We have a broad understanding of our duties as a financial services provider, member of society and employer. Responsibility not only for ourselves as individuals, but also for the environment, the global market, our workplace and people around us, is very important for us. We know that the whole world cannot be changed at once, but working together we can change a single person’s world. And we are good at this.
Globally, we support initiatives that foster economic growth, as well as work with international partners to facilitate social and humanitarian projects that drive inclusive growth. Thanks to these efforts, by the end of 2017, more than 94 000 adolescent girls worldwide benefited from financial education and life skills classes. In general, in 2017 we supported almost 900 organizations from all over the world with almost 200 000 hours dedicated by our employees to CSR related initiatives. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), our financial commitments are primarily fulfilled through the Credit Suisse EMEA Foundation, which was founded in 2008 with the mission to improve the educational attainment, aspirations and employability of disadvantaged young people across the region. Central to our ethos is our commitment to funding multi-year partnerships that bring the bank’s wealth of knowledge, expertise and network to bear on behalf of our partner charities. This holistic approach is vital to deepening our partners’ impact. Through venture philanthropy we seek to support early-stage organizations and initiatives, helping turn ideas into reality. The Foundation has been an early-mover and significant driver in supporting organizations at pivotal moments. We recognize that while funding provides a much-needed resource, we must bring more to the partnership if we are to be a catalyst for social change. To enhance the impact of our financial contributions employees share their expertise with our partner organizations through extra-hands and skills-based volunteering opportunities. Additionally, through the Global Citizens Program employees have the opportunity to leverage and develop their talents while at the same time building the capacity of our partner organizations in the areas of education and financial inclusion. In Poland Credit Suisse EMEA Foundation supports six different Polish charities.
More generally, in Poland we support over 30 charitable organizations in the areas of education, environmental protection, health care and social issues. One of our biggest initiative is The Charity of the Year program, which is an annual fundraising project supporting one charity chosen by Credit Suisse employees across Poland. Funds are being raised through a wide range of unique local, national and even international events like the Tour de Credit Suisse Poland, Calello Fitness Challenge and fundraising activities throughout the calendar year. The decision of how to help and how to raise money is given to employees and allows us an opportunity to develop a sense of purpose and personal attachment to charity work, while our beneficiaries learn that there are real, passionate and caring people behind the aid.
In 2018, Credit Suisse employees chose the association mali bracia Ubogich for the Charity of the Year. Their mission is to support lonely elderly people. Almost 1000 employees were engaged in organizing creative fundraising activities, which helped to collect a huge amount of money. On top of this and as part of the volunteering program, Credit Suisse volunteers spent time lending their professional skills or provide events support for association protégés. We will shortly be announcing The Charity Partner of the Year 2019.
Through a variety of volunteering, donations and fundraising activities we try our best to add real value to the work of our partner organizations. Every year hundreds of our employees dedicate up to four days of full pay for voluntary work. With over 50% of our Poland-based employees engaged in charity work, we have created a team that not only provides financial support but gives all its enthusiasm, skills and knowledge to make a real difference to communities in which we live and work responding to problems such as unemployment, poor living conditions, pollution and animal abuse.
Through our CSR activity we create a friendly and inspiring atmosphere to encourage our people to boost their skills, effectively cope with challenges and lead a healthy lifestyle. We have a number of employee networks supporting women, young parents, LGBT people and multiculturalism. Our LGBT and Ally Network, received the first ‘LGBT+ network of the year’ award at the NatWest LGBT+ Diamonds 2018 Polish Business Gala. It was a huge success motivating us to work even harder in the future.