Unlocking the potential of Europe’s next generation. Education is one of the most powerful tools that humanity has for shaping a brighter future.

Through the UniCredit Foundation, we aim to unlock the potential of Europe’s next generation by providing them with equal education opportunities.

Our ambitions

1To build better futuresFor our young people and their communities across Europe
2To ensure growth and developmentAcross all of society by investing in education
3To leverageOur extensive educational network, our partnerships and our in-depth knowledge of our communities to create equal opportunities in education
4To give Europe’s next generationThe keys to unlock their innate potential and empower them to become the changemakers of our society
kid smilling in a park

Our progress so far

The UniCredit Purpose is to empower communities to progress – and the Foundation is a key component in that ambition. Its aim is to equip Europe’s students with the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and their communities. We made good progress over the last 12 months, thanks in particular to an increase in Group funding from €4 million in previous years to €20 million. This welcome boost enabled us to make a real difference in more ways than ever before.

of Group funding to the Foundation in 2023
UniCredit employees contributed to helping support organisations

The Foundation’s Purpose is to unlock the potential of Europe’s next generation by providing them with equal education opportunities in three priority areas:

  • High quality schooling is the starting point in the battle to reduce inequalities. A quality school, where students are placed firmly at the centre of the learning experience, can be a transformative force where the individual is empowered to thrive and is valued and respected, regardless of background – paving the way for a more equitable and just society.

  • Young people with low levels of education have historically had difficulty in entering the labour market. The school-towork transition is a particular problem for vocational school students, whose employment rates remain consistently lower than those of other high school graduates.

  • We strive to support the best talents in the fields of economics and finance through scholarships, and via research grants and awards in the countries where we operate.

    We made good progress in 2023, investing a total of €20 million in these priority areas.

Heart shape made with hands

Our approach

Education can never be a short-term fix. It is a long-term process that requires sustained commitment and support. The bank’s decision to sanction a fivefold increase in our budget for 2023 not only gave us greater confidence to plan ahead, it also increased our responsibility to achieve the results we are all looking for. In 2023, we targeted our support via four distinct channels:

  • At a Group level we have established major long-term partnerships that can deliver sustainable outcomes across the full range of our operating countries. These partnerships are with established organisations with proven track records of achievement. (See the ‘For the students who quit studying’ and ‘For the teachers changing futures’ case studies.)

  • We also support initiatives at a much more local level, leveraging the practical grassroots knowledge of our teams and networks in individual countries and regions to address specific local issues. (See the ‘€3 million makes a difference’ case study.)

  • We offer scholarships, research grants, and awards to give young people the chance to study at top class institutions abroad. The aim is to foster a research environment that advances knowledge, publishes high quality research and makes a real, lasting impact on communities as well as on the young people themselves. (See the ‘Giving students the skills to succeed’ case study.)

  • We give our people a range of opportunities to enhance their own lives and those of others across the world. We not only offer a gift matching scheme (“Gift Matching Program”) that doubles employee donations, but have also developed summer school scholarships that can improve employees’ skills and knowledge. In 2023, the number of scholarship schemes doubled from 10 to 20. Furthermore, we also provide a framework through which our people can donate funds to help communities affected by humanitarian emergencies. Early in 2023, more than 1,700 employees contributed to help organisations such as Red Cross, Save the Children and UNHCR support victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Total donations amounted to more than €300,000.

Double the impact

Since 2003 we have doubled all donations made by employees to non-profit organisations chosen by colleagues themselves. In total, our financial support via the Gift Matching Program has amounted to €52.91 million*.

As a manager I truly believe that financial performance goes hand in hand with corporate culture, creating the grounds for sustainable performance over time and motivating people to unleash their potential. Gift Matching Program gives me a sense of accomplishment in seeing people expressing themselves and exchanging proposals on initiatives that we choose to support with enthusiasm over time.”

Gabriele Zuccarello

UniCredit Compliance Quality Assurance

* This amount includes the donations made by colleagues and the corresponding matching provided by the Foundation.

Giving students the skills to succeed

Over the last decade, the Foundation has granted more than 300 scholarships and fellowships to support almost 1,200 young students and researchers, with total funds provided now standing at €25.5 million. Many of these projects enable young people from countries across Europe to study at some of the world’s leading academic institutions.

Investing in research to fight inequality in education Our commitment continued through 2023 with a further €1.1 million funding research projects on education, including collaboration with CID at Harvard University.

While there is abundant research into educational needs in developing countries, much less exists on the challenges faced in Europe. The aim of these grants is to improve understanding of how education can fight inequalities – and then to bring that knowledge back to our operating countries where it can become the foundation that drives future progress.

Promoting talent in economics and finance During 2023 we gave students the chance to apply for around 30 prestigious scholarships and fellowships focusing on economics and finance. Based on ten separate competitions with total funding of €1.9 million available, these grants enable students to pursue Doctoral or Masters programmes at renowned universities in Europe and the USA. One of our key aims is to encourage ‘brain gain’. After their studies, we want these talented students to return home and use their new knowledge to make a difference in their own countries.

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Next steps

Firm believers in the transformative power of education, we want to touch lives and change them for the better through a focus on longterm programmes. And while we are proud of our progress and sure of our direction, we have only scratched the surface of what is possible – there is still so much more we can do to unlock the potential of Europe’s next generation.

Many of the achievements of the last 12 months were built on our in-depth knowledge and connections with the communities in which we operate – and we will now work hard to make these connections even more robust and proactive.

Based on clear, demonstrable knowledge and understanding, guided by academic research and enabled by local insights that sit within our country organisations and teams, our future work will focus on:

  • Continuing to leverage the work of the academics we have supported, while also providing funding for new research.

  • Developing targeted programmes that meet the educational needs of young people in all the countries where we operate.

  • Tackling the diverse aspects of educational poverty through a multifaceted, community-level approach.

  • Building even stronger relationships between the central Foundation team and our colleagues working in the territories at a local level – continually striving for and measuring our impact.
Total cumulative students trained over the period 2022–2026
Total cumulative teachers selected and trained over the period 2022-2026
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€3 million makes a difference

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kid smilling in a park

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Foundation Report

UniCredit Foundation's Annual Report describes how the Foundation supports our communities to create sustainable value over time to fulfil its Purpose.

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