BNP Paribas Wealth Management was one of the first private banks to get involved with philanthropy, creating in 2008 the BNP Paribas Awards for Personal Philanthropy. The Grand Prix and the Jury's Special Prize, which honour outstanding initiatives by major philanthropists, were awarded for the fourth year on 21 June.
The winners were chosen by an independent jury, made up of experts from the spheres of art, culture, business and NGOs, chaired by Suzanne Berger, Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The jury studied the profiles of all the nominees and made their decisions based on various criteria such as the social impact of the philanthropy initiatives, the philanthropists' personal and financial investment, and the professionalism, viability and transparency of the projects.
Two separate Awards are made:
- The Grand Prix honours an individual or family for their overall philanthropic activity, giving recognition especially to the ethical standard and exemplary nature of their actions as well as impact and long-term commitment. Each year, BNP Paribas publishes a book on the winner, highlighting their initiative and dedication.
- The Jury's Special Prize recognises a committed philanthropist who has initiated an original project and has been working to implement it. The project must have been running for at least three years but still be in its development phase or at a critical stage. The Special Prize confers €50,000 on the winner.
Grand Prix 2011
The Koç Family received the Award for the Vehbi Koç Foundation, which was set up 1969 to focus on three areas that the family sees as essential for the development of Turkey: culture, education and health. The Foundation is not merely a distributor of funds but has widespread operations, setting up and running its own bodies, and moreover plays an important role in encouraging the establishment of other charitable foundations in Turkey.
Jury's Special Prize 2011
Peter Carey was awarded the Jury's Special Prize in recognition of his work on behalf of disabled people in South and Southeast Asia. In 1989, academic historian Dr Carey co-founded, alongside international relations expert Stan Windass and diplomat John Pedler, the Cambodia Trust, whose original purpose is to provide assistance to the 38,000 people in Cambodia who suffer handicap at a result of anti-personnel mines.
• The Vehbi Koç Foundation was set up by Vehbi Koç, a Turkish businessman who opened a small grocery store at the age of sixteen and went on to found an industry group which is today the largest corporation in Turkey and one of the world's top 300 companies. The Foundation has built the first privately-owned museum in Turkey, set up a private university which has won an international reputation, founded a first-rate high school and 17 elementary schools. It promotes equal opportunities in education and has so far provided some 40,000 educational bursaries to gifted pupils from deprived backgrounds.
The Foundation took over and modernised the American Hospital in Istanbul, and today, having equipped it with the latest medical technology and staffed it with first-class personnel, runs it under the name Vehbi Koç Foundation American Hospital, providing first-rate health care to some 140,000 patients every year. The eldest daughter of the family also set up in 1974 the Nursing Fund, which is today the largest non-profit-making healthcare organisation in Turkey.
The Foundation encourages philanthropic work more widely through the Vehbi Koç Award, which is made annually to "persons or institutions who have made an exceptional contribution to the development of Turkey” in one of the domains in which the Foundation is active. The annual prize of $US100,000 (€75,758) is the largest financial award in the country.
The Vehbi Koç Foundation is the main philanthropic vehicle of the Koç family, five members of which sit on the Board of Directors. The Foundation is today one of Europe's largest and the family received the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy in 2009.
• The Cambodia Trust was originally set up in order to found three rehabilitation clinics to equip the victims of anti-personnel mines in Cambodia with artificial limbs and orthopaedic aids. Since then it has expanded to four other Asian countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, East Timor and the Philippines – and now helps to treat all kinds of physical handicaps.
Realising that training locals to make and fit artificial limbs would help to guarantee the viability of the project, the Trust has opened four training schools, the latest of which was inaugurated this year in Manila.
There are some 400 million physically challenged people living in the world's developing countries: 95 -97% of them have no access to rehabilitation services and 98% of all physically challenged children in these countries do not attend school. The Trust provides in-community rehabilitation services to help the physically challenged to obtain education and/or employment. It also campaigns to promote equal rights for physically challenged persons. It works closely with local partners in all aspects of its work.
Dr Carey has shown profound and consistent commitment to the work of the Cambodia Trust. Today, he works full-time works full-time as Research and Development Director
• The Independent Jury of the BNP Paribas Awards for Personal Philanthropy is composed of:
- Suzanne Berger, Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Chair of the Jury
- Yann Arthus-Bertrand, photographer and Chairman of the Good Planet Foundation
- Michael Golden, Vice-President of the New York Times Company
- Lorenz von Habsburg, banker and Board director of several listed companies
- Anand Mahindra, Vice-President and CEO of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India's top ten industrial companies
- Maria Nowak, President of the Association pour le droit à l'initiative économique (ADIE)
- Michel Pébereau, Chairman of BNP Paribas, honorary member of the Jury
- Jacques Rigaud, Honorary State Councillor, former Chairman and CEO of RTL
- Louis Schweitzer, Former Chairman and CEO of Renault Automobile Group, Former Chair of the Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et pour l'Egalité (HALDE)
- Amartya Sen, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at the University of Harvard, Nobel Prize laureate for Economics, 1998
In addition, the 2010 winners of the BNP Paribas Awards for Personal Philanthropy sat as temporary Jury members this year:
- Claude Chagnon, Chairman of the Chagnon Foundation (Grand Prix winner 2010)
- Chung To, Chairman of the Chi Heng Foundation, (Jury's Special Prize winner 2010)
BNP Paribas Wealth Management
BNP Paribas Wealth Management is the world's 8th largest private bank, present in some 30 countries. Over 6,000 professionals, based in every major financial centre, provide a private investor clientele with solutions for optimising and managing their assets. The bank has €257 billion worth of assets under management (as at end December 2010).