Involvement of the bank in pro-social activities
[GRI 102-12] For many years, the bank has been initiating and implementing social projects combining business objectives with initiatives for all stakeholder groups. In accordance with the slogan of the current Strategy, the bank develops relations with the community, actively performing activities for and with the community. It supports educational, civic, cultural and sports events and projects. The bank is a socially responsible institution for which freedom and attachment to tradition are natural values. Therefore, it conducts activities that consolidate awareness and national identity, supporting the development of national heritage and popularizing the ideas of modern patriotism. The bank implements this mission, among other things, through sponsorship and patronage of institutions and events.
Both the bank, as a part of its sponsoring activities, and Fundacja PKO Banku Polskiego (the Foundation), as a part of its charity activities, verify every partner and beneficiary of the support provided. No negative impact on the bank’s image was identified in 2019 in these areas. Care for the rationality of the sponsorship and charity policies pursued is achieved through the synergy of activities. In the Foundation, the Programme Council consisting of representatives of the bank takes care of this. The bank and the Foundation implement projects jointly or separately in the most important programme areas in terms of image, such as culture, tradition, education and sport. Furthermore, the Foundation performs activities, the objectives of which are social welfare, protection of life and health and ecology. On the one hand, such a division of commitment to programme areas strengthens the bank’s image-related benefits, while on the other, it broadens their range.
a) Sponsorship activity
The sponsorship activities of the bank are aimed at promoting the bank’s image as a reliable financial institution, socially involved, modern and open to its customers’ needs. Another objective of sponsorship activities is to present the bank as a financial market leader setting new trends and development directions for other institutions with the same profile.
An important aspect of the bank’s sponsorship activities is its commitment to projects inspired by history, promoting patriotic attitudes and the cultural heritage of our country. The bank joins in and supports cultural events, such as exhibitions and concerts organized for anniversaries of important historical events or commemorating the achievements and attitudes of outstanding Poles. In 2019 the bank celebrated its 100th anniversary, which was communicated during some of the official events and in media releases associated with projects.
The bank implements sponsorship projects at both the national and local level and focuses on the following areas:
- culture and art – protecting the Polish cultural heritage, popularizing high culture;
- science and education – promoting sciences, taking care of the economic education of young Poles, supporting educational projects that promote digital solutions in finance;
- sport – encouraging physical activity, promoting mass sports, including running (often combined with charity events and events commemorating important events from the history of our country) and football though a partnership of the bank with the Polish top football league;
- business – supporting Polish entrepreneurs, developing entrepreneurship and promoting innovation;
- events important for local communities – promoting the bank’s image as an important and active partner of business communities, local governments and cultural centres.
Principles of sponsorship policy
The bank’s sponsorship policy is governed by specific principles and a several-stage process of reviewing and accepting offers that are submitted. An important stage is its expert assessment, made on the basis of the following parameters:
- the importance of the project;
- its business and/or image potential;
- the credibility of the organizer, ensuring an appropriate level of execution;
- the business environment in which the bank appears as a sponsor;
- the budget.
Offers that are accepted are sent to the Sponsorship Committee, which guarantees that the proposals under consideration will be considered with due regard to the facts and comprehensively.
In 2019, the bank received 888 new applications, of which 270 were accepted. Overall, 317 sponsorship projects obtained financial support in 2019 (in addition to 270 new projects, 47 projects initiated in the previous years were continued).
Examples of support in the most important areas
- Business: support of business events (e.g.: Congress 590, Economic Forum in Krynica, European Financial Congress and Vision for Development Forum) as well as sectoral projects (e.g.: Retail Banking Congress, the Polish Chemistry Congress, the Railway Congress, the Air Market Congress), participation in industry competitions, e.g.: the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Competition, the Polish Firm – International Champion Competition. The bank became involved in IT events, such as the Academic Championship of Poland, the Academic Championship of Europe and the International Collegiate Programming Contest, the Independent Nationwide Data Analysis Contest, the Woman in IT Career Day or Warsaw Java Meetup. The bank took an active part in events promoting innovations in banking. They included: the Blockchain Hackathon, the UX Poland conference and the international programming marathon Hack Yeah. The bank actively supported projects aimed at promoting modern technologies and young firms, such as the Infoshare conference – one of the largest technological conferences in Poland, which creates an ecosystem combining fintech with business, in which more than 6 000 persons and more than 300 startups participated in 2019. During the Infoshare conference, the bank promoted a platform for innovation development called “Let’s fintech with PKO Bank Polski” by talking to startups and seeking the most promising technological solutions available on the market.
- Culture: cooperation with museums, philharmonic orchestras, operas, theatres and film festivals. Support of anniversaries of important historical events or commemorating famous Poles, e.g. 200th birthday of Stanisław Moniuszko. For many years, the bank has supported the Ale Kino! International Young Audience Film Festival, which promotes valuable international films for children and adolescents. The bank’s support made it possible to eliminate barriers preventing access to the Festivals by e.g. decreasing the ticket prices. The Ale Autobus! action carried out in primary schools provided transport to the cinemas in Poznań for children who were the most active in the SKO programme. Children from underprivileged and poor social groups can take part in the Festival free of charge. As part of the celebrations of the bank’s 100th anniversary, an exhibition entitled “Art is an asset. From the PKO Bank Polski’s collection”. The exhibition was the outcome of long-lasting cooperation between the National Museum in Warsaw and PKO Bank Polski, which is a partner and sponsor of many of the museum’s projects. The contemporary art collection of PKO Bank Polski was created in 1998 and the works were selected by Anda Rottenberg, who in the mid 1990s amassed the works of outstanding Polish artists representing three generations, such as: Stefan Gierowski, Jan Tarasin, Łukasz Korolkiewicz, Zofia Kulik, Teresa Murak and Olga Wolniak More than 30 out of the 70 works of art in the collection were on display at the exhibition.
- Sport: partnership in important sports events.
The bank supported 37 running events throughout Poland in 2019 as part of the “PKO Bank Polski. Let’s Run Together” programme. The following should be noted in particular: PKO Bieg Niepodległości (the Independence Run) in Warsaw, PKO Bieg Powstania Warszawskiego (the Warsaw Uprising Run), PKO Bieg Konstytucji 3 Maja (the Constitution of 3 May 1791 Run) in Warsaw, PKO Białystok Półmaraton (the Białystok Half Marathon), PKO Bydgoski Festiwal Biegowy (the Bydgoszcz Running Festival), PKO Nocny Wrocław Półmaraton (the Wrocław Night Half Marathon), PKO Poznań Półmaraton (the Poznań Half Marathon), PKO Półmaraton Rzeszów (the Rzeszów Half Marathon), and the runs in the PKO Grand Prix Gdynia series. As part of the “Let’s Run Together” programme, free of charge running training as part of the “BiegamBoLubię” [IRunBecauseILikeTo] campaign are organized at nearly 100 athletic stadiums throughout Poland. The activities are managed by professional trainers and they are open to all those who want to ensure their good physical condition and well-being. Apart from the running events, the bank also supported other prestigious sports events, such as Cavaliada – a series of International Show Jumping Contests and the Sail Szczecin Days of the Sea 2019. PKO Bank Polski is the main partner of the Polish Extra League (Ekstraklasa). As part of this cooperation, a number of initiatives were taken, including social media channels, cooperation with the “Magazyn GOL” TV programme, player escorts for matches and a number of contests. By engaging in long-term cooperation with Ekstraklasa, the bank wants to contribute actively to development of the league and young football talents in Poland. One of the events that support this objective is the election of the PKO Bank Polski Young Player of the Month, i.e. the best Polish football player under the age of 21. At the beginning of the year, Official Ekstraklasa Cards – the images of payment cards with various football clubs – were presented. It is the only such product on the market, which was very well received by the customers and the media. The cards provide a number of benefits for football fans, e.g. their holders may win invitations to matches of their favourite teams (also to the special Fan’s Couch located near the sideline). In the second half of 2019, the bank launched the Partnership Programme for the Ekstraklasa clubs – a project aimed at supporting development and innovation in sports marketing. This new initiative will allow the clubs to obtain significant extra funds from the promotion of bank products among their fans. It is the first project in the history of Polish football, which may so significantly improve the financial stability of football clubs.
Support for the Polish National Foundation (PFN)
The bank is one of the founders of the Polish National Foundation (PFN), the mission of which is to “promote our successes in science, extensive culture, wonderful history and unique nature”. According to the PFN’s by-laws, each of the founders was obliged to make contributions to the Foundation’s founding fund and make annual payments towards the organization’s activities for 10 years (starting from 2017).
b) Charity activities
Principles and objectives of the charity activities
The Foundation substantively and financially supports projects of importance to the development of Poland, implemented for and in consultation with the local communities, serving the purpose of building civic society.
The scope of the Foundation’s activities is specified in the Foundation’s By-laws, while the principles of cooperation between the bank and the Foundation are governed by the agreement Grants awarded by the bank based on the resolutions of the Management Board constituted the main source of financing of the Foundation’s statutory objectives in 2019. Additionally, the bank transfers to the Foundation a part of the profit generated on noncash transactions concluded with charity cards Inteligo Visa payWave “Dobro procentuje” [Good pays interest](130 000 customers of the bank hold such cards). The support is designated to one of the four charity initiatives, selected by the customer.
In 2019, the Foundation received 1 114 applications for granting monetary donations for social activities. 592 projects were approved. 86 applications remained to be considered in 2020. The donation is transferred under a donation agreement concluded and between the Foundation and the project partner.
The Foundation also transfers donations in kind to non-governmental organizations, in the form of IT hardware and furniture withdrawn from use from various banking units. In 2019, furniture was donated to 60 organizations.
Examples of support in the most important areas
- Tradition: supporting initiatives that consolidate national awareness, support the development of national heritage and develop civic attitudes (the Foundation works, among other things, with the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the Maciej Frankiewicz Foundation, and the Cultural Heritage Foundation);
- Education: cooperation, among other things, with the Siemacha Association, the Youth Initiatives Foundation, the Polish Economic Society, the Museum of Jozef Piłsudski in Sulejówek and the Jagiellonian Club on the Academy of Modern Patriotism project;
- Hope: help for people under threat of exclusion, victims and the disabled in cooperation with, among other things, the Disabled Drivers Association “SPiNKa”, the Aid for Widows and Orphans of Killed Police Officers Foundation, the Friends of Integration Association.
- Environment: aid for initiatives that inspire sensitivity to nature and teach respect for nature. The initiatives that received support include:
- the art contest “Nature is your friend – respect water, respect forests” on environmental topics for children from foster families, occupational therapy participants, assisted housing residents, pupils in special education – combined with a lecture on environment protection;
- the Wisłobadacze (River Vistula Explorers) project, organized by the River Vistula Year Foundation, consisting of a series of environmental workshops on the River Vistula for Warsaw schoolchildren;
- the project of the Batory Secondary School Foundation on the protection of the coral reef water ecosystem in Australia, carried out in cooperation with the international organization IVHQ, as part of which educational materials on environmental protection and global problems associated with climate changes were prepared.
The Foundation also implements its own projects, including:
- Integration Santa Claus Meetings for children in institutional care and children of the bank’s employees. More than 5 000 children took part in group Christmas fun in 2019 at 40 meetings in 25 towns in Poland. Gifts were distributed to 6 000 children of the employees of the bank, the Bank’s Group and cooperating entities; the activities were supported by 70 volunteers;
- The Banking Honorary Blood Donation Campaign, the objective of which is to raise further generations of honorary blood donors. 1 722 people joined the campaign in 2019, thanks to whom nearly 800 litres of blood were provided to those in need;
- Charity running campaign “I am running for…” 70 events were organized in 2019 and 42414 runners participated in them, collecting PLN 799 000, from which 82 persons benefited (61 children and 21 adults). A total of 448 such events have been conducted since the start of the programme, i.e. since 2013, with nearly 202 700 people taking part, while the Foundation supported 511 beneficiaries with more the PLN 6 075 million;
- PKO Charity Run – 9 248 people took part (both adults and children). The runners ran a total of 44 862 laps. 5 725 athletes took part in the main run, and 3 523 children took part in the PKO Young Charity Run. Thanks to them the Foundation designated PLN 1066 million for 47 child care institutions, for additional extracurricular activities. Moreover, the supporters who were the best at cheering on their relay teams could choose an additional charity purpose for which the Foundation gave PLN 130 000, supporting 17 institutions and three persons (medical treatment). Moreover, as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the bank, a family picnic was organized, during which whole families could take part in fitness games or relax after the race.
- The bank’s Collection – as part of the programme promoting the works of young artists, the Foundation performed a number of actions aimed at supporting and promoting Polish modern art: it organized and financed open air painting events for art schools and individual exhibitions of outstanding students. It also supported “after the hours” artistic activities of bank employees by showing their works (stained glass, jewellery, paintings, etc.). Events organized as part of the programme also included an exhibition of a patient of the Warsaw Hospice for Children and young people with Down’s syndrome from the Special School No. 105 in Warsaw;
- Aid for a start – a project financed with funds generated by the bank’s charity campaign “Pomaganie przez zbliżanie” [Helping through getting close]. The aim of the project was to provide financial aid to charges of children’s homes, institutions and foster care who have attained full age and those who have left an institution or foster care. The purpose of such aid was to support the process of gaining independence and equal chances with the rest of the society. The project was executed with the support of 52 volunteers (bank employees) from all parts of Poland. It was the first large project of this type in which so many employees of the bank were involved in the regions. 128 persons received support as a result of the actions taken. The aid was mainly addressed to persons beginning an independent life.
- “Busola na start” [Compass for a start] – an original project of the Foundation executed in cooperation with the bank. This project is a response to an important social need, which has been noted in the NIK (the Supreme Audit Office) report “Aid for young adults brought up in foster care who are starting an independent life” published in December 2014. The actions focus on helping young people find internships/ on-the-job training with a perspective of finding permanent employment. A skilled person who works with young adults on a daily basis teaches the participants practical skills that are needed in adult life. At the same time, the participants develop their professional skills and other practical skills in the bank’s structure to facilitate the process of starting an independent life outside the institution. Up to the end of 2019, 22 interns were taken in and 4 of them were subsequently employed.