Letter from Vladimir Potanin
I have been engaged in philanthropy for more than twenty years. It has become an important part of my life.
In 1999 I created a philanthropic foundation in order to implement projects in education, culture and philanthropy development in a truly effective manner. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation is one of the first domestic institutions of its kind that enabled to bring charitable work to a fully professional level. As the Foundation developed, we showcased new methods and mechanisms for the implementation of socially significant programs, and in doing so, fostered the overall environment for philanthropy.
The Foundation decided from the very beginning that its main priority would be to provide support to future leaders. Leaders are those who lead by example and foster a supportive environment for positive change.
The focus of the Foundation is to search for the best and to select the best. We are interested in the best students and the best museum programs. Leadership development enables to solve systemic issues, on any scale and in any industry. A leader will not simply burn through allocated funds, but will invest the money into their further development. We are confident that these individuals will continue to grow and to achieve long after grant support has ended.
Our work has had resonance, and for the past fifteen years the Foundation has been actively promoting its philosophy. We have awarded more than 26,000 student scholarships and more than 2,000 grants to teachers. Dozens of volunteer projects have been implemented thanks to Foundation grants. We have supported 206 museum projects all over Russia, from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad. The State Hermitage Museum with whom the Foundation has developed a long-standing and fruitful cooperation plays a special role in this regard. Due to this collaboration 850 best museum staff members have been awarded grants to conduct research and to attend workshops, conferences.
Time never stands still; the world is changing constantly, and, as new exciting opportunities open up, the Foundation and its programs will respond. For example, since 2013 our scholarship programs have been focused on the support of master degree students, as they have a clear vision and goals for their studies. The Foundation launched a unique Endowment Growth Strategy program. As a result 10 organizations received endowment gifts, among them there is the Tomsk State University and the Penza Local Community Foundation Civil Union. On a competitive basis we award grants to students enrolled in the sports management program at the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi. In 2014 we significantly expanded our activity in the area of arts and culture; 4 museum programs were launched to allow Russian museums to be more open, contemporary and to help museum staff achieve their creative and professional goals.
My hope is that through its work the Foundation has been contributing to the gradual change in attitudes towards philanthropy in Russia. All of our programs are operated in accordance with clear and transparent rules. Students, teachers, museum staff are aware that when they come to us, they participate in a fair competitive process.
I am pleased that the number of applicants has risen year after year, and that the title ‘grant competition winner’ or ‘scholarship recipient’ of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation is considered to be a significant achievement and a remarkable line in a person’s resume.
To new successes!