Everywhere, even in wealthy countries, there are many people live in poverty and face destitution, hardship and difficulties. Society needs to become more humane. That's why I fully support the initiatives of the Wealtheon Foundation, an organisation that seeks to help good causes in a very modern and effective manner.
In today's society, violence is often the direct or indirect result of social abuse. Material poverty is not the only form of poverty, and spiritual poverty leads to far-reaching intolerance, ideological and religious extremism, and radicalism. Initiatives can be taken in these areas, but this requires organisation, structure and the support of highly qualified people.
The Wealtheon Foundation takes a positive view: no situation is hopeless, and we can always achieve progress. Poverty has declined in many countries and there are countless examples of constructive contributions and collaboration. A pessimist only sees problems, whereas a wise optimist sees opportunities. This is an attitude that inspires our Foundation.
Mark Eyskens was prime minister of Belgium from 6 April 1981 until 17 December 1981 and held office in 13 governments between 1976 and 1992, serving as Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs, among other things.
In 2012, a group of friends and I founded the Amsterdam City Swim, an annual event to raise money to fight the devastating neuromuscular disease ALS (motor neurone disease). The event raised over € 6 million in its first four editions. It has also led to many other charity swimming events in the Netherlands, and we are currently developing international versions so that we can work with others on a wider stage.
During the past few years I have learned just how important good management is when it comes to fundraising, and how hard it is to ensure that the funds raised are put to good use. I'm very happy that I can utilise my expertise for the benefit of the Wealtheon Foundation. By combining our expertise and using the right structure, we aim to support good causes in an appropriate manner.
My day job is the CEO of Lifeguard, a company I set up with two friends in 2002. We focus on providing coaching and training to business owners and managers, using elite sport as a frame of reference. We show individuals, teams and organisations how to put their energy to better use in order to increase their levels of happiness and productivity. Our aim is to help business owners, managers and employees be in peak form.
As the mother of three children, I know what life is like for young people, what their options are for the future, and how we can improve the world in which we live. For this reason, and encouraged by my legal background, I became involved in fundraising for L'Acceuil, a crisis centre for abused children, and for the Jules Bordet Institute, a leading cancer research centre.
I stand squarely behind initiatives such as the Wealtheon Foundation. By supporting people who help others, people who support research and people who protect the environment, the Wealtheon Foundation enables them to improve our world. As Nelson Mandela said, 'We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.'
Kathelijn and Victor Zwart
The power of donating
In 2007, our friend Frits, who is also a Wealtheon Group client, introduced us to the Barodia School Project. This initiative is aimed at improving living conditions and improving the future of children (especially girls) from untouchable castes in Barodia, a village in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Frits was looking for people who were prepared to commit to donating to his project over the long term. He teamed up with a local maharajah he had befriended to buy a piece of land and build a small schoolroom. Today, 160 children attend the school on a daily basis and are provided with uniforms, food and a proper education. This fantastic, lasting success was achieved thanks to perseverance and Frits's unbridled faith in the local population. The lives of the children have changed forever, and, more importantly, their prospects have improved to an inconceivable extent.
For us, too, it was the first step along the road to something wonderful. Over time, more and more initiatives came our way, from organisations that ranged from small foundations working at a highly local level to large institutions with global operations. We cannot describe the boost that those large numbers of philanthropic projects provided. Unfortunately, it is impossible to support every project that is proposed, no matter how noble or carefully considered it may be. That is one of the reasons why we decided to set up our own 'facilitating' foundation: the Wealtheon Foundation. Together with the foundation's board, which is composed of members who have their own philanthropic motivations, ideas and experiences, we hope to have an impact on how the world will look in future. This impact may only be a drop in the ocean, but every drop matters.
For us, philanthropy goes beyond financial support provided by the Wealtheon Foundation. We also seek to increase general awareness. Most philanthropic organisations do not receive any government funding as they wish to safeguard their independence. This means they survive on donations from private individuals such as you and me.
We believe that everyone has the power to lay the foundations for a positive impact, today or in the future, in their immediate environment or on the other side of the world, that benefits all those who need it most or reduces future need. Doing nothing is not an option, and the power of donating knows no bounds.
Victor and Kathelijn Zwart