Our intention in making donations is based on social objectives: We want to encourage achievement, help to create an open society, and contribute to a sustainable community. The focus of DZ BANK’s corporate citizenship on academic research, education, social causes, and arts and culture is enshrined in our donations policy. In 2016, the joint central institution donated a total of around €694,000 to charitable causes – 67 percent more than in the prior year due to the merger of DZ BANK and WGZ BANK.

Academic research and education

As in previous years, our focus within the area of academia and education is on financial studies and the cooperative movement, and is primarily manifested through our support for the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft [German Benefactors’ Association for Science and Learning]. Its motto of ‘Gifting education, creating knowledge, enabling innovation’ symbolizes the shared responsibility of companies and foundations for science and education. In 2016, we also provided particular support to research into the cooperative movement conducted by the universities of Cologne and Münster and by the German Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen Association.

Another priority for us is providing help in our home city of Frankfurt am Main: We support the Frankfurt School, the Frankfurt Main Finance association and, in particular, the House of Finance at the city’s Goethe University, which has emerged as an influential forum for dialog between academia, politicians, and financial practitioners.

Interdisciplinary research in the area of finance: the House of Finance

We continued to provide support to the House of Finance in 2016. The House of Finance is an interdisciplinary research and teaching institution for finance and financial law at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Through our involvement, we want to help the House of Finance expand to become one of Europe's leading centers for financial studies.

Commitment to the German Historical Information Center for the Cooperative Movement

DZ BANK supports and is actively involved in the Genossenschaftshistorisches Informationszentrum [German Historical Information Center for the Cooperative Movement] in Berlin. Established in 2005, the foundation explores and protects the cooperative movement's heritage. It also promotes dialog between universities, other academic organizations, and interested members of the public. The GenoFinder information platform provides access to historical sources and literature for academic research on cooperatives. The history of the cooperative movement is brought to life in publications, lectures, events, and exhibitions. The center is also a point of contact for researchers and the general public.

Social causes

In 2016, social causes accounted for 22 percent of our total donations. This included supporting the Frankfurt children’s office again, to which we and our employees made a Christmas donation to help children and young people in need. Another important cause is the Childaid Network foundation, which our employees have been supporting for eight years. Childaid Network helps children and young people in India who would otherwise have no access to education. As part of our 2016 Christmas initiative, employees donated €46,000 to which a further €20,000 was added by DZ BANK. This sum is enough to look after 157 street children in India for an entire year, including care, accommodation, clothes, food, and schooling or training. A number of actively engaged employees maintain close contact with the children’s homes in north-east India. We also supported the Aktion Deutschland Hilft charity as well as other organizations with a Christmas donation. Aktion Deutschland Hilft is a federation of established German relief organizations. It aims to ensure that donated money is used more effectively and to provide rapid and coordinated help to people in need.

The Aktive Bürgerschaft [active citizenship] foundation features heavily in corporate social responsibility activities across the cooperative financial network. DZ BANK also supports this foundation and is a member of its advisory council. The aim of the foundation is to give information and advice about civic engagement and to provide volunteers, multipliers, and supporters with education and training.

The initiative encourages people and organizations to take an active role in society, for example by making endowments, donating, or volunteering. Another of its aims is to promote the development of civic engagement, both in theory and in practice. Since the end of 2014, the foundation has been continuing the work of the Aktive Bürgerschaft association, which was set up in 1997.

One of the Aktive Bürgerschaft's special projects is called 'sozialgenial – schoolchildren get involved'. It was launched in 2009 on the initiative of the former WGZ BANK to promote educational opportunities among young people and to encourage them to support social causes. Examples including helping senior citizens, reading stories to children in preschool, and getting involved in environmental protection work with nature conservation organizations. At school, participants combine their civic engagement with topics covered in subjects such as politics, German, or biology. Now, 80,000 students at more than 600 schools are involved in 2,000 sozialgenial projects. A cooperation agreement is in place with the federal states of Hessen and North Rhine-Westphalia, which are represented by the Hessen Ministry of Culture and the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry for Schools and Education.

Culture and the arts

In 2016, our activities in the area of culture and the arts were focused as usual on our home city of Frankfurt and included a significant donation to the Städel Museum. At its Düsseldorf location, DZ BANK has been the main sponsor of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein since the 2010 / 11 season. We doubled the amount of support that we provide at the start of the 2012 / 13 season and extended it to include the Ballett am Rhein. In 2017, this successful partnership was extended until 2019. We also made donations to the SchifffahrtMuseum im Schlossturm shipping museum in Düsseldorf and Münster’s municipal Stadtmuseum last year. In addition to donations, DZ BANK supported various cultural institutions by being a member and paying membership fees.

DZ BANK art collection

The DZ BANK art collection, which predominantly features contemporary photography, has been a main area of focus in our long-standing cultural involvement since 1993. In 2016, we mounted four exhibitions in our 300m² ART FOYER exhibition space, which is open to the public. Each of the exhibition openings was attended by around 200 people and the exhibitions were accompanied by free brochures, films, a Kunst für Kids workshop week and 142 guided tours for all age groups. Our publicly accessible reading room, which contains more than 3,000 volumes, gave visitors the opportunity to explore the artistic photography in greater depth. Deeper insight into the exhibitions and their contexts was also provided by artist Q&As and a panel discussion on the topical subject of art in the era of digitalization.

The notion of getting employees within the company to engage in a dialog with art was one of main reasons why the collection was started in the first place. Having art displayed in the workplace creates a space that can inspire and facilitate communication. Exhibitions for staff and tour groups were mounted on 36 floors of the Westendstrasse 1 skyscraper in 2016. Employees were able to vote for which artworks they wanted to be displayed on their floors. They could choose from six curated exhibitions that had previously been on show in our publicly accessible SCHAUFENSTER exhibition space in the foyer of the Cityhaus II building.

The project involving the artist Loredana Nemes, who took photographic portraits of more than 60 employees, proved particularly popular. After having been on display in the SCHAUFENSTER, it is featuring as an exhibition on the individual floors of our Westendstrasse 1 skyscraper in 2017.

The DZ BANK art collection is not simply about presenting the collection and its individual works. It is also responsible for their preservation. So in 2016, we installed a large sliding wall system especially for the DZ BANK art collection in our 265m² climate-stable storage facility on the premises of the artwork logistics company Hasenkamp in Kelsterbach. This is designed to keep the artworks, which hang on walls made of rolling grills, in optimum condition. Hasenkamp Frankfurt's eco-friendly warehouse building is well insulated and heated by condensing boiler technology.

‘UNICEF Photo of the Year 2015’ exhibition

From September 29 to October 21, 2016, we displayed the winning works from the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year 2015’ competition in our SCHAUFENSTER exhibition space in Frankfurt. The award-winning photographic works depicted children caught up in the refugee crisis. Each year, the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year Award’ recognizes photos and photo series that document the personalities and living conditions of children worldwide in a compelling or unusual way. DZ BANK supports this prestigious photography competition in its capacity as sponsor.

Long-standing partnership with the Städel Museum

We have a long-standing partnership with Frankfurt's Städel Museum, one of Germany's foremost art institutions. The museum, which was formed from a civic foundation, sees itself as a living platform for creative exchange. In 2008, DZ BANK and Städel Museum together founded a jointly held private limited company, to which a total of 220 works by 76 artists have been transferred. These works constitute the basis of the Städel's photography collection. The photographs are presented to the public in temporary exhibitions and alongside loans from the DZ BANK art collection in the Städel Museum's Gartenhalle gallery, where the contemporary art collection has been on permanent display since February 2012.

Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts

Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts is one of the city's major institutions and has national importance. Its 63 professors and 350 lecturers teach some 900 students from all over Germany (as at April 2017). The university offers over 20 different courses in music, dance, acting, and direction.

Partner of the Deutsche Sporthilfe Foundation

DZ BANK has supported the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation for many years and continued to do so in 2016. Having initially started as a citizens’ initiative, the institution upholds the values of achievement, fair play, and cooperation – values that also apply to us and our employees. Since its establishment in 1967, the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation has sponsored around 50,000 up-and-coming and elite athletes from more than 50 sports.

DZ BANK is a partner in the mentoring program of Deutsche Sporthilfe’s Springboard for the Future – Sport & Career initiative, in which executives and decision makers from industry act as ‘sparring partners’, door openers, and long-term career advisors for top young sportsmen and women sponsored by the foundation. Senior managers from leading companies advise and assist the athletes on aspects such as choosing a career, gaining practical experience, applying for jobs, and entering the world of work. In 2016, the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation’s mentor program featured 150 mentee / mentor pairings, of which 14 ended with the athlete in question successfully finding a professional position. DZ BANK has made a long-term commitment to this program and, among other activities, enables the mentors to meet regularly with the athletes whom they mentor. In addition, five of our executives have themselves signed up as mentors.

Support for the parliamentary system

DZ BANK’s donations to political parties only support the parliamentary system as a whole. Donations are therefore made to nationwide parties that are committed to the German Basic Law and the model of a social market economy.

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