Being fully aware that it is only one of the many players in the economic and social arena and that it cannot be a substitute for other organizations, the Foundation carries out three main functions:
It acts as an organization that backs the development of local communities, especially by promoting innovative actions that respond to emerging, unmet needs or by providing novel responses to deep-seated needs, in fields and sectors not catered to by the public administration and private organizations.
Promoting innovative actions means to give voice to organizations and projects that can respond to public needs, avoiding any traditional or outdated models. As such, the Foundation devotes special attention to actions leading to the development of the human capital of a community, e.g. the development of new skills, innovation in traditional jobs, that is the only assurance of innovative capacity in the long haul. Hence, the Foundation gives priority to financing specific projects rather than providing general aid to organizations. This is, in fact, the only way to precisely assess whether a program is innovative and responds to the needs of the community.
It fosters the formation and consolidation of independent, robust and efficient social entities that can autonomously take care of community needs.
The action of the Foundation is not geared to solving problems, but to building the social ability to find solutions to problems, also by contributing to the development of individuals or organizations that take direct responsibility for a given issue and in time handle it autonomously.
Thus, the Foundation does not provide lifelong support to one or more organizations, since that would risk to become pure welfarism. Fondazione Cariplo’s style of action is to provide support for the takeoff of projects or organizations that have the ability to stand on their own feet, by gathering funds from other philanthropic organizations or raising them from the public, whenever possible. Otherwise the Foundation’s financial resources would be locked for long periods of time and could hardly be used for worthwhile alternative initiatives.
- It facilitates the solution of community problems acting as a catalyst for the parties involved. The Foundation’s ability to contribute to the solution of collective problems is a function not only of its financial resources but also of its neutrality as an entity that does not pursue its own interest and therefore can act as a “mediator” between the parties involved as well as an organization that anticipates and reveals problems.
Leveraging its financial resources, the Foundation can be a true catalyst of local resources, a convener capable of bringing together all parties interested in satisfying a common need, finding solutions and activating responses which take into account the interests of all. Thus, the Foundation pays special attention to projects and initiatives that leverage synergies, catalyze a variety of resources and competencies and meet public need not through an individual response but through networks and alliances.