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ING and UNICEF: Working Together for Children and Education

Summary

By: Laura De Santis, UNICEF

ING, a global financial services company and one of UNICEF’s strongest partners has made a commitment to support UNICEF’s goal of providing basic quality education to every child, another step towards achieving universal primary education as set out in the Millennium Development Goals.

Since 2005, ING has been partnering with UNICEF through the ING Chances for Children Program to contribute towards the goal of providing children with opportunities to learn and build a solid foundation for a brighter future. To date, ING has raised over € 20 million for UNICEF education projects in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and Zambia, providing over 700,000 children with access to education.

ING employees are the cornerstone of the program’s success. Since the launch of the program in 2005, ING employees have donated their time and money to UNICEF projects and for the many local ING Chances for Children initiatives, which encourage employees to support local organizations dedicated to children’s education. ING contributes to their efforts by matching their donations to UNICEF. Within the spectrum of exciting activities, a few examples stand out in their capacity at leveraging fundraising and volunteer opportunities, involving ING employees, subsidiaries and ING clients. ING’s support goes beyond its generous financial contributions; it also engages its employees in the shared work for children. For instance, its Corporate Volunteer Program has linked its employees in India with school headmasters to improve India’s education system. Together they developed a training manual, which already has been used to train more than 400 headmasters and school directors in management skills.

Every year around November 20th – the UN International Day of the Child – ING encourages all of its employees to dedicate their time to activities in support of children. From Amsterdam to Mexico City, ING employees engage in volunteering or fundraising activities aimed at giving children a better chance in life. Last year 24,433 employees across 34 countries participated; meaning more than a quarter of their entire workforce was simultaneously connected through a common purpose.

In December 2011, ING implemented an interactive campaign involving ING customers and employees in the Netherlands. They joined together for the Santa Claus on the road campaign, where Santa traveled on a virtual fundraising journey for UNICEF to deliver Christmas e-cards with holiday messages. For every 10 virtual kilometers covered by Santa Claus during this Internet mission, a donation was made. In one month over € 100,000 was raised for UNICEF. An additional innovative campaign was launched in 2011 by ING Direct Spain. By downloading an application on a smartphone, the user donated € 0.79 to UNICEF. The mobile phone became a virtual school, interacting with the website www.llevalosalaescuela.com where there were thousands of children willing to go to school. Those children jumped from the website into the smartphone on the way to the classroom. The campaign was a great success and collected over € 300,000 in a month’s time.

Another great and equally important example of ING’s support for UNICEF is their help in case of emergency situations. During several disaster relief efforts such as Haiti, Sichuan (China), the floods in Pakistan, and a few months ago support towards the Horn of Africa crisis, the donations from ING employees around the world started coming in.

Just recently ING has renewed its commitment to UNICEF for another three years. The agreement takes the six-year collaboration a step further in giving children across the world a chance to a better future. The scope of the support will be broadened. Dailah Nihot, Head of Sustainability at ING states, “Besides the great results that were already achieved in the past six years, we look forward to taking on new and interesting opportunities for the partnership. One significant step that we will take is expanding the ING-UNICEF supported programs to include financial and entrepreneurial elements. In that way we will be able to deliver core business knowledge from our company into the partnership.”

For further information please contact Laura De Santis, UNICEF Geneva.