During the year 2011 NRW.BANK continued to exercise corporate citizenship by supporting public and social life in North Rhine-Westphalia. This commitment is in line with its mission statement and its corporate responsibility.
NRW.BANK’s corporate citizenship is guided by its resolve to foster creativity, ideas and responsible action. Within this framework, the Bank focuses on sponsorships related to education in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the year 2011, NRW.BANK expanded its competence in the area of “Science and Education” through the following projects:
According to a scientific study, playing chess has a positive impact on children’s development already from age three in that it promotes spatial and logical thinking as well as social skills and the ability to integrate. This is why the Bank supported the “Schach für Kids” (“Chess for Kids”) project by providing chess sets and training materials to selected kindergartens in the area covered by the federal-state programme “Soziale Stadt” (“Social City”). The project aims to roll out “Chess for Kids” throughout North Rhine-Westphalia.
“Qualified physical education on a daily basis at primary schools not only improves children’s physical fitness but is also a catalyst for more motivated learning and better results even in cognitive subjects.” As a contribution to early childhood education, NRW.BANK therefore supports the “Klasse in Sport – Initiative für täglichen Schulsport e.V.” (“Initiative for Daily School Sports”, KiS) initiative in its goal to optimise primary school sports both in quantitative and qualitative terms.
Working in cooperation with the Association for Media Education and Communication Culture (GMK), NRW.BANK designed a state-wide study. Its objective was to determine the required conditions for action-oriented pedagogical practice in the early childhood area and the inclusion of (digital) media. The educational principles, which were newly developed for North Rhine-Westphalia and are currently still in a test phase, provided the basis. The results of the study and the project ideas to be deduced from them are expected to become available in 2012.
Since 2008, the Bank has sponsored the “Schulpartnerschaften” (“School Partnerships”) project in Düsseldorf and Münster, the locations of its dual head offices. This project benefits four schools directly. To provide students with career guidance, specialist service providers implement customised presentations, workshops and advisory sessions at the participating grammar schools and secondary schools. Both the teachers and the students were quite unanimous in appreciating this programme which was felt to add value to their career choice process.
For several years, the Bank has successfully partnered with “STARTER & Co.”, an initiative of the “Partner für Schule NRW” (“Partner for Schools North Rhine-Westphalia”) foundation. The annual “Schüleridee des Jahres” (“Student's Idea of the Year”) event was one of the focal points of this cooperation. As this event will not be continued in this form, the Bank joined the foundation in developing a new student competition on the topic of “Ideas and Projects for the Utilisation of Renewable Energies” to be launched in 2012.
Launched in 2008, the “ROCK YOUR LIFE!” school project offers students with educationally underprivileged backgrounds career advice and personalised support in continuing their education at a higher-level school or getting a start in working life. The project trains university students to act as volunteer mentors for a student during his or her last two years at school. The goal is to instil the required confidence in their mentees so that they can go on to live self-determined lives. Currently operating in just under 20 locations in Germany, the initiative makes a successful contribution to improving fairness in the education system for students from disadvantaged social backgrounds. The “ROCK YOUR LIFE!” initiative will use the funding from NRW.BANK to build a sponsorship base in Münster.
Following on from a pilot project successfully launched in 2009, NRW.BANK continued to exercise its corporate responsibility through the creation of external apprenticeships during the reporting period. The Bank sponsored a number of additional apprenticeships for secondary school graduates in companies working as service providers for NRW.BANK. This allows to train young people in trades and professions where the Bank cannot offer training internally. Five young people are currently benefiting from this programme which has given them a career start as a chef, as a professional building cleaner or as electronics specialist for facility management. NRW.BANK plans to expand this field of social sponsorship and to support the creation of another four external apprenticeships in 2012.
In 2011, NRW.BANK decided to sponsor 39 grants for dedicated and talented young university students. Starting in 2012, the grants will be offered at universities participating in the NRW-Stipendienprogramm (NRW student grant programme).
During the reporting period, NRW.BANK supported the North Rhine-Westphalian chapter of “Arbeiterkind e.V.” (“Working Class Kids”). The charity’s volunteer mentors provide working-class children with guidance on a variety of issues related to going to university – from initial encouragement to consider this kind of higher education and orientation during the starting phase to advice on student loans and motivation to finish the course and achieve a degree.
In addition, the Bank sponsored two events for the benefit of students in 2011, assisting the young organisers in realising their ideas:
- The “Symposium Oeconomicum” is a one-day economics conference which takes place annually in Münster. This event is designed to promote exchange between students and business leaders, scientists, prominent social figures and politicians.
- “MUIMUN” (Münster University International Model United Nations) is an annual simulation of a UN conference for students from all over the world. Its purpose is to promote understanding between nations and stimulate international exchange of ideas.
In the area of “Science and Education”, the Bank continued its policy of supporting academic institutions focusing on financial research and housing. The beneficiaries were the Institut für Kredit- und Finanzwirtschaft (ikf) at Bochum University, the “Centre for Financial Research” (CFR) at Cologne University, the “european center for financial services” (ecfs) at Duisburg/Essen University, the Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD) at TU Dortmund University and the Institut für Kreditwesen (ifk) at Westphalian Wilhelms-University Münster. Apart from an annual basic grant of € 10,000 per institute, NRW.BANK provided a separate budget which allows participating institutes to apply for funding of interesting projects..
In 2011, the Bank supported another pilot project, namely the first „Schlaun-Wettbewerbs“, a competition initiated by Münsterländer Architekten- und Ingenieurverein e.V. (an association of architects and engineers in the Münster region). The competition invites entrants to draft an urban development concept for the eastern and western part of the railway track in the city centre of Ahlen. The brief calls for innovative and sustainable solutions which shape and evolutionise the urban and natural spaces in the area. The competition is open to students and graduates in urban planning, architecture, landscape planning and civil engineering up to the age of 35. The award ceremony will take place in mid-2012..
“100 Jahre Robert Schmidt – 100 Jahre regionales Denken und Handeln im Revier” is the name of a project which will take place in 2012 as a joint effort of Ruhr Regional Association (RVR), TU Dortmund University, Fachhochschule Dortmund and Gesellschaft für Stadtgeschichte und Urbanisierungsforschung e.V. (GSU). The topic of discussion will be the future of the metropolitan Ruhr region from the viewpoint of regional planning. The organisers hope to receive answers to a number of pressing issues including the demographic development, the differences in social standing among the urban population as well as the medium-term forecast of stagnating and dramatically shrinking spaces.
The Bank will be the exclusive sponsor of the summer academy organised as part of the project. Up to 50 students from planning-related courses at all North Rhine-Westphalian universities can participate. Awards will be offered for the three best solutions outlined for future developments in the metropolitan Ruhr region.
NRW.BANK’s sponsorships in the area of “Art” focus on fostering young talent. For several years, the Bank has sponsored young photographers by organising a competition for the professional design of the NRW.BANK.Kunstkalender, its annual art calendar. This competition meanwhile attracts considerable attention among young photographers, as can be seen both from the number of entries and the improved quality of the submissions. The theme for the 2011 calendar, “Spaces of encounter in North Rhine-Westphalia”, was interpreted by Tobias Vollmer.
The 2012 art calendar was designed by competition winner Felix Gemein, born in Hilden in 1985, and Ola Kilber, born in Rudny in 1982, under the title “Lakes, rivers and other bodies of water in North Rhine-Westphalia”. The second prize worth € 1,000 was awarded by the Bank to Vladimir Wegener, Essen, and the third prize worth € 500 was won by Natalie Bothur, Cologne.
Next year, NRW.BANK’s art calendar will be devoted to the topic of “energy”. The young photo designer Sebastian Mölleken will implement his concept under the title “Variety of energy generation in North Rhine-Westphalia”.
The year 2010 saw the launch of an unusual project at NRW.BANK in Münster – a cooperation with the class of Professor Köpnick at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster. This cooperation resulted in an exhibition entitled “Fourteen answers to the question about photography” which remained on show for two years. The Bank’s building in Münster was one of the subjects featured by the young photographers. Regular guided tours of this exhibition were offered also during the reporting period.
Documentation of the exhibition “Fourteen answers to the question about photography”
Moreover, NRW.BANK is already preparing another exhibition in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Münster. Scheduled to open in autumn 2012, this exhibition expands the Bank’s cooperation with the academy:
A competition was organised for the artistic design of two atriums at NRW.BANK in Münster. At the end of 2011, a jury composed of professors from the academy and the Managing Board of NRW.BANK shortlisted three concepts. While first place went to the joint entry submitted by Melanie Bisping and Clara Napp, the second and third places went to Sabine Huzikiewiz and Sujin Seo.
Following a personal presentation of the ideas by the artists, the Bank’s Managing Board chose the two winning concepts, namely “Interplay of reflection and transparency” by Melanie Bisping and Clara Napp as well as “Illuminated stairs” by Sujin Seo. NRW.BANK will support the implementation of the two ideas with grants of up to € 5,000 per atrium. The pieces of art will remain on show in the building for two years.
In the focal area of “Culture”, the Bank continued its long-standing sponsorships for such activities as the internationally renowned “lit.COLOGNE” literature festival, the equally renowned International Short Film Festival Oberhausen as well as the new Ruhrtriennale cycle which started in 2009. Within the context of the “Innovationspool” project of the Ruhrtriennale, a young film maker was given an opportunity to produce a film about the Ruhrtriennale which was shown via various online media during the festival and remains posted on the NRW.BANK website.
2011 saw a number of cultural highlights around mid-year when the Bank sponsored concerts staged in cooperation with Düsseldorf’s “Altstadtherbst” festival and the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Westfälischen Kulturarbeit e.V. (GWK).
The cooperation with the “Altstadtherbst” festival came to fruition already for the third time. As in the previous years, the concerts took place in the Bank’s foyer in Düsseldorf. The Bank demonstrated its commitment to the performing arts by opening its doors to a music-loving audience on two nights. A young local band called “Stabil Elite” performed on the first night, followed by French bass clarinet player Thomas Savy on the second night. Catering services were once more performed by NRW.BANK employees. This corporate volunteering effort allowed the proceeds of the beverage and snack sale to be donated to kindergartens with a focus on music in Düsseldorf. A total of approximately € 1,200 was handed over.
Last year, GWK benefited from the Bank’s support in developing “CHAPEAU Classique”, a new concert series featuring high-calibre young chamber musicians. NRW.BANK’s staff restaurant in Münster served as the venue of one concert which saw a masterful performance by Anita Farkas (Western concert flute), Simone Seiler (harp) and Zeynep Köylüoglu (bassoon). Here, too, hospitality services were performed by NRW.BANK employees who thereby raised some € 850 for the Freundeskreis der Westfälischen Schule für Musik e.V. (“Patrons of the Westphalian School of Music”).
NRW.BANK also places great importance on its sponsorship of Nordrhein-Westfalen-Stiftung Naturschutz, Heimat und Kulturpflege. This foundation supports charities, associations and volunteer groups willing to contribute to one of the foundation’s three themes for the benefit of future generations. Through its sponsorship the Bank supported the expansion of a three-dimensional multimedia simulation of steel production at the Hoesch-Museum Dortmund, the protection of biodiversity in the environs of the Blankenburg as well as the Biological Station Gütersloh/Bielefeld. The latter offers educational measures and hands-on guided tours to introduce children and youth, in particular, to the protection of endangered species and nature in general.
As described under “Art & Culture”, NRW.BANK has, for several years, sponsored young photographers by organising a competition for the professional design of the NRW.BANK.Kunstkalender, the Bank’s annual art calendar.
The competition for the 2013 art calendar entitled “Variety of energy generation in North Rhine-Westphalia” has been concluded in the meantime. The Bank again received a large number of compelling competition entries and has chosen Sebastian Mölleken from Oberhausen as the winner. Thomas Steuer from Dortmund and Miriam Otte from Berlin made second and third place, respectively. We once again thank all participants for their entries.
The North Rhine-Westphalian section of “Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung e.V.” aims to improve the social inclusion of mentally handicapped people and their families. The Bank’s sponsorship enables the charity to expand its state-wide advice line for parents of handicapped children and to purchase a pre-owned compact car so that counsellors can visit families with handicapped members at home.
The mission of Deutscher Kinderschutzbund e.V. NRW, the North Rhine-Westphalian section of the German Child Protection Association, is to promote the implementation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child and to enforce children’s rights. A sponsorship undertaken by NRW.BANK helps the charity expand its “Child Protection Competence Centre” where its employees receive training on the subject of child endangerment so as to enable them to respond professionally to cases of neglect and abuse of children.
Another charity benefiting from NRW.BANK’s support for its activities in North Rhine-Westphalia is Bundesstiftung Kinderhospiz. Its mission, which the Bank considers to be of great importance for society, is to spread and publicise the concept of children’s hospices and to lobby for the interests of life-limited children.
Even though food is abundantly available in Germany, many people suffer food shortages. The “Tafeln” organisation has made it its mission to alleviate such hardship by collecting “excess” food of immaculate quality and distributing it to people in need. During the reporting period, NRW.BANK supported the charity’s local food banks in Geldern and Windeck-Eitorf which urgently needed refrigerated vehicles for transporting collected food.
Single parents are often under strong pressure both in their working and private lives. Last year, NRW.BANK supported a “self-help” pilot project in cooperation with the AHG-Gesundheitszentrum. The idea was to offer preventive training courses to provide single parents with guidance on how to shape their day-to-day lives without compromising on their own personal needs (such as closeness, autonomy, physical well-being and self-enhancement) or the basic needs of their children. NRW.BANK funded a course comprising twenty 90-minute classes for 14 participants.
In 2011, the “Leuchtende Kinderaugen” Christmas charity was organised as a corporate volunteering effort for the fourth time. Children living in a number of designated orphanages sent in their Christmas wishes on self-made stars which were hung from two large Christmas trees at the Bank’s Düsseldorf and Münster offices. Employees were free to pick a star and make the wish come true. The presents were handed over by NRW.BANK employees in time for Holy Night. This volunteering effort by NRW.BANK employees resulted in 271 presents being distributed for Christmas 2011.
Moreover, two North Rhine-Westphalian charities benefited from NRW.BANK’s annual Christmas donation in 2011:
- Förderverein Fähre is a charity which integrates mentally handicapped persons into working environments and local communities. Some 70 to 80 people are currently undergoing special work training to find a new self-determined role in life. NRW.BANK’s donation supported the funding for these special work places..
- Christophorusschule in Bonn is a special school of the Regional Association of the Rhineland (LVR). At the school, over 200 handicapped students receive special education and support to enable them to lead a largely independent life. NRW.BANK supported a theatre project organised by the school.