Pierre Francotte, President of the UFB

Pierre Francotte
President until June 2018

This year again, United Fund for Belgium has met its target of raising enough funds to finance projects for at least €700.000. At €701,975, this financing is below the exceptional amount of €733,000 of 2016-17, but very much in line with previous years.
As importantly, we have progressively diversified our sources of funding over the last few years.

Corporate donations remain of course the single largest component even if they dropped somewhat this year (€523,793 vs €561.000 in 2016-2017). They were however complemented by increased in house-campaigns at some of our donors (€21,726.20 vs €18.000) and individual gifts (€15,064.27 vs €7,155). Profits from sales and fundraising events also increased significantly (€187,095 vs €113,815) boosted this year by two biennial activities: our dinner event and our association with the Bike for Africa event. As in previous years, we also organised several successful activities, including the sales of Dandoy speculoos at Saint Nicholas and of Galler chocolate eggs at Easter and our yearly golf tournament and Brussels 20k race event (with almost a doubling participation rate of 430).

Donations to help cover operational costs and/or build up the Martin Kallen Fund exceeded for the third year in a row the landmark threshold of €100,000, well above historical trends.
Accordingly, total contributions reached €856,428 this year (vs €843,875 in 2016-17).
This year, 100% of the donations collected not only via the corporate fundraising campaign, but also via our various events and sales, will be distributed to 77 different charity associations across the whole country.
Besides reaching the target of funding to charities, United Fund for Belgium has also strengthened its financial base, with the fiscal year ending with a profit of €46,467.47, which is allocated to the permanent fund. This will allow us to wipe out the remaining balance of accounting losses that had arisen at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 associated with the significant drop in value of the assets the Martin Kallen Fund at that time.

The Board of Directors conducted in the latter part of 2017 an in-depth review of its strategy with the pro bono help of McKinsey and has already started to implement the new strategic steps decided at that time.
United Fund for Belgium has benefited from a bequest of about €200,000 from a generous donor in the first half of 2018. It is expected to be received in the course of the 2018-19 fiscal year. It is the first bequest that we have received in recent history and it comforts the decision that the Board had taken a couple of years ago to increase our focus on this type of contribution going forward.
I will relinquish my responsibilities as President at the end of the General Assembly. June 2018 21th, after 18 years on the Board, including 8 as President, I believe the time has come for new ideas and new leadership. I hope that I have met the litmus test of chairmanship, which is to leave the institution in at least as good a shape as it was when I took over. With Dirk Luyten as Board member as next President, I hope and trust, United Fund for Belgium is in very good hands.

The success that United Fund for Belgium has achieved over the years is, however, owed mainly to our donors, to our team and to the many volunteers who help our cause (including the members of the Board Committees and my colleagues in the Board of Directors). Once last time as President, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of them.

Pierre Francotte, President of the UFB

Dirk Luyten

President as from June 2018

Professional selection process for a new President:
Thank you Egon Zehnder

Dirk Luyten was the successful candidate of a rigorous recruitment process, conducted by Egon Zehnder Brussels, the largest European leadership advisory firm. Egon Zehnder, present since 1968 in Brussels, has been affiliated with UFB for many years and graciously offered to do this work on a pro-bono basis. To manage the process with the partner Karsten De Clerck, United Fund for Belgium put in place an ad hoc selection committee. François Van Vyve was appointed by the Board as Chairman of this selection committee, which also includes Ineke Arts and Francis Vanbever .

Dirk Luyten has a successful professional career in consulting with Accenture and Arthur D. Little as well as 8 years of CEO in retail in Belgium. Between 2014 and 2017 Dirk has also been President of the Insead Alumni Association of Belgium and he is currently Board Member of various companies.
Dirk has lived in Brussels, Stockholm, Madrid and Tokyo.

Why do you accept this challenge?
I accepted the challenge of being President of United Fund of Belgium because this organisation has built over many years a very strong reputation. Its relation with the charitable associations it supports and the donors from whom it receives funds is strong and extremely healthy. Also, it brings together a great team of professionals and volunteers that want to have a real impact on society. Finally, the values that underpin its business model are the best proof that United Fund for Belgium only looks for the good use of 100% of the donations in favour of the wellbeing of the ultimate beneficiaries.

What are you first priorities for United Fund for Belgium?
The needs of associations and donors keep on evolving and we need to make sure our value proposition continues to fit their environment. As part of that, we will have to quickly respond to the digitilisation that is happening everywhere around us and therefore our allocation and fund raising processes have to evolve. Also, our core team will need to be adapted to those new ways of working. Finally, I hope to continue to charge all the energy batteries of our United Fund for Belgium, the only element that allows our volunteers to keep on being inspired, action oriented and happy.