“We facilitate the formation of a donation culture in Azerbaijan”
Red Hearts, which was founded as an initiative group by voluntary employees of Kapital Bank in late 2019 and now operates as a Foundation, strives to improve the lives of those in need and numerous aspects of life. In addition to “History-making Heroes”, “Homeland Garden”, “Anything is Possible”, “They are Entrusted to Us”, “Red Hearts Educational Scholarship Program”, “Recycle Batteries, Protect the Nature”, and many other social projects, the Red Hearts Foundation supports families of martyrs and veterans, orphanages and shelters, and low-income families. We spoke with Sevda Hagverdiyeva, the Foundation's President, to learn more about the Red Hearts Foundation's efforts in the first six months of 2023.
- Ms. Sevda, almost three years have passed since the Red Hearts Foundation began to operate. What projects did the Foundation implement this year?
- The Red Hearts Foundation operates in three different directions: “Environment”, “Society” and “Wildlife”. The Foundation constantly carries out various projects and humanitarian initiatives with the donations of different donors. I would also like to mention that our Foundation acts as a partner and organizer in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of many local companies. Projects including “Homeland Garden”, “Book Walk”, “History-making Heroes”, “Anything is Possible”, “Recycle Batteries, Protect the Nature”, “Red Hearts Educational Scholarship Program”, "Clean Environment, Clean Future” cleanup campaigns, and the “One Heart with Turkey!” fundraising campaign were all carried out by the Foundation during the first six months of 2023. Additionally, The Red Hearts have supported low-income war veterans’ families, provided housing for martyr families, published the “Campbell Biology” book, and engaged in a variety of other endeavors. In short, our Foundation aimed to make hundreds of individuals smile by making a difference in their lives through charitable activities executed with the assistance of volunteers in the first half of this year.
- As you mentioned, the Red Hearts Foundation volunteers play an essential role in the carrying out of these projects. Who are those volunteers?
- We must proudly say that 90% of our Foundation's volunteers are employees of Kapital Bank. Another 10% of the people are employees in various fields who voluntarily supported the Foundation's efforts during the Second Karabakh War and continue to assist the activities of the Foundation even though that about three years have passed since the end of the war. In addition to their jobs, they contribute to our community while adhering to the values of social responsibility. We warmly appreciate the volunteers' support of the Foundation.
- One of the funds that has great merit in the formation of the donation culture in Azerbaijan is the Red Hearts Foundation, headed by you. Regarding donations, we have two questions for you. Have you encountered more corporate donations or individual ones during your work in this direction?
- Actually, I do not believe it is truly correct to examine this comparison. Surely, corporations contribute a greater amount than individuals. This is due to the fact that they are corporate entities, but it is also worth noting that the number of corporations donating is small. Thousands of people now contribute to the social programs carried out by our Foundation. These social projects are funded by donations from individuals and legal entities.
- How do you promote donations among citizens?
- I would like to provide you with an example. As you are aware, on February 6, a series of earthquakes were recorded in various regions of Turkey, resulting in numerous casualties. The Red Hearts Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign called “One Heart with Turkey!” to support the victims of the terrible natural disaster. Three channels were used to collect donations for this campaign. Contributions could be made through the Birbank mobile application, the https://redhearts.az/ website, and Kapital Bank terminals. With the help of more than 26,000 people, the campaign was able to raise AZN 742,245. I should note that the vast majority of those who donated were individuals. It takes a lot of effort to raise that many funds in such a short amount of time through individual donations. One of the primary objectives that stood out here was to encourage more people to help and spread the principles of benevolence. Philanthropy is a pervasive culture. People motivate one another, which encourages individuals to donate. In this case, one of the key challenges is transparency. Contributors must recognize the fundraiser's accountability. With its values, the Red Hearts Foundation accepts this obligation.
- Could you tell us one of the most memorable events of this year?
- One of the most memorable moments this year was the solidarity, kindness, and commitment to moral values shown by our people during the earthquake that occurred in Turkey. The fact that 87-year-old Mirza Baba, who approached the Lankaran branch, donated his pension to the “One Heart with Turkey!” campaign and that schoolchildren living in Gazakh, Khachmaz, Tovuz, and other regions collected savings given by their families and donated them to our Foundation are clear demonstrations of this. From young to old, everyone has become one heart with Turkey. Such happenings once again reflect the kindness of the Azerbaijani people. With these charitable initiatives, we promote the development of a contribution culture throughout the nation. We are pleased with what we accomplished.
- How can people support the Red Hearts Foundation?
- Anyone can visit the Foundation's website (https://redhearts.az/), make donations, and support our initiatives by doing so. Donations can also be made via Kapital Bank terminals, as well as the Birbank mobile app. I should also point out that challenges for various activities are presented on our social media pages. Through our website, you can also get in touch with us directly. We are open to all suggestions and feedback within our activity directions and resources. Each contribution made is extremely important for the projects we are implementing.