Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience

Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein launched the Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience in 2012. The prestigious Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are presented to VIG Group insurance companies in recognition of their outstanding commitment to social initiatives. The prize money for these three Günter Geyer Awards for Social Conscience totals EUR 100,000. It must be earmarked for charitable causes and social initiatives, and is provided entirely by Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein.

Because children are our future: equal opportunities for the youngest members of society

For the second time, Wiener Städtische Versicherung won the Gold Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience. Austria’s largest life insurer is set apart by its broad range of support measures aimed at helping children and young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. As one of the original CAPE10 partners, Wiener Städtische was not only involved in building this special meeting place, it also supports the facility’s day-to-day operations and the continued provision of this vital service: CAPE10 is a centre for people affected by poverty and/or poor health, especially women, children and teenagers. The multi-storey, roughly 5,000m2 building houses various social and healthcare institutions, as well as several catering outlets and the Wiener Städtische Schauplatz event space. CAPE10 aims to open up low-threshold access to new experiences for its target audience in a range of areas, including education, art, culture and sport. Unsheltered and unhoused people are supported by volunteer medical specialists and social workers. Women who are experiencing homelessness can approach the Obdach Ester organisation as a first point of contact at the facility 365 days a year.

Wiener Städtische also supports the Vienna Children’s University and sponsors 80 day tickets for the Vienna Children’s University each year, which gives children between the ages of 7 and 12 who are living in social institutions a hands-on opportunity to explore the world of science. Participants can attend special lectures at a total of seven universities in Vienna, join in workshops and learn about a wide variety of subjects presented in a child-friendly way. The university experience concludes with a graduation ceremony. In addition to sponsorship activities and financial support, the company provides all 3,000 enrolment bags – including a registration package complete with student ID, T-shirt and various other goodies – for students of the Vienna Children’s University free of charge.

Wiener Städtische is also committed to promoting reading and writing among children and teenagers, as well as enabling numerous schoolchildren to attend theatre plays, operas, operettas and concerts through its targeted support for various cultural projects. It also partners the Caritas-operated *peppa girls centre, which provides girls and young women with a protected space that is set aside for private exchange, learning support, new skills development and joint activities.

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Wiener Städtische sponsors 80 Children’s University of Vienna day tickets every year. © Wiener Städtische

A big heart for children and Romania’s environment

Social responsibility sets the tone at Romanian insurer Asirom: as part of the company’s “We all do good deeds” programme, employees suggested various activities that they would like to form the focus of their volunteer work. In total, the company made a financial contribution to ten schemes. Volunteers also visited children undergoing treatment at Craiova regional hospital’s paediatrics, paediatric surgery and paediatric oncology departments. The young patients’ faces lit up as they received parcels packed with toys, sweets and toiletries. Sick children in the hospitals in Dolj County were also given Christmas presents, as part of a joint project organised by Asirom employees and health magazine Ziarul Sanatatea. A total of 42 children aged between 6 and 16 from disadvantaged families in the village of Cojesti in Calarasi enjoyed a good meal and were also presented with toys. Another volunteer activity focused on a greening project on a stretch of the river Arieș in Campeni.

In Romania, one Christmas tradition is for young children to put cleaned and polished shoes by the door on the night of 5 December. At least they do if they are hoping for presents from St Nicholas. Sadly, there are still children in Romania today who only rarely receive new clothes and/or shoes. To help address this, a total of 72 Asirom employees donated money to help buy shoes and clothes for children affected by poverty. The company doubled every donation, meaning that more than 200 children in need ended up receiving shoes and clothes.

Asirom employees not only have a strong sense of social commitment – they are also extremely sporty: so much so in fact, that 55 employees took part in the Bucharest marathon which attracts runners from all over the world. Synonymous with community spirit, this annual event works with a number of charitable organisations. The money raised by the Asirom marathon participants was donated to Pădurea Copiilor (Children’s Forest), which has already rehabilitated over 100 hectares of land and set itself the goal of creating new forests in 100 communities in Romania’s Sud-Muntenia region by 2025. Asirom is being honoured with the 2023 Silver Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience for its exceptional commitment and, more specifically, its employees’ socially-minded activities.

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The money raised by the Asirom marathon participants was donated to Pădurea Copiilor (Children’s Forest). © Asirom

Employees as Ambassadors of Good

In the spirit of best practice, Bulstrad Life has adopted Hungarian VIG Group company UNION Biztosító’s Ambassador Programme and tailored it to its own purposes: a select group of Bulstrad Life employees are responsible for choosing and organising Social Active Day activities. Within the company they have the honorary title of Ambassadors of Good. Under the programme, a total of 13 social projects were implemented throughout Bulgaria specifically to help people displaced by the war in Ukraine. Activities included organising support with integration issues and helping people find work, a day trip to Mount Vitosha with Ukrainian women and children, sorting clothing donations together and organising a souvenir-making workshop for a charity bazaar.

Other Social Active Day activities included serving food to people in need, carrying out cleaning work in a senior citizens’ centre and taking part in handicraft sessions with children and young people with special educational needs. In the wake of the severe flooding that hit the municipality of Karlovsko, Bulstrad Life employees joined the clean-up operations, helping to clear mud, rubble and sand from the local farms and houses of flood victims. And employees helped to renovate the enclosures, feeding stations, drinking troughs and huts at a municipal animal shelter for strays in Plovdiv.

Individuals displaced by the war in Ukraine also received support independently of Social Active Day, including donations of food and canned goods from employees for Ukrainian mothers and children. The company also made a generous donation to the VIG Family Fund, which was set up with an initial allocation of EUR 5 million by the management of VIG Holding shortly after the outbreak of the war. The funding is intended to cover part of the medium and long-term cost of rebuilding the war-torn country and to support families of Ukrainian Group company employees directly affected by the conflict during the reconstruction process.

Bulstrad Life also has a long-standing partnership with the Ready for Succes initiative, which rewards academic excellence by providing scholarships for orphans and children who have lost one parent. The company has provided scholarships for the past 12 years. Bulgaria’s Bulstrad Life won the 2023 Bronze Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience for its wide-ranging social commitment.

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For many years, Bulstrad Life employees have been involved in a day center for children and young people with intellectual disabilities as part of their Social Active Day. © Bulstrad Life