50,000 euros donated in a charity auction held by Danske Bank Lithuania employees

Three NGOs operating in Lithuania will have more opportunities to pursue their goals to preserve forests in the country, to help people with disabilities and to defend animal rights. Since the end of September, employees of Danske Bank Lithuania have donated EUR 50,000 to social organisations. The funds were raised through a Bid2Give auction initiated and organised by the employees themselves.

Social responsibility is part of organisational culture

 

Almost 900 colleagues took part in the auction by bidding for their desired furniture, electronic devices, sports and other equipment. Many participants won more than one item, and the record was set by an employee who donated a total of 1,300 EUR by winning multiple items. Donations were collected for the Ancient Woods Foundation (Sengirės fondas), the independent association “Savarankiškas gyvenimas” and the Animal Protection and Rights Organisation (G.A.T.O).

“Social responsibility in Danske Bank is not something that is imposed top-down. Rather, it is a natural and vibrant part of our culture and principles that many colleagues share. Therefore, this initiative was a great representation how different departments gathered, teamed up for a voluntary mission, which is a great example of how meaningful initiatives are born and implemented thanks to active and caring team members,” says Vilius Lukauskas, Country Business Manager.

Vilius notes that the auction has also helped to reduce the impact on the environment – according to the calculations of scientists at the Department of Hydrology and Climatology of Vilnius University, Danske Bank Lithuania has reduced CO2 emissions by almost 40 tonnes by giving a second life to used items.

 

Will help to preserve ancient woods in Lithuania

Mindaugas Survila, one of the founders of the Ancient Woods Foundation and director of the Ancient Woods (Sengirė) documentary, says that the donation of almost EUR 15,000 is a really significant contribution that will help to preserve about 1.5 to 3 hectares of the most valuable old-growth forest, which has about 450 to 900 mature trees, as well as thousands of diverse living beings.

“We are grateful for all the support we receive from the community, businesses and organisations. The donation not only helps the Foundation to preserve forest areas, but also provides a platform to promote a community-based approach to environmental protection. Only 1.2% of Lithuania's forests are strictly protected, and the oldest fragments of stands – around 200 years old – cover only 0.009% of the country. However, it is precisely the forests that are not subject to any economic activity that are not only a natural refuge for thousands of species of animals, plants and fungi, but also act as a buffer against the processes of climate change and the extreme phenomena caused by them,” says Mindaugas Survila.

 

Focus on integration initiatives for people with disabilities

Ričardas Dubickas, President of the independent association “Savarankiškas gyvenimas” also acknowledges that during the pandemic it has become more difficult to secure funding for the organisation's activities. He is therefore happy that many of the auction's participants also chose to donate to solutions for people with disabilities. The total donation to this organisation is over EUR 20,000.

“Unfortunately, the rights of people with disabilities are often forgotten, and their problems do not always get the attention they need. So it is great to see that there are a lot of people who care and contribute to a better integration of people with disabilities. The funds raised during the auction will be used to provide training, as well as to purchase a car adapted for people with disabilities in cooperation with the Lithuanian Active Rehabilitation Association,” says Ričardas.

Support has become even more important during the pandemic

Brigita Kymantaitė, Head of the Animal Protection and Rights Organisation, says that the pandemic has been a difficult period, so the EUR 14,000 donation from the auction participants will be a significant support for the organisation.

“During the pandemic, due to the uncertainty surrounding the situation, some large international organisations suspended their donations, which are only now gradually returning. All funds raised will be used to rescue captive wild animals kept in poor conditions in Lithuania. We have a long list of animals waiting for help. Together with state authorities, we carry out inspections of private wildlife keepers to ensure that animals kept in poor conditions are relocated to a safer environment,” says Brigita.

The Bid2Give initiative is expected to continue next year and will aim to involve other countries at group level.