ABU DHABI // The Emirates Foundation - which already spends nearly Dh200 million (US$54m) a year on development projects - will dramatically increase that amount by 2012, officials announced on Sunday. The announcement was made as part of a ceremony at the Emirates Palace hotel honouring private companies that contributed to the foundation since its inception in 2005. The awards were presented by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, and the ceremony was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander or the Armed Forces.
The foundation's managing director, Dr Salih al Hashimi, said it intended to increase spending gradually from Dh179m in 2009 to Dh238m within three years. In addition to the 42 private companies that work with the foundation, the Government provides financial support to cover administrative costs. The aim is that all the funds the foundation receives from companies will go to its projects without any resources being stripped away to cover operations.
Dr al Hashimi stressed that the organisation wanted to foster good relationships with the private sector. And when a private company engages in social responsibility, he said, it boosts the company's image. "Social responsibility activities would also increase the loyalty of a company's employees, enhance its reputation in the country and would help the company gain commercial profits in the long run," Dr al Hashimi said. "In 2005 and 2006, 16 businesses and utilities each pledged more than Dh10m to get the foundation started. Without these donations, the foundation would not have become a reality."
The ceremony was attended by a few hundred guests, including officials from many different companies, agencies and institutions. Among them were the British School, HSBC, Masdar and Exxon Mobil. In the first half of this year, the foundation provided 450 grants. Eleven grants were provided to universities; 22 to people with special needs; 39 to social organisations; 71 to teachers; 79 to artists; 84 to researchers; and 144 to postgraduate students.
Takatof, the foundation's volunteering programme, attracted 8,000 volunteers who did 87,000 hours of work in the first half of this year. Tawteen, the foundation's Emiratisation programme, embarked on seven projects with 15 private organisations this year. It also communicated with 3,100 Emiratis and spent a combined 180,000 hours to help youth prepare to work in the private sector. email@example.com