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BUSINESS INSIDER interview with Dimitris Raptis, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer

Globalworth Foundation was founded in 2018. What do you consider the greatest success of these two years?

I think that our greatest success is its impressive development of the Globalworth Foundation and the fact that in just two years we were able to run so many significant projects, while we have joined forces to help in both countries and we have launched the Globalworth Foundation in Poland. During this time, we were able to help thousands of beneficiaries - pupils, students, young artists and people in need. The long-term projects are planned for several years, with a larger impact on the community. Certainly, we can also consider the success of how well we adapted the foundation's projects in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Within a few weeks, our philanthropic response to the COVID -19 pandemic was nimble: we acted as quickly as possible during this emergency and try to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities in Poland and Romania, as well as on the society we live in for which we allocated more than 650,000 euro.

What projects from those carried out in Romania are you particularly proud of?

It is difficult for me to choose a few because we are proud of all the activities carried out so far in Poland and Romania. As I mentioned, this is a very rich output for a foundation that was established only two years ago. It is worth mentioning the national program "Nesting a Brighter Future for Children" which takes place in 12 day centers in rural areas. Together with our partner, United Way Romania, we develop home education programs during this period, having in mind the aim of the program: to reduce the number of children who drop out of school and also to find solutions for problems in society that are unresolvable by any one sector - private or public. 

The Globalworth Foundation flagship partnership with the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest through will help the young architects to have access to the latest tools in education and we will create a creation lab - Hightech Learning Center. 

We are proud of our partnership "Margareta of Romania Royal Foundation" for the artistic future of Romania through 30 young artists in visual arts and music to achieve their artistic potential through individual grants, mentoring programs, and national & international opportunities. 

Last but not least, I would like to mention the financing of medical missions, a project in partnership with "Inima Copiilor Association": specialists from abroad travel to Romania to operate on children with heart diseases and they also train some Romanian doctors in their first years of specialization. 

People, places, and technology. For some people, the 21st century is a denial of combining these elements. There is talk of dehumanization of relationships. Do you want to counter this?

We deeply believe that these elements - people, places, and technology - combine perfectly to create a platform for our foundation activities. We started with the idea that the future of any society is represented by the young generations. That’s why the foundation focuses on the care for people, which can be supported through educational programs and projects that can improve access to high-quality medical services, regardless of social class. We think that our initiatives should build places and develop urban communities where people can meet, interact, and find solutions for the disabled. We also believe in the positive impact of projects which integrate technology, such as incubators dedicated to young people, and supports the financing of innovation which can lead to bringing people together, among other things.

We live in a COVID-19 pandemic. How did the foundation get involved in the fight against this phenomenon?

During this unprecedented crisis, Globalworth Foundation carries on its mission and show solidarity to the medical staff member of our communities and to response altruistic in the face of the crisis in partnership with public hospitals, NGO`s and other authorities. We were and still are convinced that we all should act as quickly as possible during this emergency and try to reduce the impact of COVID-19. That is why we decided to engage Globalworth Foundation in the fight against coronavirus. We are convinced in the current context, the support of the health system is vital and should focus on purchasing of vital items such as medical ventilators for intensive care units, disinfectant bottles, protective suits, safety goggles, single-use sanitary masks and protective gloves. In this way, we could support the frontline healthcare workers who save countless lives. 

How do people react to the fact that you want to help medical services, for example? Do you find understanding in the eyes of collaborating people?

Both in Poland and Romania, since the pandemic started, all the actions took place under the motto "Everyone should get involved to make things better". I can definitely say that we met with understanding and a lot of support when it comes to our projects. Protecting healthcare workers remains a top priority for Globalworth Foundation. These are the heroes on the frontline who continue to tirelessly provide care and support to children and families affected. So far in both countries, we allocated over 650,000 euros to help fund medical supplies as well as logistical, human and material support. We all want to get back to something close to normal and such actions certainly help in this.

200 thousand euros to supply three hospitals in Poland. It must be a very hard decision - who can you help at the moment…

The effective and consistent functioning of the Globalworth Foundation in Poland has been going on for many months. During this time, we were working on the strategy and the action plan and, of course, the COVID-19 epidemic has forced us to relax grantmaking approaches and to speed up the Board of Trustees' decision making so we quickly changed the first steps and decide to help Polish hospitals. 

We prepared a list of hospitals and after thorough analysis we chose two facilities that were counting on help. In April we announced the launch of the Globalworth Foundation in Poland and as the first step, we allocated 200,000 EUR to help fund medical supplies for two hospitals - Wojewódzki Specjalistyczny Szpital im. dr. Wł. Biegańskiego in Lodz and Szpital Specjalistyczny in Chorzow. The funds enabled acquiring 21 beds, 15,800 surgical masks, 2,600 protective overalls and 6,974 protective masks (FFP2 and FFP3). 

The pandemic has claimed us a different approach, bringing different donors together at the local, to allocate funds rapidly through collaborative initiatives group. 

We also decided, to partner with other donors to get involved faster and help more hospitals. For instance, a group of the biggest commercial property market leaders in Poland partnered in order to support the health workers of 11 hospitals and medical centers across Poland through daily deliveries of meals. The #property4heroes initiative is an expression of gratitude from developers, investors and property owners for the hard work of physicians, nurses, supporting personnel and paramedics. 

Globalworth Foundation together with tenants of Hala Koszyki started financing and delivering 2,600 meals for healthcare workers in Szpital Wolski in Warsaw for one month.  

What challenges, apart from COVID-19, stand before the foundation in the second half of 2020?

Our CSR strategy remains the same. The Globalworth Foundation develops projects on three main pillars: people, places and technology. However, given the unexpected situation, the funds will be much more oriented towards the first pillar: caring for people. 

We live in these difficult times and we have this unstable future in front of us and only by helping each other, we will bring humanity back to normal. Thus, we will not stop strengthening the medical system. We constantly monitor the needs and we try to adjust our help depending on the funds and available resources. It is true that our plans have changed in the last two months, but our strategy remains the same: we help where our need is most needed. For sure we will also want to develop our fund activities in Poland. We will soon share our ideas for this year. 

Interview published on the Business Insider website. Check the Polish version HERE.