On 8 November, during this year’s edition of the Development Initiation Forum, an award ceremony was held as part of the grant competition organized by the UP Foundation – Foundation for Development Initiation in Gdańsk. Prizes worth a total of PLN 122,000 were awarded to six of the best Pomeranian cross-sector initiatives, implemented jointly by a non-governmental organization, a business and a public institution. The Polish clothing company, LPP, became the strategic partner supporting the most interesting social activities in Pomerania for the sixth time already.
The Development Initiation Forum is the largest cross-sector conference in Pomerania. The event provides an opportunity to address topics important for the development of the region and to hold discussions among representatives of business, public institutions and NGOs. For eight years now, an important element of the project has been a grant competition, which this year is also part of the 17 Goals Campaign and motivates NGOs to take action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in line with the UN Agenda 2030.
In this year’s edition, grants worth PLN 122,000 were awarded, and each project also received advisory support from the Cross-Sector Innovation Accelerator. The awarded practices comprised a project to organize a workshop space for conducting therapeutic activities for children and adults, a programme of activities aimed at changing public awareness of “smart upcycling” of everyday items and promoting the idea of sustainable development. Among the winning entries was also an initiative to organize therapeutic and sports classes for children and adolescents suffering from autism spectrum disorder, or a mental health workshop for young athletes in the field of mental health education in sports, depression prevention and career development of young sports talents.
– We are pleased that we could once again be involved in a project of such gravity for our region. This is especially important for us, as the heart of our company beats in Pomerania. The possibility of partnership is important, which is why we are committed to supporting the local communities in places where we operate. We are always on the lookout for ambitious projects that lead to lasting and positive change. We are aware that without funding, many of them would have no chance of success, and each of the initiatives selected in the competition has a real impact on social change in Pomerania – stresses Patrycja Zbytniewska, president of the LPP Foundation, leader for social policy and non-financial reporting at LPP.
Since the first edition, a total of over PLN 700,000 has already been granted for the implementation of cross-sector initiatives, supporting 35 concepts responding to the to the needs of local communities in Pomerania.
– It is important to us that the project is gaining popularity. Thanks to this, we know that we are heading in the right direction, and that through the support obtained from the Development Initiative Fund, the beneficiaries have the opportunity to implement ambitious and innovative concepts that contribute to the development of the Pomeranian region. Today, business is becoming more aware and attentive to the needs of its immediate surroundings, and the possibility of cross-sector cooperation helps to more effectively seek solutions and answers to the problems of the modern world. The activities of the Development Initiation Forum to date have shown that our activities bring long-lasting results, tailored to the needs of even very specific groups of recipients – adds Monika Hinc, president of the Development Initiation Forum.
Thanks to the initiative for the development of cross-sector projects, the opportunity to mark the presence in the public space was offered, among others, to the first cooperative store in Poland, combining the idea of social entrepreneurship with a real solution to the problem of unemployment of disabled people; a social canteen, which is a place of work, internships and apprenticeships for the wards of educational institutions that are in the process of becoming independent; or a bicycle courier cooperative in Tczew, which provides employment to young people at the risk of social exclusion.
– Analyzing the competition entries, one can fall into the trap of misjudging their relevance to local communities. Being residents of large cities, our optics of perceiving the needs of smaller towns and their residents is quite different. In many cases, projects submitted to a grant competition would have no chance of obtaining funding from local or EU institutions. The Development Initiation Forum and the promotion of cross-sector initiatives perfectly fills this void and offers a chance to shine to projects, which, as time shows, can constitute a unique platform to professionally activate the local community or expand their passions, and often discover new talents – explains Patrycja Zbytniewska.
This year’s edition of the Development Initiation Forum was also accompanied by a number of talks on contemporary challenges in the area of social and environmental issues. This is a unique opportunity and space for cooperation for business institutions, local government organizations and NGOs which usually lack such an opportunity for dialogue.
LPP is a Polish family business and one of the fastest growing clothing companies in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. For 30 years, it has been successfully operating in Poland and abroad, offering its collections in such prestigious capitals as London, Helsinki or Tel Aviv. LPP SA manages five fashion brands: Reserved, Cropp, House, Mohito, and Sinsay, whose offer is available today in stationary and online stores in nearly 40 markets worldwide. The company has a chain of over 1700 stores with the total area of 1.4 million m2 and distributes clothing and accessories to 3 continents every year. LPP also plays an important role as it employs over 24 thousand people in its offices and sales structures in Poland, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The company is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the WIG20 index and belongs to the prestigious MSCI Poland index.