At the beginning of 2014, the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) established six Pallas Athena Foundations with the aim of “contributing to the common good” and “implementing comprehensive social objectives”. HUF 260 billion (approximately EUR 830 million) were placed at the foundations’ disposal by the MNB.
The six foundations each provide support to ideas, individuals, and organisation in different fields, including PhD students, research mobility applications, areas of geopolitical and economic studies, as well as initiatives of ethnic Hungarians abroad. The foundations also assist innovative enterprises since these bear significant importance in today’s world, says Zoltán Fekete, CEO of Optima Investment and Property Management Plc., a company set up together by the six foundations.
The foundations accept applications continuously, and these are evaluated in regular board meetings. During the past two years, as the foundations began their operations, more than 700 applications were funded, receiving over HUF 3 billion.
At the time when the foundations were launched, limited information was made public about their workings. However, after civilian organisations and political parties raised concerns and the issue came under scrutiny, the foundations were obliged to disclose more information regarding their operations.
“When the foundations were set up, their objectives were also set. We have always thought that what we need to communicate is the results rather than the plans or aims. I believe that the amount of support awarded so far demonstrates the quantity and quality of the work the foundations well. Perhaps, in the United States, we would have started out with a strong PR campaign – here, we opted for a silent but professional work,” says CEO Zoltán Fekete.
“A resolution concerning the public nature of information about the MNB foundations made us draw the consequences and within weeks, we made all data concerning the operations of the foundations public. So, I think we have achieved the necessary transparency in this matter. Accordingly, in the future, we will continuously communicate the activities of the Pallas Athena foundations: what support they provide; what contracts they sign; what the composition of their wealth is; how this composition changes; etc.” he adds.
Copy editor: bm
Source: Daily News Hungary
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