Aleksandr Feldman: “From the birth everyone inside has a genetic program to help each other.”

The famous philanthropist, people’s deputy of Ukraine Aleksandr Feldman told to the business newspaper “Delo” about the new business line of his Fund. And that is social entrepreneurship.

Aleksandr, you were among the first people who put the personal philanthropy beyond the corporate social accountability, by creating in 1997 the private Fund of Aleksandr Feldman. Are you still loyal to the chosen at that time business line?

Yes, of course. I think that targeted social assistance, protection of childhood and the preservation of cultural heritage are the foundation stones of my philanthropy. And each of these stones has its own social significance. Philanthropy is a way on which every person with self-respect will step. Every businessman on a certain stage of his life will eventually realize that business itself can’t be the only goal. The business will lose its essence, if its results are not targeted on goals that are beyond its frames.

“From birth everyone inside has a genetic program to help each other. This is a basis of the civil society development, I am sure”.

What do you think is the most important? And does the Fund have new business lines?

We prioritize all our business lines. It is impossible to say that the help that we grant based on the requests of the people is less important than the protection of motherhood and childhood. Today our priority is to keep the pace, to build partnership relations with foreign funds and to work on future amendments that can be introduced in the charity laws. Ukrainian philanthropy developing in accordance with world tendencies has made a big and important step for the last five years. Today in the world we can see more and more often such social models as social investments and social entrepreneurship. Unfortunately they are hardly known in Ukraine. Right now together with foreign partners we are working on the model of social entrepreneurship development. Also we work on the regulation of the legislation that governs the entrepreneurship of disabled people and the businesses that will solve their social problems.

Which of the most acute social problems in Ukraine can be solved by social entrepreneurship? And what actions should be undertaken to implement this model?
 
Special conditions for the entrepreneurship of disabled people can solve the problem of social adaptation, will give the opportunity to earn money and self-actualize. We would like to update the previous practice of all Ukrainian non-governmental organizations of disabled people, as well as people with complete and significant hearing loss and to enlarge the scope of business activity of such organizations.We would like to add this model to a special organization and legal form. Under this form the businessman who is involved into socially practical activity, such as food supply for the homeless people could direct the income received from this activity into the same field of activity. In the West such companies are called social company or social cooperative. This is a practical new approach in the social policy. Besides the development of legislation, we would like to test this model practically on the territory of Kharkov Region and on the bases of our Concern AVEC.

What targets and goals do you set before Fund in this area in the year 2011?

At first our goal is to develop and bring up for consideration a draft of law “On social entrepreneurship”.  At second we are planning this spring to launch locally the trainings for the organizers of this process. At third we will try to attract the attention of government to the new instruments of social policy. Considering the global tendencies, optimization of governmental social obligations we want to develop the proposition on modern approaches in social area which will help to solve the problems and not to worsen the old ones and to create new ones.

You were the part of group of deputies who initiated the adoption of the law “On Charity”. This law has been registered in Verkhovna Rada in the beginning of the last year. What has happened to it?

The draft of the law has been considered in the Committee of Verkhovna Rada on issues of culture and spirituality and received the decision of the Head Scientific and Expert Administration. The Committee suggested Verkhovna Rada to adopt the draft of the law in the first reading. We really hope that in the nearest future it will become the part of the agenda, will be considered in the debating chamber and will receive the support from my colleagues from the parliament.

What legislation norms should be adopted in the first place in order to start the development of civilized charity?
 
At first, it is important to simplify the registration process of charity funds. At second, the donators should increase the control over the target use of donations. At third, a special charity instruments should be adopted. For example, charity servitudes, endowments and etc. Besides the above mentioned it is necessary to have the tax benefits not only for big donators and philanthropists, but above all for average people, small and mid-sized businesses. Charity should become the life style for people. And the government should support this process as ideology. From the birth everyone inside has a genetic program to help each other. This is a basis of the civil society development, I am sure.

How do you control how effectively the Fund is spending your money? How can you evaluate the social effect from your programs?

There is a guardianship and a coordination board in the Fund. They are not the controlling bodies that evaluate the activities and use of funds. And talking about social effect, this component is that goal that is laid in the foundation of each and all of our projects. Has the goal been achieved can be seen by mass media monitoring, sociological researches and by consulting with the leading specialist in each and every area

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