PZU as a socially responsible company is aware that the best way to respond to the needs of local communities is to give the initiative back to them. By addressing the Helping is Power prevention campaign directly to them, it encouraged communities to define the needs existing in their surroundings. It also provided them with a tool to take action for the common good.
The “Helping is Power” campaign was launched in March 2018 and was continued in 2019. PZU gave local communities the initiative to influence improvements in safety and health in the local community. Inhabitants cooperated with non-governmental organizations increased their engagement in order to identify the needs existing in their communities and had the opportunity to act for the common good in line with the slogan of the “Healthy and safe family” campaign.
In 2019, the Helping is Power campaign had more than 4 million beneficiaries and local communities received co-financing of more than PLN 3.7 million, to be used for local activities aimed at improving safety and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The additional direction of this prevention campaign was that support was organized for voluntary fire brigade units. As a result, the units had the chance to apply for funds to purchase specialized rescue equipment.
The total co-financing amount provided to the firemen was over PLN 5 million. The aid was awarded to 306 Voluntary Fire Brigade units, which were equipped with specialist equipment, including:
Aid to people
The PZU Foundation awards subsidies to people in a difficult life situation. It supports them mainly by financing treatment, rehabilitation, purchase of medication and rehabilitation equipment. In 2019 subsidies were awarded to 385 individual.
Cooperation with the National Children’s Fund - scholarships for gifted children
The aim of the Foundation is to promote education of children and youth, support talents and equalize opportunities for people who, for various reasons, suffer from impediments, as well as to increase access to cultural and social goods, that is to further the broadly defined development of civic society. The PZU Foundation supports several areas, including education, in particular the initiatives that level the playing field and create conditions for better intellectual, professional and cultural development of children and youth.
The PZU Foundation has been the partner of the National Children’s Fund since 2012. Under the “Gifted Persons Aid Program”, it finances annual scholarships for students from primary, junior high and high schools from across Poland – young scientists, musicians, artists and dancers. The goal of the program is to provide comprehensive and substantive support of the participants, by organizing camps, workshops, seminars, research internships, concerts and exhibitions. The projects are implemented in cooperation with leading academic centers.
In the 2018/2019 school year 533 students were qualified for the program.
PZU Foundation’s grant contests
Grant contests are programs addressed to non-government organizations, whose activity is consistent with the areas of activity of the PZU Foundation and the scope defined in the regulations of the individual contests. Non-governmental organizations as defined in the Act of 24 April 2003 on Public Benefit and Voluntary Activity, i.e. foundations, associations, student sports clubs implementing projects in rural areas and small towns, which have the best knowledge of local problems. Such knowledge of critical needs of small communities is a guarantee that the planned activities will be implemented correctly.
PZU Foundation has been running nationwide subsidy contests continuously for 15 years, in which it assists non-governmental organizations in implementing projects for the benefit of local communities in small towns and villages. The “After School with the PZU Foundation” contest supports organizations that develop interesting and creative additional activities for children and youth. The “Young Able Disabled with the PZU Foundation” contest supports activities that increase self-sufficiency and activity of disabled persons, while the “PZU Foundation with Culture” contest expands access to high culture.
In 2019, grants were awarded to carry out 69 projects that benefited 6,070 people.
Ideathon – CAN DO!
This is the first event in Poland organized by nine companies associated in the Human Explorers initiative – social Ideathon. Its goal was to work out new solutions for improving the employment situation of people with disabilities. The social partner of the event was the Integration Foundation. Alior Bank, along with other companies, wanted to show the world a new form of social engagement – competence-based, creative support of a social partner in its social activities.
The employee volunteerism program has been in operation in PZU since 2012 and it is enjoying ever greater interest among employees. The PZU Foundation coordinates the nationwide and regional volunteerism programs while the domestic Employee Volunteerism Coordinator collaborates on an ongoing basis with PZU’s Regional Volunteerism Leaders.
In November 2019, a training course for PZU Regional Volunteerism Leaders was held in Chorzów. The focus was on overcoming fear through activities to the benefit of the ill, in particular children. It was a time to get to know each other, for leaders to integrate and to acquire new knowledge and new skills.
During the training, leaders took part in the volunteerism campaign organized in cooperation with the Iskierka Foundation. Christmas trees were built in three locations at the same time – at the John Paul II Upper Silesian Child Health Center, John Paul II Upper Silesian Child Health Center, Prof. Stanisław Szyszko Independent Public Clinical Hospital No.1 and in the office of the Iskierka Foundation. Volunteers helped the sick children in drawing, painting, cutting, forming colorful ornaments, which they later hanged on a green Christmas tree that they painted green together.
Every year the PZU Foundation organizes two editions of the contest entitled “Volunteerism means the joy of action” in which grants are awarded to employees in amounts up to PLN 5 thousand to put their ideas into action. Every employee who would like to get involved in helping others and exert an impact on his or her surroundings can submit an application. The detailed contest rules are laid down in the Rules and Regulations that are in force in PZU and PZU Życie.
The PZU Group’s Employee Volunteerism Rules and Regulations are in force in PZU and PZU Życie.
“It was very interesting and surprising. I still got strong reflections until today. I was able to face something that I had never seen and I had never even thought of approaching a subject like that. So I tore down the wall that I built through my own internal fear. For me, that was the training of my life. I already know that I made memories that will stay with me forever. For me, the most important thing was that I encountered something that I had never experienced, something that I feared and I had never thought about during my worst moments.”
“When I come back from our meetings, I am filled with amazing, positive energy!
I read a quote somewhere that fits our situation and the people that we helped over the weekend:
“Because life is not about weathering a storm. It is about learning how to dance in the rain.”
“I highly value the training courses offered by the PZU Foundation. I expanded my knowledge, but I'm still going through the next stages of my feelings. Experience, joy, reflection, emotion, distance to many things – those are the feelings that I had for this year’s campaign. The subject was difficult but the area is definitely worth learning about. In the hospital, in the cancer ward, I got to meet wonderful kids who, though weakened by the disease, are amazingly joyful and feisty, like all children. Talking to other leaders always inspires me as a volunteer, a professional and as a human. I am really glad that I was able to meet such amazing people on my path: RLW, people from Iskierka, the kids and their very brave parents.”
The PZU Academy of Volunteerism Leaders is a group of employees running information and promotional activities linked to employee volunteerism at a regional level. It currently includes 47 PZU Regional Volunteer Leaders who regularly engage in social activities. The PZU Foundation organizes special trainings for leaders, improving their competence and ability to communicate about volunteerism activities, encourage commitment and motivate employees.
VOLUNTEERISM – KEY FIGURES for PZU and PZU Życie
|Regional volunteerism leaders||40||47|
|Volunteers unrelated to the company invited to volunteer by employees||753||997|
|Number of hours spent doing volunteer work by PZU employees||11,674||17,873|
|Number of hours spent doing volunteer work by people unrelated to the company||11,105||18,619|
|Number of PZU employees’ proprietary volunteerism projects||77||109|
|Number of volunteerism campaigns organized by the PZU Foundation||4||8|
|Number of beneficiaries||12,945||175,823|
The “Paint the world for me” project was implemented together with the Senior’s Center and schools and kindergartens in Opole. All the works created during the happening were exhibited in various institutions in Opole: in the City Hall, Senior’s Center, care facilities, PZU branch and the main railway station.
Volunteers built a portion of a communication route: they purchased gravel and rubble and then prepared the substructure. They also helped with the work in the barn and in the stable. Everyone took part in the workshops with a shelter employee and dogs to learn the language of animals and become more sensitive to their needs. At the end, in line with the zero waste philosophy, they made toys that were subsequently sold during the open day in the shelter.
In June 2019 they organized an innovative integration event in Piastowo near Milejewo. There was a beach volleyball, table tennis and horseshoe throwing contests. The competition was attended by people with different disabilities, people on wheelchairs as well as healthy individuals. Within the project’s framework they additionally organized the 2nd Squash Integration Tournament. The aim of the tournament was to verify the skills acquired so far. It was a reward for the past results in the area of life and sports skills and, what is the most important, social integration, breaking of barriers and stereotypes. Competition in such conditions creates an opportunity for rehabilitation through sports.
Volunteers from PZU adapted the room to therapeutic purposes, renovating it from grounds up: applying plaster, installing gypsum boards, suspended ceiling and painting the walls. The last stage was to lay down the flooring panels and equip the room.
The Bank joined its partner’s campaign entitled “Great Collection of Books”. It is a nationwide social campaign, which is supported by both private individuals (as donors) as well as institutions such as kindergartens, schools, offices, museums (as collection points). The bank’s employees were not the only ones who became involved in the great collection of books; 100 branches played a role of open collection points, where anyone could bring books donated for the purpose of the campaign. Approximately 36 thousand books were donated to the Foundation, which passed them on to hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, orphanages and other institutions. When Alior Bank’s branches joined the “Great Collection of Books” initiative, the campaign was able to expand from 7 to 77 towns across Poland.
1 In 2019, employees implemented a total of 109 initiatives