When you think of Barcelona, philanthropy is probably one of the last words to come to mind. Generally, the buzz words that go along well with Barcelona are sports, beach, fun, and a struggling economy. But if you look deep beneath the surface, you will see that Barcelona has a lot of philanthropic pull, prowess and capacity. Not only are there quite a few anonymous and generous donors based in Barcelona but there are quite a few social causes and social companies here as well.
First of all, if you’re waiting for me to mention the philanthropic pursuits of Messi to the inhabitants and causes of Catalonia, I won’t do that. Yes, he’s done a few remarkable things for the educational exchange programs at Valle Hebron Hospital and the FC Barcelona Foundation to name a few, but his charitable giving profile is predominantly in the international sector, and not so much focused on Barcelona or even Spain. Allow me the chance to focus on the charitable giving culture of Barcelona’s original inhabitants, the people of Catalonia.
Culturally speaking, the Catalan people haven’t made it their business to broadcast their charitable giving efforts. In order to find out what’s really going on, you’ll need to dig deep and take a stroll to your local library, city hall or a few private foundations. Ask around to see their donor profiles. By law, a record must be kept on donation sources for all institutions that receive donations. Even if the donor wishes to be kept anonymous, they reserve that right, but not so much in the eyes of the hacienda, and the donation amount must always be reported. Dig through the records of hacienda’s philanthropic records and be amazed. In Spain, there are not many cities with a comparable record.
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The rise of social companies
Social companies are companies that make giving and philanthropic work their business. They are in business for profit but are creative and savvy about how they monetize their projects while still focusing on a social cause. Quite a few of them are sprouting right here in Barcelona. Below is a list of just a few.
Social Coin – They promote random acts of kindness on a larger social level that involves companies and the planting of trees.
Worldcoo – They link eCommerce purchases to help in the funding of social causes.
Incubaeco – They provide a platform for eco-conscious entrepreneurs.
There are dozens and dozens of non-profit organizations based in Barcelona. Everything from helping the homeless, to immigrant rights and energy efficiency, to Catalonia separation rights organizations can be found here. Guess how they’re funded? Most of them are funded either by private donors or are membership based, and are collaboratively funded.
Whether you’d like to volunteer for a soup kitchen, promote Catalonia’s separatism from Spain, or fund research at the Universitat of Barcelona, you have a good chance at getting involved in them all.
Philanthropy and the spirit thereof is not a dead practice in Barcelona, or even Catalonia itself.