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10th anniversary: supporting good causes – from Austria to Georgia

Over the past decade, thousands of employees in 22 countries have given a total of 300,000 hours of their time to help people in need.

5 December is International Volunteer Day. Introduced in 1985, this special day focuses on promoting and honouring commitment to voluntary activities worldwide. Every year, employees at the Vienna Insurance Group – Austria’s largest international insurance group – can spend one working day volunteering in support of good causes. Titled Social Active Day, this unique initiative was launched in 2011 – in the middle of the economic and financial crisis – by VIG’s main shareholder, Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein. “It never fails to impress me, just how many employees in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe give up their time to support charitable organisations on Social Active Day, and how much dedication and hard work they put in each year. In a relatively short space of time, this day of social engagement has become an institution, and an integral part of our Group’s identity,” explained Robert Lasshofer, Chairman of the Managing Board at Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the main shareholder of the Vienna Insurance Group (VIG). “Social engagement, solidarity and the volunteer spirit know no bounds: after its launch in Austria, Social Active Day quickly caught on across Central and Eastern Europe, and is now a core element of our culture. In VIG’s markets, Social Active Day is one of the highlights of the year for many of the Group’s employees. I would like to express my gratitude to all of them – they deserve the highest praise,” commented Elisabeth Stadler, General Manager of the Vienna Insurance Group (VIG).

Volunteering from Austria to Georgia

Employees devote their time to a range of different activities on Social Active Day. They vary according to the organisation, the location and local needs. For example, Wiener Städtische Versicherung – the largest member of the insurance group in Austria – has implemented various projects in collaboration with partners such as Caritas, Hilfswerk, the Red Cross and Volkshilfe. These include support for social supermarkets; cooking for people in need at the Gruft, a homeless facility; distributing meals from the Canisibus, a mobile soup kitchen; visits to care and retirement homes, refugee shelters and Nachbarschaftszentren community centres; as well as gardening and litter picking. Social Active Day is also part and parcel of the corporate culture at VIG’s second-largest Austrian insurance company, Donau Versicherung. But it is not only staff in Austria who are willing to roll up their sleeves; employees from more than 20 European countries – including top management – also take part: every year, about 6,000 people from across the Group do volunteer work on Social Active Day. This year, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, Social Active Day again saw employees devote their time to helping people who require urgent assistance and support.

Press photos of previous Social Active Day initiatives are available for download free of charge at https://www.wst-versicherungsverein.at/en/social-active-day/