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THE FOUNDATION FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS A NETWORK OF 90 INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS ACTIVELY WORKING IN POLAND TO AFFECT POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY. WE FEED, EDUCATE AND EMPOWER POOR CHILDREN IN POLAND. COLLECTIVELY, WE HAVE FED OVER 4 MILLION HOT MEALS TO SOME OF POLAND’S MOST NEEDY CHILDREN. OUR MISSION IS TO LEAD THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN RAISING THE LEVEL AND QUALITY OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

November 7, 2011, Vol. 8, No. 31

"Laughter is a part of the human survival kit."
- David Nathan

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“Let’s get this out of the way upfront: I don’t care whether or not climate change is fact or fiction. I look at the corporate social responsibility imperative – and I do believe it is an imperative – from a much more pragmatic point of view that even serious skeptics should be able to grasp. It is this: to ignore your responsibility as a planetary custodian is to ignore what your customers want.”

- Heather Clancy

OUR FCSR ARTS PROGRAM

It became abundantly clear when I first visited the PromiseLand that our PromiseSchools were completely devoid of an arts program. Yes, there was no music, painting, dancing or singing. The halls were certainly not alive with the “sound of music.” We decided at that point that our Foundation would step in and provide a "circuit" arts professional to add what the public schools had left out.

One of the best things we did so many years ago was employ the talented Basia Kolasinska as our own Foundation’s Arts Director. She has been servicing the artistic needs of our PromiseKids for the past 6 years, and we don’t know how we could ever get along without her now.

I call her a "circuit" arts teacher because she spends 2 days a month at each of our 13 PromiseLand Schools. Each morning, she packs her teaching gear in our Foundation Van (provided by Athlon Car Lease) and heads out across some of Poland’s most dangerous roads to add a new excitement to the lives of our PromiseKids. Twice a year Basia conducts art contests, and if that’s not enough, she directs our Foundation’s two musical groups: Diament and Pantera.

And for the 40 very lucky kids who are selected each year to perform at our Annual Dinner Dance, Basia brings them a whole new world of adventure. This is what two of this year’s Dinner Dance Performers recently told Elro Van Der Burg, Director of the Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce, in an interview for the Athlon Car Lease Magazine:

Danuta Pawlowska (Below), Age 14: I live in Nowe Worowo. I attend dance classes and I love it, especially the fact that I can come back home with Ms. Basia by car. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to take part in the classes because my last school bus leaves at 2:00. It’s great that we can learn different dance styles. Rehearsals are so much fun! We all can’t wait to perform in Warsaw in February! Not much is going on in my village, there are no after class activities. The only thing we can do is meet our friends. It’s so much better to live in a big city! There are so many opportunities! Sometimes I dream I live someplace else.

Natalia Pawlowska (Below), Age 11: I live in Chlebowo, 6 km. away from my school. I am a 5th grader. I have 6 siblings. We don’t have a car and driving me to dance classes would be impossible and very expensive. I love singing and dancing and can’t wait to go to Warsaw for the Dinner Dance. I learned a lot from Ms. Basia. In my biggest dreams I didn’t think I would go to the capital of Poland and live in such a beautiful hotel. After rehearsals, I go back home with Ms. Basia. There are 8 of us in the car. It’s always so much fun, we always sing and laugh.

Dear Friends, we can’t let Basia and these kids down. If you didn’t reserve your table for our 8th Annual Dinner Dance on February 13th, DO IT NOW!

BOXING NIGHT AT THE WARSAW HILTON TO HELP FEED OUR FOUNDATION’S PROMISEKIDS

3 December 2011

If you enjoy boxing and want to see the best boxers Poland has to offer, we suggest you make your reservations to attend Boxing Night at the Warsaw Hilton on December 3rd. Even if you don’t like boxing, we suggest you make your reservations so you can help support our Foundation’s Hot-Meal program. Wojak, the sponsor of the event, has offered to give our Foundation 30% of the ticket sales for tables sold for the boxing gala. Now that’s a Wow!

This prestigious event guarantees boxing at the highest international standards. Music and dance will accompany the boxing, so there will be entertainment for all to enjoy. The whole event will be transmitted by Polsat Television and can be watched on the Polsat Channel and on Polsat Sport.

For more information please contact Andrzej Wasilewski at Andrew.wasilewski@gmail.com

TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS PROMISELAND…

Our Promiseland is located in the Zachodniopomorskie Region of Northwest Poland, which is considered to be the poorest region in the country. The people of this region were employed on cooperative farms under the Communist system of government, and they have fallen on tragic times since the farms and their jobs went away in 1989. This region of small villages has unemployment rates as high as 90%, and the future looks very bleak for the children of the Promiseland and for children throughout rural Poland in general.

The work of the Foundation is seriously important in this Polish agricultural region, and a short review of our PromiseLand program may be surprising to many, if not most of you. The vast majority of our readership has never visited the rural communities that comprise most of Poland, and they find it difficult to imagine that almost 2 million children in this nation of 38 million people are either undernourished or malnourished.

Poland has some 53,000 rural localities, including 42,800 villages and 10,200 smaller settlements. More than 80% of rural localities have fewer than 500 residents, including 15% with fewer than 100 people. Polish agriculture, with some 1.85 million farms, is characterized by a large diversification in terms of farm size, ranging from one hectare to several thousand hectares. The average size of a farm in Poland is approximately 7.4 hectares.

More than 30,000 businesses are registered in the agri-food processing industry. The food industry, including production of foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco products, makes up some 20 percent of total sales in the Polish industry. Rural areas constitute more than 90 percent of the country’s area, and their residents (14.8 million), constitute 38.2 percent of the population.

As many as 27 percent of labor-age Poles are linked with agriculture, but only 18% live solely off it. More than 95% of agricultural land is used by the private sector, including 87.7 percent by family-run farms. Unfortunately, only 13% of the farms in Poland sell products worth zl. 15,000 or more over a year, and as many as 50 percent produce mainly for their own needs.

As I mentioned above, unemployment is a serious problem of the Polish countryside. Some thirty-eight percent of Poles live in the countryside, yet rural residents make up 45 percent of all the registered jobless. Around 1 million of the unemployed are members of non-farmer families. Another million includes both registered unemployed (some 150,000) in farm families and so-called “redundancies” in farming, constituting so-called hidden unemployment estimated at over 800,000.

Economists estimate that an improvement of the competitiveness of Polish agriculture through limiting individual work costs may increase the number of the unemployed by a further 1-1.2 million. A simple calculation shows that there are some 2 million unemployed people in the countryside, and another million will appear in the future due to improved production efficiency.

As we know, unemployment is directly related to poverty. There are two different Poland’s, rural and urban. They are two completely different worlds. It is also worrying that 54% of rural residents only have a primary education, 28% have a vocational education, and only 15% have completed high school or have a post-secondary education. There is some consolation in the fact that the indicators are much better among young people (under 30) since some 30% of them already have a secondary education.

This is where our Foundation works. These are the kids we care for. We couldn’t do it without your help and we thank you for your interest and support. If you would like to know more, drop me a line at the address at the bottom of this newsletter. If you would like to help support our programs, click on the PayPal logo on our website www.fcsr.pl and send your credit card donation today.

DATES TO REMEMBER

November 21st – Dutch Chamber Rijsttafel Dinner/Ball at the Warsaw Hilton to benefit our PromiseKids.

December 3, 2011 – Boxing Night at the Warsaw Hilton to benefit our Foundation’s Hot-Meal Program.

February 13th – 8th Annual Dinner Dance at the Warsaw Hilton Hotel. Make your reservations for this special event. Tables of 10, 2,400 PLN. One-third of tables have already been reserved.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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