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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 5 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.

March 5, 2012, Vol. 9, No. 8

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
-- John Steinbeck

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

For Discover, a financial institution with a history of catering to an elite consumer group with high credit scores and deep pockets, the business model is simple: Provide credit to low-risk consumers while ensuring quality customer service.

(CSRwire Talkback)

MAJOR SURPRISE FROM MAKRO

We received a surprise call this past week from our great friends and Foundation member company Makro Cash & Carry. As if the two special collections Makro conducts for us each year in the summer and at Christmas aren’t enough, they would like to add a third Easter Collection for our PromiseKids. What a company, and what incredible leadership shown by Makro General Manager for Poland Sylweriusz Faruga.

I can’t remember a time when the good folks at Foundation Member Makro Cash & Carry didn’t jump in to help our Foundation and our PromiseKids. The new Easter collection will be conducted in all Makro stores from March 20th until April 2nd. If you don’t have a Makro membership card, please let us know and we will see if we can help.

Makro Cash & Carry is a member of the 3rd largest retail group in the world, the Metro Group, and is a wholesaler offering a food and non-food product mix to its registered card-holding customers in a national network of Makro stores in Poland. Makro is a unique food and non-food concept, offering a wholesale solution to professional business needs.

We don’t know how to thank Makro enough. Corporate Social Responsibility is a part of doing business at Makro.

Thank you Makro!

MOTIVATIONAL FOOD

Brzezno is a small Polish town 455 kilometers (282 miles) from Warsaw. Its gray buildings line the road leading from the south. It is the same bland, boxy architecture left by socialism throughout Poland 15 years ago. When it rains, ankle-deep puddles form along the side of the road. A traveling trader under a tarpaulin sells cheap goods from cardboard cartons at the town’s only crossroads. Poland's economic miracle has yet to arrive in Brzezno.

The Brzezno elementary/middle school sits in the very center of the town. It is one of the few buildings with any paint, and it shines in its light pastel yellow, compliments of an EU grant a few years ago.

The shrill clanging of a bell has just drawn the children to the cafeteria window, where they wait patiently as the housekeeping staff passes each of them a hot plate of freshly cooked pork, mashed potatoes, green vegetables and a glass of chocolate milk. Today’s dish is the Promisekid’s favorite. The children slurp it up and smack their lips, faces disappearing behind their tipped-back plates. Nothing goes to waste here.

Magda, a stately woman in a blue smock and a ladle-holding hand on her hip, looks over her domain contentedly. She watches her charges carefully. "I know the children aren't used to warm food at home," she says. “Very often, the meal we serve the kids in school is the only meal they have all day. They can’t get the food in fast enough.”

The PromiseKids really have no idea where their meals come from and who pays the zl. 4.00 per meal cost each school day for them. One thing they know for sure is that the daily school lunch isn’t paid for by their parents who are too poor to feed their own children.

Poland's economy will probably grow this year by up to 2.5 percent. In Warsaw, modern office buildings reach toward the sky, and along many residential streets there are no longer any visible traces of the country's socialist past. But, in Brzezno, there are children going hungry, and more than a quarter of Polish schoolchildren are growing up in poverty. Nowhere in the European Union are there so many poor children as there are in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

"It isn't always alcoholics or people who have failed to make a living that send their children to school with empty stomachs," says Magda. "They don't even have to be unemployed anymore." In fact, despite holding jobs, more and more people in Poland cannot earn enough to feed their families.

Prices for the most important foods rose by an average of 20 percent last year in Poland. The cost of milk rose by over a third, the cost of flour by more than half, and the price of petrol is out of control. "The rise in prices is global and it will continue to get more expensive says the Polish Ministry of Agriculture.

Things have already gotten to the point where little Ania's parents, her father seasonally chops fire wood and her mother cares for Ania and her 4 brothers and sisters, can hardly afford bread and inexpensive cheese. The 8-year-old girl is emptying her plate containing her favorite food. Unlike children in Warsaw, Ania wouldn't dare to dream of eating pizza or hamburgers. An unemployed person in Poland receives a maximum of 800 Zloty ($200) per month for half a year. After that, welfare benefits decrease.

"It's impossible to live on that amount," says school director Marzena Janas, an energetic woman who has committed her life to these poor Brzezno kids. Marzena, like the other 13 school directors in our PromiseLand schools, considers making sure that her charges have full stomachs at least once a day, one of her most important duties. "Poor and hungry children almost never complain," she says. "They can't learn well, they withdraw and they keep their distance as much as possible from school life."

And that is disastrous. The school is the center of life for Brzezno’s children. The only playground equipment in the bleak village, thanks to KFC, is here, and there is no other place for the children to run around and play.

For dessert, Ania receives an apple, which she now carries with her into the classroom. She doesn't like fruit much, but it will fill her up later in the afternoon when she gets hungry again.

Well-fed children not only learn better; they are also more socially interactive. Ania, for example, often stays longer after school and takes part voluntarily in our Foundation’s art and music programs.

In this way, the food provided at Brzezno and all of our 13 PromiseLand Schools has a double effect: Not only are the children fed well; they also like coming to school. Frankly speaking, there is also a third effect for most of the PromiseKids. The Foundation’s free meal is the only reason for some of the kids to attend school at all.

WORLD IS A HAPPIER PLACE DESPITE ECONOMIC GLOOM

The world is a happier place than it was before the financial crisis began; show the results of a poll conducted by Ipsos among 19,000 adults in 24 countries, including Poland. Some 77% of respondents now describe themselves as happy (up three percentage points on 2007), while fully 22% (up from 20%) describe themselves as very happy. Perhaps proving that money can't buy happiness, the top five happiest nations are Indonesia, India, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey. Residents of some of the world's biggest economic powers, including the United States and Britain, fell in the middle of the happiness scale. With 15% of Poles describing themselves as very happy, the country’s result is exactly the same as the European average. (Gazeta Wyborcza online)

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: POLAND WITH HIGHEST GDP GROWTH IN EU

The European Commission has maintained its forecast for this year’s Polish GDP growth, despite lowering projections for many other EU member states, writes Parkiet. Real GDP is projected to increase by 2.5% in 2012, with quarterly real GDP growth stabilizing at around 0.5% over the year, the executive body of the European Union wrote in a report published recently. The document predicts that private consumption growth is likely to be muted, as consumer confidence and the labor market situation are set to deteriorate. Moreover, recent changes in non-tax labor costs and frozen nominal wages in public administration are likely to dampen wage growth, with inflation eroding purchasing power, reads the report. The European Commission also expects Poland’s average HICP inflation to steadily fall to around 3% at the end of 2012, on the back of stabilizing fuel and food prices, inflation-decreasing base effects and weakening domestic demand. Taking into account the higher level at the start of the year, average inflation is, however, projected to reach 3.5% in 2012. (Parkiet)

PESSIMISM GROWS IN SMALL BUSINESS

Fewer small and medium businesses expect improvement in the economy. An increasing number of them think that the world's crisis won't end until 2014. Only 8 percent of entrepreneurs expect the end of crisis this year. "Small business clearly does not expect drastic changes in the economy, but is seriously concerned about the economic future," says Izabella Młynarczyk from Keralla Research, a Wrocław based research firm. Each quarter Kerall Research surveys 600 businessmen around the country asking them to assess the condition of their company and investment prognosis. Slightly more than every fifth business expects improvement in the next couple of months, but every fourth predicts worsening of the economic situation. (Parkiet)

DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE?

Corporate Social Responsibility is the way in which business consistently creates shared value in society through economic development, good governance, stakeholder responsiveness and environmental improvement.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an integrated, systemic approach by business that builds, rather than erodes or destroys, economic, social, human and natural capital.

A committed CEO is crucial to the sustainable success of an organization’s philanthropic initiatives.

A committed CEO has the ability to inspire employee participation in the corporate giving program, and by leading the company’s efforts, the CEO greatly enhances an organization’s credibility to customers and other stakeholders — strengthening public trust and the authenticity of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

IF YOU BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE…JOIN US… WWW.FCSR.PL

ANNUAL MEETING AND CEO BREAKFAST AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012

We have made a few changes in our event schedule this year. Our CEO Breakfast and Annual Meeting will be held on September 28th. We are proud that the InterContinental Hotel will once again host this super event for us. We thank you for all you do for us General Manager Christian Henkemeier. You are the best…

This will be a CEO only event, and we trust that you will mark your calendars accordingly.

DATES TO REMEMBER

June 18, 2012 – Completion of the 2011-2012 Interactive English Program “Dreams Come True”

June 29, 2012 – The end of the school year

August 10-12, 2012 – InterContinental Hotel Scholars Program in Warsaw

September 28, 2012 - Foundation CEO Breakfast and Annual Meeting will be hosted by the InterContinental Hotel

February, 2013 – Ninth Annual Dinner Dance

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies."

-- Roderick Thorp

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