Editorial

Pierre Francotte, President of the UFB

Pierre Francotte, President , June 2011

During the 2010-11 campaign, we provided  support amounting to € 913,688 to 91 social projects in Belgium.  Several of these projects are illustrated here and I encourage you to read about them, because they are the reason why UFB exists.   Also we have reorganized ourselves in the past year so that we can disburse our financial support  faster and in a more fluid way throughout the year, without compromising in any way the rigorous review process that is UFB’s trademark.  Charities are now encouraged to submit their requests at any time during the year, as soon as they are ready, and not to wait until the last few months of the year. 

For almost  40 years, United Fund for Belgium has played a prominent role in Belgium, helping to channel corporate and individual donations to charities all over the country.   Every year we collect donations amounting to approximately € 1million, which we distribute to  almost 100 charities in support of specific projects.   More than 140 companies, as well as hundreds of individuals, make contributions to UFB every year.  

This makes United Fund one of the most reliable partners in Belgium for both donors and charities.  Why is this? Well, we believe it is due in particular to three special features of UFB. 

First, there is UFB’s intimate knowledge of charities all over Belgium, and of their needs.  Every single association we support is visited in person by one or more members of our allocation committee, all volunteers who are respected and active members of  their local communities.  We know the associations well and they know and trust us.

Secondly, there is the unparalleled expertise and know-how that UFB has developed over the years, drawing on its small but highly dynamic staff, on the allocation committee, and on the Board of UFB, which is composed of very senior executives from many donor companies.  This has allowed UFB to develop a close relationship with both the donor community and the charities, helping ensure that the funds  we collect are used efficiently in tackling social needs in every region and every province in Belgium.

And thirdly, there is the fact that for many years  UFB has been able to pass on to the charities 100% of the donations received from corporate and individual donors.  How have we been able to achieve this?  In large part, thanks to UFB’s endowment fund (the Martin Kallen Fund), which now has assets exceeding €1 million, the income from which is used to cover our operating costs.  We aim to increase the size of this fund through private contributions, so that its income will in future cover all our costs.  In the meantime, we have been able to rely on the generosity of some individuals, including UFB Board members and we have been using part of the proceeds of special events that we organize every year to cover the balance of our costs.  We also have kept our costs low, and have benefited from significant support in kind from several donor companies.

These special features are a superb illustration of the spirit of UFB:  helping underprivileged persons in our society in an efficient way thanks to the multi-faceted generosity of individuals and companies that are highly sensitive to their social responsibilities.  We are truly grateful to all those who are contributing, financially or through personal involvement, to make this possible.  Thanks to them, the lives of thousands of individuals in Belgium, who are not as fortunate as most of us, have been improved.   On their behalf, I extend very warm thanks to all of you.