No. 4: La Caixa Foundation

The broad aim of the foundation is to improve people’s quality of life

SPAIN - £350m

The 110 year old La Caixa Foundation stems directly from the Spanish bank set up in 1904 by Catalan lawyer Francesc Moragas. Moragas had a deep sense of public responsibility and the bank was the first in Spain to provide social insurance. From 1918 La Caixa began to allocate part of its earnings to social projects, playing a pioneering role by donating to causes that had yet to gain any public funding, such as cheap housing, helping to promote women’s employment and supporting healthcare.

The broad aim of the foundation is to improve people’s quality of life. It helps fund education to get people into jobs and provides money for schemes aimed at securing decent and affordable housing. It also supports various health prevention initiatives, as well as giving money towards causes which allow older people to enjoy their later years.

La Caixa tries to solve social issues without losing sight of the underlying cause of these problems. As Isidro Fainé, chairman of the ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation, puts it: “we cannot merely aspire to continue as organic institutions that serve and will serve, ad infinitum, by correcting the inequalities and imbalances created by the system. It is vital to look up, to look further and never give up resolving problems at their root”.

Its work isn’t just in Spain. Since 1997 it has also been helping to fund international programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America, working together with local organisations and, through the CooperantesCaixa programme, providing the skilled technical assistance of La Caixa volunteers to different projects.