SPAIN CARITAS: Amancio Ortega donation
by Alan Cole
20 million euro public donation new evidence of changing atititude to philanthropy giving from business elite?
Amancio Ortega donates 20 million euros to Spanish relief charity, signalling shift in attitudes to more public philanthropy?
Spain’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, has donated 20 million euros to charity in a single donation, bringing praise from Spanish fundraising professionals.
This is seen as unusual philanthropy practice in Spain, where more discreet donations are the norm.
The 20 million euros donation from the Spanish billionaire via the Amancio Ortega Foundation to Caritas Spain has been described as unprecedented in the history of the Spanish wing of the church charity...
Caritas has said the foundation run by Amancio Ortega is donating €20 million for food, medicines and schools materials.
The donation comes as Caritas and its member organisations across Europe have launched a child and family poverty appeal.
In Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy, for instance, poverty affects a quarter of all children, says the charity.
The huge donation by Amancio Ortega will give impetus to such campaigns, being seen as it is already in Spain as a call to action to other big donors to come forward and help NGOs get thought the current difficult period.
Currently there is little public information about the status of big philanthropy giving in Spain unlike the USA, for instance with its Giving Pledge donors making public statements about their levels of donations and what their charitable interests are.
While evidence of huge donations from philanthropists in Spain is available, in the past such donations have tended to be anonymous.
The lack of anonymity about the recent huge philanthropy gift, combined with the size of the donation is what makes it unique right now.
According to the Spanish Association of Fundraising, there are about four million regular donors, contributing €678 million annually in Spain so there is no lack of support for philanthropy; however again the emphasis is on more discreet giving.
While there is no lack of generosity in Spain, it’s just that times are hard for many and philanthropy experts there say the culture is less showy, than in America, for instance.
One motivation for the public nature of the donation may be the reputation of the charity Caritas which is held in high regard across Spain.
The huge donation it is hoped will provide a role model for other Spanish donors to come forward of all shapes and sizes.
But of course, it will also be seen by international analysts as further evidence of the impact of a certain Mr Gates and Mr Buffett who are undoubtedly setting a rallying cry about the usefulness of the world’s most wealthy to not just give but celebrate the impact and importance of supporting social progress projects, seeking to help the world’s most vulnerable people.
Mr Ortega, one of the world’s richest men, is the founder of Zara store parent company Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion group.
The move by such a prominent billionaire to release his philanthropy details openly, will be seen as new evidence that the lead taken by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in the USA to spend on charity projects during their lifetimes is taking root globally.
Amancio Ortega, listed fifth on the Forbes list of billionaires, with a net worth of 37.5 billion USD, that also makes him the richest Spaniard, has openly pledged the amount to support those facing daily poverty.
Caritas Spain generated 166.2 million euros in private donations last year for its volunteer led projects helping vulnerable people, especially the poor in Spain and across the world.
However, the majority of Spanish NGOs are currently facing huge difficulties generating sufficient funds for their emergency relief efforts, dealing with rising poverty and decreased state funding, especially smaller charities.
With reduced budgets and more hardship cases to deal with it’s a problem that looks set to be resolved only by solidarity from all sections of society.
Whilst Spanish NGOs are still receiving high levels of voluntary skills contributions, ie volunteer time and skills, they are all appealing for increased financial donations to keep up with demand, which has begun to be described in crisis terms.
The Spanish Red Cross, for instance, recently launched an appeal: Now More Than Ever, to help 300,000 people it says are facing severe hardship in Spain.
A 25 strong NGO campaign was also launched this year appealing for solidarity in Spain to help struggling families through the economic crisis, involving charities, including ActionAid and Manos Unidas.
Against such a backdrop the Spanish Association of Fundraising and other fundraising parties in Spain have welcomed the major gesture by Mr Ortega and are encouraging more big players to get behind philanthropy in Spain and help those who are less fortunate.
· 4 years ago