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Chairman's statement

2022 was the year that we transformed the UniCredit Foundation, with a new ambition to unlock the potential of Europe’s next generation. 2023 was the year we delivered on this. We put our strategy into action and had a genuine impact in the communities we serve. 

This has been the result of a coordinated effort from all our partners, countries and people, who, with determination, have united behind our mission. 

In a world that is increasingly uncertain, education is a constant. It is the key driver of Europe’s growth, and there are thousands of young people whose potential is waiting to be unlocked. 

As a leading pan-European bank, we have a responsibility to identify, support and empower our youth. However, educational inequality is a problem that endures in Europe, with one in five 15-year-olds in the EU not meeting grade-level standards in reading, mathematics and science.* 

At UniCredit, we believe that access to quality education is key to economic and social progress and growth, and it is in our power to address this. 

In 2023, we expanded the scope of the Foundation and leveraged our pan-European footprint and strong local networks, to have a direct impact in the communities we serve.

Over the past year, we strengthened our partnership with Teach For All – the global education network – and launched a three-year partnership worth €5.5 million. This is providing quality education to underserved schools in Europe, focusing on six countries where we operate. And we began a new partnership with Junior Achievement Europe, to focus on preventing students dropping out of school and guiding them in an informed choice for the career they will choose in the future. This is a €6.5 million programme, that over three years will reach more than 400,000 students across 10 of our core markets.

We have also been committed to academic excellence through our collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School and our overall investment of €2.9 million which has funded study and research initiatives. 

* PISA results

Man walking on a corridor

In a world that is increasingly uncertain, education is a constant. It is the key driver of Europe’s growth, and there are thousands of young people whose potential is waiting to be unlocked.”

Andrea Orcel

Chairman, UniCredit Foundation

Alongside this, in 2023 we launched the Call for Education in 10 European countries to address the issues of school dropout and educational disadvantage. This has supported 18 projects with a combined investment of €2.3 million that has had a tangible difference in the lives of secondary school students across the continent. 

And finally, we have supported our own employees in their engagement with a €1million Gift Matching Program to support their personal charitable contributions in their local markets.

We are proud of the progress we have made and the initiatives we have supported in 2023. These are long-term projects that are driven by the research and insights from our specialised, local teams on the ground. This has enabled us to have lasting, measurable impact in the communities that goes beyond headlines and adhoc contributions.

Our impact has been the result of a Group-wide commitment to our Purpose, the hard work of our people and three years of transformation that has enabled us to have an impact at a scale not possible before. 

However, we have only scratched the surface of the Foundation’s potential. If we are to truly be the Bank for Europe’s future, there is still much more we can do to unlock the capabilities of the next generation. 

As we look to 2024 and beyond, we will continue to leverage our unparalleled reach into communities across Europe to unlock pockets of untapped potential and address the problem of educational poverty. 

The next generation are our future leaders who will be laying the foundations for a better world that is fairer, greener, and more sustainable. Without them we cannot expect to grow, and the UniCredit Foundation will continue to be a critical vehicle for advancing our social strategy and ESG activities. 

In three years, we transformed our Bank and in turn, our ability to unlock potential across Europe. Our Foundation is now having a genuine impact on an international scale, and as we set a new benchmark for banking, we don’t intend to stop there.

Andrea Orcel
Chairman, UniCredit Foundation