics to create a positive cooperation in our city." Michael Landau adds, "An important part of the project is that, in addition to the support of the direct target group of boys and girls aged 6 to 13, adolescents and young adults benefit from the project as well by being trained as coaches."

Long tradition of Bank Austria in the support of disadvantaged people
Caritas and Bank Austria are connected by a year-long partnership. With the Bank Austria family fund, Bank Austria provides funds for families who are in need without their own fault. For each newly acquired Bank Austria Motivkarte, a bank card with pictures of all Austrian states, EUR1 is donated to the Caritas aid for adolescents in need for poverty prevention. The funds are used to support night shelters for young people, assisted living facilities as well as occupational and training projects of Caritas throughout Austria. Bank Austria also supports Caritas in the model project of the Brunnenpassage, which offers art and culture in the area of the Brunnenmarkt, a market in Vienna 16, daily, and thereby creates new opportunities for encounters by transferring art.

The long tradition of Bank Austria in supporting social projects is also represented by its SOS Children's Villages house sponsorships, youth sponsorships in order to support disadvantaged adolescents within the framework of the "gemma's an!" project and by supporting adolescents who have poor professional training or none at all in entering the job market with the Space!lab project. Against the background of the continued economic crisis, Bank Austria launched a training initiative for young people and provides about 200 new, long-term training vacancies for apprentices, school and university graduates.

In the course of fund-raising campaigns, Bank Austria employees raised more than EUR78,000 for the Haiti aid of Médecins Sans Frontières as well as another EUR175,000 for social projects all over the world. Unidea, the foundation of UniCredit, topped up these donations. Thereby, nearly EUR450,000 could be provided for social projects.

"As one of the leading banks in Austria, we are not only committed to economic success, but also have social responsibility for the people in our country," Willibald Cernko points out. "Therefore, supporting disadvantaged people has a long tradition in Bank Austria – for many years, we have been active intensively in the social-charitable area."

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
 Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 – 52809;
 E-Mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

Photos of today's press conference are  here available from 2 pm for download Reproduction is free of charge.

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