What we do
UniCredit Foundation carries out social and humanitarian initiatives and supports the study and research in the economic, financial and legal fields.
The Foundation also promotes the involvement of UniCredit Group employees in solidarity, study and research initiatives.
These are the main areas of activity.
They say about UniCredit Foundation
Dario Boggio Marzet, Chairman of the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia
“Il Banco Alimentare della Lombardia”
Mr Boggio Marzet, you are chairman of the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia. Many of us know of the food bank thanks to Food Collection Day. Tell us something more about it. How did the food bank come about?
As many of you will know, the world’s first food bank was St. Mary’s Food Bank, created in 1967. The idea came from Phoenix, Arizona, where a certain John Van Hengel began volunteering at a soup kitchen for the poor. Given the little funding available for the purchase of food, Hengel began looking for food products to hand out for free. He contacted the local parish priest at St Mary’s, who gave him the keys to an old bakery, which became his first warehouse. It was there that he met a woman with ten children and a husband in prison, who would scavenge for food in a garbage bin near a supermarket. He found the idea brilliant and went to test it for himself, discovering an abundance of decent food that could be reused. It was the woman who suggested the idea of creating a pantry where left-over food could be deposited and handed out to people in need – thus the term “Food Bank’. The model then spread throughout the world, finally reaching Italy in 1989 when Don Luigi Giussani met Danilo Fossati, founder of the company Star, and together they set up the Fondazione Banco Alimentare and opened their first warehouse in Meda (MI).
Since then, the road has been tough, but it has also been highly rewarding, made up of people and experience, but also professional and innovative growth.
What is the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia today?
Today we’re still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has changed our lives, bearing a dramatic economic and social impact on our day-to-day work, as witnessed by the growing requests we receive from the charity organisations we work with.
The situation makes us all the more mindful of the meaning and role the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia plays on a daily basis in meeting material needs, but also the need for solidarity.
The food bank is the biggest community catering initiative in Italy, handing out over one hundred thousand meals a day.
The Rete Banco Alimentare is the most widespread network in the country that, through the collection and distribution of food, works to provide material support and for the social inclusion of the poor. We believe nobody should go hungry.
That’s why we work so hard every day, to turn that vision into reality. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot to do. The food bank strives to “stop waste and hunger’, because nothing and nobody should go to waste. In Lombardy, that commitment is pursued daily through the work of over 400 volunteers who give their time to the association, enabling us to manage 3,600m2 of warehousing, 2,350m3 of cold storage and 1,000m2 of office space.
Together with another 1,127 partner charities, the food bank represents the most widespread network for solidarity in Lombardy. The network is more than the sum of its parts, as it’s the most effective way of growing and rendering our facilities more dynamic, visionary and generative, multiplying the value of what we do together. What ties us is a partnership agreement and a common commitment to giving a concrete hand to the people who count on our help.
Our efforts are focused on moving beyond the simple distribution of food to helping the people we assist become independent again and furthering social inclusion and cohesion in our community.
You spoke of over 400 volunteers. It is often said that young people are uninterested in charity. Why should a young person choose to become a volunteer for the Banco Alimentare?
There are various reasons why, but I would prefer to let Agnese answer your question, a 25-year-old girl who joined our organisation in May 2020.
As was said, my experience began in May 2020, at the end of the first and more restrictive period of lockdown. My decision was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that my father has been a volunteer for years now in what has come to be known as the “Siticibo evening bread run’, which collects bread from bakers and suppliers in Como to deliver it to the city’s charity organisations. When I decided to join the volunteer group last spring, I did so with other young people, both students and workers, whose studies or work had been suspended because of Covid-19. Seeing lots of young people giving their time to the community, especially in such a complex period as we’re seeing now, is certainly a positive sign and, in a certain sense, a sign of change, all united by a shared mission, that of providing relief from hunger and poverty. The Banco Alimentare has allowed me to understand how important it is to work for the benefit of the community, as the positive outcomes of our actions for the community echo powerfully even in our own lives. Our common goal should be the welfare of society, and that requires the constant commitment of everyone. The Como Hub’s work would certainly not be possible without the precious collaboration of our donors, who make the effort to select the products they send to charity organisations and are always so kind and obliging. I have to say that the Hub works like one big family, whose underlying values (respect, morality and altruism, to name just a few) steer our action and conduct. Every day I spend volunteering is truly rewarding for me.
Dario Boggio Marzet, Chairman of the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia. The Association Banco Alimentare della Lombardia “Danilo Fossati” Onlus is a non-profit organization that has been operating in Lombardy since 1989. It is part of the Banco Alimentare Onlus network which has as its mission the recovery of surpluses of the supply chain agri-food.
It is born from the merger, completed in April 2018, between UniCredit Foundation, established in 2003 with the goal of contributing to the development of solidarity and philanthropy in the communities and territories primarily where the Group is operating and UniCredit & Universities Foundation, established in 2009 which aims to promote studies and initiatives designed to deepen knowledge in the academic fields of finance, economics, law, politics and the social sciences.