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 10, 2014 Vol. 11, No.36
"Don't find fault, find a remedy."
-- Henry Ford
People always ask me: “How did you become involved in Poland? How did the FCSR begin"? The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this weekend, and the subsequent liberation of countries under the boot of the Soviet Union, seemed to me a good time to pause and look back. Briefly, here is our story…
In 1990, my wife Virginia, daughter Katie and I traveled to Poland on vacation. Virginia had long wanted to visit Poland, the homeland of her ancestors and now that it was a free nation again, it seemed like a good time to do this. We were struck by the aftermath of 50 years of living under Communism: the empty shelves, lack of technology and industry, pollution, block upon block of ugly, gray concrete apartment houses, poor villages and pot holed roads, among other things. We were impressed with the culture, the resiliency and warmth of the people, their eagerness to modernize and desire to become part of the western world. We returned home eager to help and immediately set about working with investment groups, monetary funds, corporations, etc. to bring American business to Poland.
On the social side, I had worked very closely with the American Red Cross and International Red Cross (IRC) in bringing the first cause marketing programs to both institutions. I was contacted by the IRC to see if I could help the financially strapped Polish Red Cross (PRC) adapt some of those methods to raise much needed funds. I worked for two years with the PRC creating a “Care Partners Network”, whereby Polish and International companies formed partnerships with the PRC to raise money.
It was during this time that I became aware of a dire situation in the Northwest part of Poland. In this area, commune farming had been the only source of work for generations of villagers. Now the farms were closed and families found themselves unemployed and without any skills to do other jobs. One day, while traveling in the area, I came upon a long line of people queued up behind an old truck. They were receiving “free cucumbers” from the government. The line was so long because each person had to sign an official document stating their name and the number of cucumbers they received! I was puzzled and concerned. Why would people stand in such a long line for a few free cucumbers? Upon further investigation, I learned more about the living conditions in this area and in particular, about the children. They were not only poor, but hungry, and doing poorly in school. I made a promise to the families, teachers and the kids I met that I would return to what I called, “The PromiiseLand” and help them.
Since the PRC was unable to sustain the program I envisioned, I founded the Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility twelve years ago. Over these twelve years, along with our Corporate members and staff of three, we have: fed the children in this area over 6 million meals,renovated classrooms, instituted after school art and dance programs, developed English language programs, sent our PromiseKids to summer camps, provided cultural and fun trips to the Baltic, to Warsaw and even the United States. Although conditions in this area have improved, the needs still remain and our programs continue to make a huge impact on the quality of life for our PromiseKids and their families.
For those of you who want to know more, visit our website for past newsletters, pictures and links to our history and all our programs at www.fcsr.pl
It has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with so many wonderful Poles and our member companies over these past twenty four years and to be an integral part of this nation’s rebuilding and taking its rightful place among the free societies of the world! Thank you Poland!
We are happy to announce that our brand new program, “English for the Littlest” has already started. As we previously mentioned, for the first time in this shool year, Polish children, ages 5-6, are attending public school – the “nursery kids”! Furthermore, beginning with the 2015 school year, English will be a compulsory subject in these nursery grades. We want our kids to get ahead of curve, so we started our own program. We began in three schools with 86 nursery kids and use teaching materials from the YDP (Young Digital Planet) program, “English for Kids (4-7) Penguin Alex and Friends”.
As you can see, we have a very enthusiastic group of students, very excited about learning their new language!
Our own Meg Ciucka is their equally enthusiastic teacher!
Here are two links to join in on the classroom activities:
While our 11th Annual Dinner Dance on February 9, 2015 may seem far in the future, Basia and the kids are already busy with rehearsals and all the preparations that go on behind the scenes to make it the spectacular show it always is.
Those of you who have attended in the past, know the costumes are always exceptional. And it all begins in the very creative mind of Basia Kolacinska, who not only choreographs the production, but designs all the costumes and props. And as is the case with most artists, it all begins with pencil and paper…
Don’t forget to call Natalie today to order your table. The price of a table remains the same at 2400PLN!.
While we are not a political organization, this article from the Wall Street Journal seemed appropriate on this 25th Anniversary of the downfall of the Berlin Wall and a tribute to Poland’s recovery,
The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program
Extreme poverty fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990. Credit goes to the spread of capitalism.
DOUGLAS A. IRWIN
Nov. 2, 2014
The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991.
Such stunning news seems to have escaped public notice, but it means something extraordinary: The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world.
To what should this be attributed? Official organizations noting the trend have tended to waffle, but let’s be blunt: The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. Over the past few decades, developing countries have embraced economic-policy reforms that have cleared the way for private enterprise.
China and India are leading examples. In 1978 China began allowing private agricultural plots, permitted private businesses, and ended the state monopoly on foreign trade. The result has been phenomenal economic growth, higher wages for workers—and a big decline in poverty. For the most part all the government had to do was get out of the way. State-owned enterprises are still a large part of China’s economy, but the much more dynamic and productive private sector has been the driving force for change.
In 1991 India started dismantling the “license raj”—the need for government approval to start a business, expand capacity or even purchase foreign goods like computers and spare parts. Such policies strangled the Indian economy for decades and kept millions in poverty. When the government stopped suffocating business, the Indian economy began to flourish, with faster growth, higher wages and reduced poverty.
The economic progress of China and India, which are home to more than 35% of the world’s population, explains much of the global poverty decline. But many other countries, from Colombia to Vietnam, have enacted their own reforms.
Even Africa is showing signs of improvement. In the 1970s and 1980s, Julius Nyerere and his brand of African socialism made Tanzania the darling of Western intellectuals. But the policies behind the slogans—agricultural collectives, nationalization and price controls, which were said to foster “self-reliance” and “equitable development”—left the economy in ruins. After a new government threw off the policy shackles in the mid-1980s, growth and poverty reduction have been remarkable.
The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branko Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown...
Capitalism’s bad rap grew out of a false analogy that linked the term with “exploitation.” Marxists thought the old economic system in which landlords exploited peasants (feudalism) was being replaced by a new economic system in which capital owners exploited industrial workers (capitalism). But Adam Smith had earlier provided a more accurate description of the economy: a “commercial society.” The poorest parts of the world are precisely those that are cut off from the world of markets and commerce, often because of government policies.
Some 260 years ago, Smith noted that: “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Very few countries fulfill these simple requirements, but the number has been growing. The result is a dramatic improvement in human well-being around the world, an outcome that is cause for celebration.
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.