понедельник, 1 августа 2011 г.

Philanthropy in Ukraine - PR or a generous impulse?

The tradition of helping the deprived and donating to charity is new to the independent Ukraine.
Patronage is the new concept for many people and somewhat smirched with some charitable foundations that served to launder money. Besides, the government is not interested that the rich help the poor.
On all-Ukrainian Charity Day, marked on each second Sunday of December, Anastasia Daugule, Podrobnosti correspondent, has tried to find out who the Ukrainian philanthropists are. This time is just fit for the active patronage, when winter holidays begin. Starting from St. Nicholas day till the New Year and Christmas day all kinds of philanthropists invade schools and orphanages. But once the New-Year trees are out, charitable activities die down, exactly for six months before Children's Day marked in summer.
By a happy coincidence cameras are always switched on when politicians, businessmen and showmen are reeling off with little deprived Ukrainians.
Charity gets along organically even with fashion parties. Fashion auctions are organized to help orphans, where the dolls with famous politicians’ faces are sold.
Yet they groan in orphanages, after having got another batch of presents: they would get more prosaic things such as cleaning products, footwear, fruits and vegetables - not twice a year, but regularly - rather than candies for the holidays.

Alexander Gava, Director of “Lyubistok” orphanage (Brovary, Kiev) says about charities:
- Sometimes, they go one by one. Sometimes there are break-offs. They are more active before the political actions and less after them.
This is how the Director of Kiev orphanage characterizes the rhythm of charities. Boarding schools that are not too spoiled with government support, only dream about permanent patron. This orphanage is lucky – they have been supported for several years by a large automotive company.
Main sponsor adds 15% to the total budget of the institution. This means a computer class. Or a sea holidays.  The supporter also saves bacon, they believe in the Association of philanthropists, which brings together the leading philanthropists of the country.

Anna Gulevskaya-Chernish, Director of Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum:
- 4-5 years ago, business companies were mainly motivated for charities by altruism of their owners; today business is mainly driven by the need to form the company's image. Patron’s image is beneficial and useful.
Today top-three of the country's leading philanthropists is as follows: according to tax declaration Rinat Akhmetov has spent for the good deeds more than others. Second place is taken by Victor and Elena Pinchuk. They hold two different foundations. And the last in the top three is the only foreigner in the list - George Soros and his offspring, "Renaissance"
They give the foundations their names and personally choose where to invest. Thus, Rinat Akhmetov is soundly financing cultural and medicine projects:

Rinat Akhmetov, the President of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation "Development of Ukraine":
- I have decided to allocate $ 40 million to fight cancer.
The daughter of former President Leonid Kuchma's chosen sphere of struggle against AIDS. And his son-in-law is well known to specially favor art trends. Victor Pinchuk has built Centre for Contemporary Art which is the largest in Eastern Europe:

Viktor Pinchuk, the president of the charity Victor Pinchuk Foundation:
- I do believe in the power of artists, who can tell the public much better than the politicians what we need and how we should do it.
List of business philanthropists in Ukraine is not very long. Perhaps it would have been different if the patrons did not keep silence on the donations. Some of them do this due to the natural modesty, but the majority is reticent for another reason:

Anna Gulevskaya-Chernish, Director of Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum:
- The  businessmen speak themselves: we can formally show that we are engaged in charities, but if we do this, tax authorities will come to us immediately and say, "Oh, so you have the money for charity? Well, you can support us!" Inspection bodies and controlling agencies have negative attitude towards charity. They are trying to find malice here.