• Andreas Rickert

Keeping society together.

A letter from... Andreas Rickert. The founder of Phineo is concerned about the existence of the non-profit sector and explains how the Corona relief fund can be used to help.

The lockdown for Germany came on 8 March. Already at the end of the month I received the first calls for help from charitable organizations. Their biggest problems were financial: they had no reserves, were not allowed to hold events. Because in normal times this was always a good source for raising donations, there was now a lack of income. But they were also very depressed by the program. They could not work: with young people, drug addicts, people with disabilities. Unlike in many companies, this could not be digitally recorded. Because the non-profit sector does not yet have a digital infrastructure - and no money to build one either.

At first, I was really excited about how quickly and comprehensively the government's aid programs were coming. Unfortunately, charitable institutions were not included. That's about 600,000 institutions in Germany that were simply forgotten. Didn't those responsible know how important this area is? It stabilizes the people - the giving and the receiving. Especially in times of crisis and post-crisis it is a meaningful factor, an important social cement. My greatest concern was that these organizations would break away. Now, in the second lockdown, it has become even bigger.

Ten years ago I founded Phineo - because I believe in partnerships and because people want to be effective with their good ideas and their creative power. I am also deeply convinced that we need a strong citizens' movement. Denn We can only solve the world's major problems together.

Today, 70 people at Phineo are committed to the non-profit sector. Our approach has always been to make diesen  more transparent and efficient. This is important because the younger generation in wealthy families thinks differently when it comes to social commitment. Sie wants to integrate it into their overall entrepreneurship. It wants to be strategically active for the common good. It wants to pool money, have lean processes, measure impact - that's new, and we're helping it do it.

In the acute corona phase, we asked ourselves what we could do to stabilize the endangered facilities. Three requirements quickly became apparent. First, we had to act quickly. That is why we approached private donors. Secondly, we sought intensive talks with politicians. On the one hand, the result was positive, because we basically met with the understanding of all those we talked to. On the other hand, however, no one really felt responsible. Financial commitments did not come for a long time. At least we managed to get social services supported and loans granted to social entrepreneurs if they were in a sound position.

But because this does not cover the non-profit sector by a long way, we have thirdly set up a Corona relief fund. We approached our network and asked for money to be distributed where it was most needed.

We are strict in the allocation of funds. For example, the financial imbalance of the charitable institution must be exclusively Corona-related. And of course it must work effectively. In order to assess this, we rely on the many years of phineo-analysis. In addition, we focus on small and medium-sized organisations, for whom even small sums of between 10,000 and 40,000 euros ensure their survival.

We have already collected more than 700000 Euro. As always, the high net worth individuals are committed to this. But for many entrepreneurs it is not easy to donate, because they are fighting for the existence of their company at the same time. Therefore, for the first time in the history of Phineo, we have opened our commitment to private donors and small budgets. Please join us in a sign of social solidarity. We need you today more than ever (www.corona-hilfsfonds.org). ®