January 2020. Fundación Grandes Amigos, which has been working since 2003 to prevent and alleviate the loneliness of the elderly through the creation of affective bonds and neighborhood support with volunteers, receives one of the 2019 Social Value Awards from the Cepsa Foundation.
The distinction is a vital economic injection to reinvent itself when, shortly after, the health crisis explodes.
“It is allowing us to promote two lines of work that we have been developing and that are increasingly necessary: facilitating a volunteer to accompany the elderly person alone to medical appointments or administrative procedures, and maintaining our program of emotional support by telephone [which includes video calls even sending letters], launched at the beginning of the pandemic, and which will continue to function when it ends, after its good results ”,
“One of the issues that we value is that, regardless of the group to which it is directed, the project has an innovative component, either because of the approach that differentiates it from the rest, because of the tools it uses or because of the ability to face new challenges” , says Cristina Ortiz, director of Fundación Cepsa.
“We have verified that many entities have adapted in an exemplary way to the crisis caused by Covid-19, with innovative initiatives based entirely on new technologies,” he adds, referring to the 435 projects that are nominated for the 16th edition of the Social Value Awards, the 2020 one, presented in September. Record of candidatures and also of economic endowment, which increases by 100,000 euros, reaching 500,000.
“The elderly are the main affected by this crisis,” warns Palacios. But there are other vulnerable groups that are also very affected. Unemployed, sick, people with functional diversity, ethnic groups, childhood, youth and adolescents, victims of gender violence …
Behind such a generic word as “collective” there are always concrete faces.
Cristina Ortiz remembers “as if it were yesterday” that of that mother with her daughter diagnosed with congenital heart disease at the trophy ceremony for the 2019 edition in Madrid.
“It was exciting to see that this mother never felt alone to face her reality and received support from the professionals of the winning entity,” she describes.
“I felt great admiration when a young woman with different abilities showed us, with a wide smile, what had meant for her the help of another of the award-winning entities to promote her social inclusion and thus be able to practice one of her biggest hobbies , sport ”Indicates in another example.
Cepsa workers are godfathers and godmothers of the projects that compete for the social value awards
The Social Value Awards were created 15 years ago in response to “a need for change and improvement”, in Ortiz’s words.
“They were born with the objective of being able to carry out social projects in a fair and transparent way,” he adds.
They were delivered for the first time in 2005, in Huelva, with a distinctive element: it was (and still are) the professionals of the energy company who become solidarity godfathers and godmothers, proposing programs likely to be candidates, accompanying them during the process and being their representatives.
That first edition was so successful that it was extended to other geographical areas in which Cepsa has a significant presence: Madrid, the Canary Islands, Campo de Gibraltar and Portugal in 2009; Colombia in 2012 and Brazil in 2016.
That year, 2016, the Cepsa Foundation was created to channel the company’s social action, and these awards became its backbone. According to Ortiz, from the beginning they had the support of local and regional administrations.
“One of the changes that we have been observing in each edition is the trust that the entities place in this call for social assistance”, he emphasizes.
Fundación Cepsa maintains a “lasting bond” with the awarded entities. “It allows us to promote collaborations in corporate volunteering activities or in other projects,” says its director.
All have to send, at the end of the year, and as a control mechanism, the justification report. “In addition to the activities carried out, they detail the economic justification with the expenses that have been incurred for the implementation of the solidarity initiative,” he adds.
There are also follow-up visits. One of those that most impacted Ortiz was the Candelita entity, in Madrid, and its project Mirada en Violeta, to promote access to the labor market through cooking training for women victims of violence.
“They are admirable for how, despite fear, they took this opportunity to feel useful and be financially independent,” he concludes. Many of them already have a stable employment contract.
In addition to financially reinforcing the Social Value Awards, Cepsa is carrying out special work during 2020 to support actions that contribute to alleviating the consequences of covid-19.
Its employees have donated money to the food bank campaign to buy 480,000 kilos of basic products, which will ensure the feeding of more than 3,200 people for two months.
Cepsa Foundation offers emergency aid to food banks in Portugal. It has donated medical supplies in Colombia, contributed to the emergency kitchen set up in Huelva and supported the urgent medical movements of the Red Cross.
It has also delivered fuel cards to the health authorities of Madrid, the Canary Islands, Huelva and Cádiz to collaborate in the displacement of health and other groups that work in the fight against the coronavirus.
Together with the Persán Foundation, it has contributed money to supply cleaning and home care products to 18,000 vulnerable families in Seville, Huelva and Campo de Gibraltar.
Through its corporate volunteering program, Voluntas , Cepsa professionals collaborate with a telephone support initiative launched by Cáritas and with the sending of letters of encouragement under the impulse of the organization Nadie Solo.