Support to social initiatives
Building a civil society, in particular through activation of young people, is a strategic goal of Bank Zachodni WBK’s corporate social responsibility activities. We invest in ambitious and creative young people, inspire them, create room for cultural and social development and promote the idea of shared responsibility for the community. Our organisational culture is based on similar values.
We have been supporting valuable social and cultural initiatives for many years. We believe that in this way we contribute to the development of social capital and the creativity and talents of many people.
The originators of the Santander Orchestra project are Bank Zachodni WBK and MyWay Foundation, with the support of Krzysztof Penderecki European Music Centre. This unique project addressed to young talented musicians and music lovers launched in 2015 combines the idea of playing music with training and education in such areas as self-presentation, communication with the media and finance and copyright law and promotes important values such as collaboration, creativity and determination in pursuing goals.
Santander Orchestra 2016 in numbers:
persons in the audience
records on the market
hours of recordings
In 2016, sixty four young, talented musicians from all over Poland, working under the direction of outstanding conductors, tutors and music professors who are recognised in Poland and abroad, perfected their skills and prepared for a concert tour. The project ended with two concerts performed – at a special invitation of Ms. Elżbieta Penderecka – during the 20th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Lusławice and Warsaw attended altogether by more than 1,600 people.
In October 2016, the Santander Orchestra recorded their first album with the compositions of Frederic Chopin and Antonín Dvořák. The album was released in November, at the time of the Orchestra’s concert in the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The orchestra was accompanied by the piano performance of Krzysztof Książek, participant of the 17th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition. On the second day after its release, the album won the gold record award. The Santander Orchestra’s album was voted the record of the month by the prestigious ResMusica.com magazine. The record is available both in the traditional format on a CD and on the most popular digital music platforms, such as Spotify, Amazon MP3 or Apple Music.
BZ WBK Press Photo
The BZ WBK Press Photo competition was held for the twelfth time in 2016. Submissions were received from 348 professional Polish photographers. 156 photographs and 33 photographers were awarded. The participants competed in six categories:
- Everyday life
- Culture and art
The awarded photographs were selected out of the total number of 6,000 submitted photos by a judging panel chaired by Maciej Jeziorek from the Polish Photographers’ Agency Forum and composed of Anna Brzezińska-Skarżyńska, Waldemar Kompała, Chris Niedenthal and Agnieszka Rayss.
Photo of the Year
The awarded photograph is part of a photo essay in which Joanna Mrówka shows the dull daily reality of a large family in a small Polish village called Broniszów. Despite difficult living conditions, the family members support each other in the performance of daily duties, help each other at work and have fun together. When the father who works abroad returns home for Christmas, the younger children follow his every step.
This year, the winners are both well-known, recognised photographers and a number of first-time participants.
The Award of Bank Zachodni WBK went to Maciej Gillert for the photographs of the happy Poland’s football coach Adam Nawałka after Poland beat Ireland and qualified for the Euro Cup 2016.
The winner of the Honorary Mention of Bank Zachodni WBK is Wojciech Grzędziński, the author of a photo essay showing the participants of the Santander Orchestra cultural and educational project, during their stay in Lusławice.
All awarded photographs were presented at exhibitions in 16 cities of Poland, from April 2016 to January 2017. During each exhibition an additional event was held – a free of charge two-day photography workshop for amateur photographers led by a famous young photographer Karolina Jonderko.
What is it like to be a father in Poland? What is the role of a father in the family? Such questions inspired Konrad Kruczkowski, the author of the ”Hello Earth” blog to write a series of highly emotional and touching reportages under the common title ‘Hello Dad’, supported by the bank since 2016.
‘Hello Dad’ is a cycle of stories of real people e.g. a father with a disability, a deaf father of deaf children or a man who runs a foster home. It is also an attempt to create a catalogue of men for whom fatherhood is an important, conscious choice. The blogger observes how his characters are doing in this role, accompanies them in their daily reality and documents their fatherhood.
The story called ”We Are Deaf” received the Teresa Torańska Award from Newsweek. In 2016, Kruczkowski for the second time received the Blog Forum Gdańsk Award for a Socially Responsible Blogger. The ‘Hello Dad’ project also received the first award in the Social Campaign 2016 competition, in the category of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The stories accompanied by short videos are published on the author’s blog. Through social media, the content reached 2,600,000 people and the videos had more than 500,000 viewings. The final outcome of the project is the publication of a book.
The project touches on a very sensitive subject. I looked for a partner who would believe in the idea and would understand that it is not only my passion but a work that needs to be done. I don’t believe that a feature story can change the world but I think it can change an individual. We describe real people and we must not lose them out of sight. We should not rush either. Bank Zachodni WBK gave me a chance to do this project and I want to make most of it.
All the stories and films created under the Hello Dad project can be viewed HERE. opens in new tab
Buy from Your Neighbour
An important element of our educational activity is the dissemination of knowledge about economic patriotism, the state budget and public finance. WE want to promote the idea that even the smallest consumer decisions have impact on the budget of both the local administration unit and the entire state. The Buy From Your Neighbour project targets students, teachers, parents, local authorities and local companies from the. sector. The programme supports local entrepreneurship, enhances social relations and membership of the community and promotes shared responsibility for the quality of life and condition of the municipality. Its integral part is economic education in local schools in the forms of lessons and presentations delivered by volunteers from Bank Zachodni WBK. The students learn how to recognise a Polish product, what are the different kinds of taxes and why they should be paid and how the state budget and local government budget are set up.
Employee volunteering includes all kinds of initiatives in which the employees of Bank Zachodni WBK voluntarily engage, devoting their private time and using their skills, in order to support the activities and projects of non-profit organizations. The bank’s employees have taken part in volunteering activities for many years with the support of the Bank Zachodni WBK Foundation
Last year, more than 660 employees participated in various volunteering projects of Bank Zachodni WBK. The bank’s Foundation donated approximately PLN 196,000 to 65 different projects.
The main goals of volunteering projects include the development of employees, broadening the horizons and increasing one’s self-esteem. Every volunteer develops the necessary competences and skills, such as, for instance, cooperation and teamwork, leadership or creativity.
Volunteers propose their own ideas for valuable activities and attract additional sponsors and partners. The implemented projects have to respond to the real needs of local communities. In 2016, the bank’s volunteers organised, for example:
- Christmas parties at day care centres
- charity events
- collection of food products and school supplies
- educational and cultural trips for children from orphanages
- blood donation events and registration of bone marrow donors
- aid for disadvantaged families and people affected by disasters and accidents.
of food collected for food banks
new entries in the DKMS database following the Bone Marrow Donation Day
more than 240
children from disadvantaged families have received school starter kits as part of the “Back To School” campaign
children received Christmas gifts under the project called the Santa’s Messenger
Four years ago I knew nothing about volunteering. I learned how much it is worth through my own experience. My husband got seriously ill and needed blood of a very rare group. Many people who were absolute strangers opened their hearts to us at the time and donated blood for my husband. My first step towards volunteering was a resolution that I will donate blood on each anniversary of that event, although I have a sever needle phobia. And so I have become an honorary blood donor. Volunteering is for me a way to satisfy my need to help other people and depart from the material world around us. Volunteering brings people together. Being a volunteer I can make a change to the lives of other people. When I share my knowledge or skills with others it makes me feel happy because I strongly believe that good deeds return with greater goodness. My skills and competences can be useful for other people.
Volunteering is for me a way to tap the huge potential which is in each and every of us. It is a way to share the things we have with other people who need it. I take part in volunteering projects together with Ania Zapłata a colleague who I met during the ”Leaders of the Future” development programme. We like to feel that what we do brings tangible effects. Working in a volunteer team with Ania, we generate a synergy effect (2+2 = 5 or even more). When we help other people, we feel we can move mountains. It gives us so much satisfaction that it is hard to describe it in words. Our hearts swell with pride when we see the smiles and happy faces of the children we work with in our volunteer projects. Additionally, each time we learn something new.
Volunteering changes you a lot. It has an impact on what we are like or what we are becoming like. I can see that when I look at my colleagues who joined us once and now want to do it for ever. We are also learning a lot, for instance time management, planning, logistics and effective use of resources. Sometimes we realise that the more we have to do, the better use we make of our time.
Volunteering is for me an opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills and, at the same time, share them with other people. Helping other people is a great value in itself. It is a chance to go beyond our job duties. Volunteering gives a lot of strength, positive energy and happiness, because a smile on the face of another person is a source of power and an incentive to continue helping others. I have a real impact on what’s going on around me and I am not a passive observer. I can actively counteract local issues and challenges.
Volunteering Project of the Year – We Award the Best Ones
One of the ways to promote and encourage activities for the benefit of disadvantaged people, the natural environment or local communities is the annual competition ”Volunteering Project of the Year” in which all bank’s employees can vote for the best project. The winners receive addtional funds for their social activities from the Foundation of Bank Zachodni WBK.
The title of the best volunteering project of 2016 went to ”Cook with Bank Zachodni WBK” project implemented by the volunteers from Cracow. The goal of the project was to provide support to „My Family” children’s home in Pawlikowice near Wieliczka.
A special type of employee volunteering practices in our bank is skill-based volunteering. Its idea is based on sharing specialist knowledge which our employees are experts at e.g. subjects related to banking and finance, as well as to management of organisations and teams, marketing advertising and many more.
In 2016, the following skill based volunteering activities took place:
- The Bank Zachodni WBK Foundation, in partnership with the Regional Police Headquarters in Poznań, organised in 2016 a project called ”Two Ends of the Net” which tackled the subject of cyber-security in the form of presentations delivered by police experts and volunteers from the bank.
- 74 volunteers delivered lectures in financial educations.
- Our volunteers also took part in mentoring activities addressed to students.
In the Northern Macroregion, we deliver lectures at the Gdańsk University and the Copernicus University in Toruń. We tell the students about the bank’s transformation, marketing of banking services, the world of bank managers and about personal development while working for the bank. We want to show them that we are not dull bureaucrats browsing through piles of documents but people with a true passion who help customers finance their ventures. It is also a very valuable experience to us. We meet young, clever people and learn how they perceive financial institutions. They often inspire us to introduce changes in recruitment processes and help us understand young employees of the bank better.