BNP Paribas presents its Awards for Individual Philanthropy 2012

A unique vision combined with a willingness to back that vision financially is helping to improve the lives of underprivileged children.

In 2008, BNP Paribas’ wealth management arm introduced philanthropic advisory services to help clients donate to charity in a secure and compliant manner. At the same time, the bank established two awards to recognise and support outstanding examples of charitable giving, one Grand Prix and one Special Prize selected by an independent jury. The initiative aims to spread awareness of philanthropy, a growing means for financing projects in support of a public good. Total private investment reached $329bn in 2010, up from $228bn in 2009, according to data collected by the Hudson Institute 2012 Index of Global Philanthropy & Remittances. Since the 2008 crisis, generosity has become all the more important as traditional methods of obtaining finance have diminished.

A sense of personal obligation, relentless optimism, and tough-mindedness are all needed to see through a worthwhile philanthropy project. The 2012 award winners shared those personal qualities, which for the jury helped to distinguish their projects from 16 deserving submissions, eight for each prize respectively, says chair of the prize jury and professor of political sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Susan Berger.

This year’s Grand Prix winner is Viviane Senna da Silva Lalli (pictured). Her foundation Instituto Ayrton Senna is named after her brother and three-time world Formula One racing champion Ayrton Senna da Silva, who died tragically in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Instituto Ayrton Senna was set up months after Ayrton Senna’s passing. Having told his sister he wanted to help impoverished children in Brazil, his sister decided to carry on his wish using funds from his legacy. The foundation offers education schemes for Brazilian children and young people, and has trained more than 690,000 teachers drawn from local government staff who work across 1,530 Brazilian towns.

Some 16m Brazilian children and young people have benefited from the Institute’s education programmes—two million more than those enrolled in schools in Israel and Portugal combined. According to an internal assessment by the Institute, 95% of children enrolled finish their studies and receive a diploma, compared with 30% who succeed on average nationally. By empowering the young, Senna da Silva Lalli hopes her foundation will bring about fundamental change in socio-economic conditions within her country. “Education is the most powerful tool to change people and countries,” she says.

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