Press Room



6 April, Moscow. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation and Moscow Business School Skolkovo opened Endowments 2018 Forum.

The start was given by Dmitry Medvedev, Chair of the Russian Government who greeted the forum participants with a telegram claiming that it was a unique platform for leading experts, heads of educational and cultural institutions, business and governmental officials. ‘For everybody whose good deeds come from the heart and who give support to Russian science and educations, culture and sports’, ran the text.

The Rector of Skolkovo Business School Marat Atnashev said, that ‘endowments were one of the most topical issues for the school whose foundation was one of the biggest in Russia’. Atnashev hoped that the forum would be instrumental in professional networking and creating an infrastructure for better decisions.

The General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation Oksana Oracheva explained that the foundation’s strategic interest was support for innovative individuals, bright ideas and creating space where they could meet. ‘We hope that the forum will empower people who are interested in advancing this model in Russia. We have revisited the traditional format of discussions and we will be welcoming every voice in open mike and business speed dating sessions, said Oracheva.

The overview of the current economic situation in Russia given by the Director of Independent Institute of Social Policy Natalia Zubarevich did not sound very positive: ‘Russian regions need endowments but opportunities for their expansion are very limited at the present moment’.

Deputy Minister of Culture Alexander Zhuravksy did not share this point of view and was by far more optimistic saying that long-term planning had a lot of potential even in the difficult economic situation. That is why the Russian Ministry for Culture was a strong supporter for endowments establishing one of the biggest foundations in the cultural sphere which would work to finance a large-scale touring project Russian Seasons.

Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim museums and foundation presented their case and wished the participants to remain calm and modest, because it took time and effort to develop an endowment and even the smallest sum counted.

The ICOM Endowment Fund director Bjorn Stenvers emphasized the importance of museum progressing to new financial models and use of international experience.

Oksana Oracheva gave a clear picture of how endowments in Russia had been developing by revealing new statistical information on the state of the model. She also gave a few examples of how the region benefits from an endowment as it happened, for instance, in Tomsk where the first botanical garden in Siberia was financed with profit generated by the endowment.

The role of endowments is changing from mere saving funds to changing the organization, which in its turn gains more flexibility for development.

Artem Shadrin, Director of the Strategic Development and Innovation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, spoke about the latest initiatives in the field of regulation of endowments: ‘Endowments are a significant social institution that helps non-profits be more sustainable, and this works towards public confidence and longer positive effect.’

There discussion also touched upon tax initiatives: in particular, about co-financing by the state of private donations. Artem Shadrin recalled that the benefits for companies that donate to trust funds were still not provided for.

‘Educational programs in the sphere of endowments are particularly important and I should point out the initiatives implemented by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation which positively influence the market and allows us to believe in success.’

The forum program brought together 330 participants and 56 experts.

The final accord of the conference was an award ceremony of the winners of the foundation grant contest for the creation of Endowments Knowledge Hubs.