Social Week took place between 11th and 19th February throughout Spain. Over these nine days, one in every three employees from CaixaBank, ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation and CriteriaCaixa took part in some of over 5,000 activities that around 1,500 social entities organised in all Spanish provinces. Social Week came to a close on 10th March by celebrating Volunteering Day in 12 cities.
Map of activities developed by employees
CaixaBank President, Jordi Gual, maintained that “CaixaBank would not be what it is today if our financial work had not been accompanied by the Foundation. Our entity has inherited the hundred year old reputation of ”la Caixa” and so we are a bank with a social vocation extolling the intrinsic values of quality, trust and commitment to socio-economic development of people and the territory.” For Gual, "CaixaBank's strong social commitment is a unique, unwaiverable trait that is very difficult to imitate."
CaixaBank, with the largest network of branches in Spain (almost 5,000), attains the type of capillarity that, along with its close relationship with customers, puts it in an unbeatable position to detect the most urgent local social needs. This allows it to support small scale social projects that, altogether, have a major effect on alleviating the difficulties of thousands of people. For this reason ”la Caixa” Foundation, through CaixaBank branches, distributes an economic contribution that totalled 44.3 million Euros in 2016, used to boost 13,000 local projects.
Gonzalo Gortázar, CaixaBank Managing Director, stated that “Social Week is a charity initiative carried out thanks to the social vocation at CaixaBank and among its employees who give up their time to charity organisations in their neighbourhoods and villages. Through this initiative, the bank is pointing them in the right direction to get personally involved in supporting people in need." The CaixaBank Managing Director added that “the bank thereby aims to promote stable volunteering through initial contact with this activity, a key part of the banking model backed by CaixaBank, that is upheld by strong social commitment."
In turn, the President of ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation, Isidro Fainé, explained that "a volunteer is a person who wishes to help people in need using all their strength and do this tenaciously and constantly, driven essentially by love for others. This generous dedication is not tied to any obligation or duty. Over 11,000 employees make Social Week possible and they have all my support and admiration. Their example inspires us to continue working on the company's social commitment."
In the words of the ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation's CEO, Jaume Giró, , "I will never get tired of thanking anonymous and selfless volunteers from ”la Caixa”, the best ambassadors for the company's values and social commitment. All employees, individually or collectively, owe a debt of gratitude to these people who spend their spare time helping people most at need. They are the spearhead for constructing a fairer society. Acknowledging and providing incentives for their work draws us into their eagerness."
A total of 5,000 activities
In addition to these 5,000 activities available in Spain, there are projects involving teams from the CaixaBank International Area located in 18 foreign countries where the bank has a branch. Specifically, 95 volunteering places have been opened up in China (Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai), Singapore, Chile, Algeria, France (Paris), Italy (Milan), Egypt, South Africa, USA (New York), Great Britain (London), India, Colombia, Peru, Morocco (Casablanca, Tangier), Poland, Mexico, Austria (Vienna) and Germany (Frankfurt).
Throughout Social Week, the people involved could follow development and publish photos and information using the hashtag #SerVoluntarioSuma.
All employees that took part in Social Week, as well as the members of ”la Caixa” Volunteering Association could join the Volunteer Rallies that was held on 10th March in 12 Spanish cities simultaneously, promoted by ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation and CaixaBank
These events were a huge party to acknowledge the values characterising these volunteers: teamwork, altruism, responsibility, commitment, respect, empathy, tolerance, among others. They all help to create opportunities for vulnerable persons and make it possible for society to move forward together.