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THE FOUNDATION FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS A NETWORK OF 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 6 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 3, 2014 Vol. 11, No.35

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
-- Maya Angelou

WHAT A DIFFERENCE 25 YEARS CAN MAKE!

The average Polish start-up owner is 27 years old and is working on the third business idea he or she had, according to a report issued by business accelerator Business Link, on the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in Poland.

Though 25 years ago the Polish economy was based on state-owned assets, now some 67 percent of the country’s GDP is generated by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, Business Link stressed. Young Poles are keen to establish their own companies, cherishing such values as independence and creativity, the report said.

The vast majority of Polish start- up owners (93 percent) are aware that university education does not prepare for being an entrepreneur; 68 percent say that the government does not support start-ups and 67 percent see high taxes as a barrier. Nevertheless, 89 percent believe that now is a good time to start one’s own business and 70 percent say that Poland is a good place to do so. The polled start-up owners are also ambitious. Some 67 percent want to be market leaders in the future and 52 percent want to promote Poland abroad.

POLES CELEBRATE ALL SAINTS DAY

One of our fondest memories of living in Poland was the evening between the celebration of All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Halloween is not observed in Poland like it is in the United States, but All Saints Day recalls the ancient aspect of the Halloween tradition of how the worlds of the living and of the dead collide. November 1 is a national holiday, with schools, government offices and most businesses closed. It offers Poles the opportunity to recognize not only the deceased members of their famiy, but the saints and heroes who have gone before them.

Why would such a day be so memorable?

On this night, all cemeteries, from the smallest village plots to national burial grounds are visited. Candles, as well as flowers are placed on graves, as the living say prayers for the deceased. Family members consider it an obligation to travel from all over Poland to visit their family cemeteries, no matter where they are located. Families bond together, decorate the graves, pray and remember those they've lost. It is a very touching sight to see generations come together in such a way and share in this celebration.

The cemeteries themselves are spectacles to behold. Not only do people decorate their own family graves, but old and forgotten graves and those of strangers are decorated as well. No one is to be forgotten.The graves of important Poles, from poets to politicians and all military tombs are also honored.

Candles in colorful glass jars numbering in the thousands, light up even the smallest of cemeteries and an evening that might otherwise be considered sad and mournful is turned into one of great beauty and light! It's an incredible sight!

The next day, All Souls Day, takes on a more solemn atmosphere. While families continue to visit the cemeteries, following traditional Catholic practice, it is a day set aside to pray for those souls who have yet to find their way to Heaven.

POLISH GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE MINIMUM WAGE

The Government has stated it is set to increase the minimum wage to PLN 1750 ($583) per month in the coming year. Speaking on Tuesday, PM Donald Tusk announced the figure is set to rise by PLN 70 from its current level of PLN 1680 – which has been the figure since January of this year, reports TVN.The PM also made a point of highlighting the fact that this new increase would be a higher amount than the legal statutory requirement of PLN 1,731.

“For the first time in recent years we have been able to raise the wage more than we are obliged to by the statute and this shows that we are breaking the damage of the crisis and we are treating this as a good start,” the PM told reporters. Mr. Tusk also stated the Government will be introducing new changes to help make life easier for self-employed people. “These changes will deal with issues such as VAT settlements and will be more in line with other European nations,” he said.

COMPANIES INCREASE CORPORATE GIVING

Citing improved performance, a majority of the world's largest companies increased their giving between 2010 and 2013, a report from CECP finds.

Based on a survey of two hundred and sixty-one companies conducted in association with the Conference Board, the 2014 Giving in Numbers Brief found that 64 percent of respondents increased their corporate giving in 2013 from 2010 levels, with the 52 percent of companies that boosted their giving by more than 10 percent reporting a median increase in revenues of 11 percent. The survey also found that the increase in giving was driven in part by a rise in non-cash gifts, including product, pro bono, and other in-kind contributions; and that education — including both K-12 and higher education — was the most popular issue area, followed by health and social services.

In addition, the survey found that 59 percent of companies provided paid-release time volunteer programs for their employees in 2013, up from 51 percent in 2010; that the median number of hours volunteered grew 37 percent; and that 50 percent of respondents offered pro bono service programs, up from 34 percent in 2010. While 76 percent of respondents reported measuring the social impact of their investments and using the data to inform their programs, many indicated they were just beginning to do so.

"As CECP and companies build the business case for investing in solutions to societal challenges, we are very interested in seeing that generous companies are doing well financially," said Michael Stroik, manager of research and analytics at CECP. "Investors, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders are increasingly judging a company’s value by its stake in the community, as the data suggest."

POLES ARE PUTTING AWAY THEIR CIGARETTES

The number of smokers has decreased from 12.5 million (38 percent of the entire population) in 1995 to 8.5 million (26 percent) in 2013, according to the 2013 Social Diagnosis survey. Poles consume some 46/6 billion cigarettes a year, which is 26 billion fewer than in 2006. Its not that Poles are quitting smoking, but the younger generations are less eager to pick up smoking in the first place, said Prof. Janusz Czapiński, the author of the survey.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR PROMISEKIDS

Our Dollar a Day program may be just what you have been looking for and the PayPal method of delivering your money makes it so easy. We pay just about $1.00 to feed one hungry Polish child a hot-meal per school day, $20.00 per month, $200.00 per year. Click PayPal below to contribute.

DATES TO REMEMBER

February 9, 2015 - 12th Annual Dinner Dance

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says 'I'm possible."

-- Audrey Hepburn

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