Society and Contribution to Urban Development
Inclusion, Diversity and Social Cohesion
The social infrastructure of a neighborhood plays an important role for social cohesion. A cohesive civil society with all its social and cultural offerings creates space for diversity and contributes significantly to the attractiveness and liveliness of neighborhoods. Social institutions and civic engagement support exchange and thus successful coexistence in local communities.
Through promotions and support measures in the social sphere, Vonovia creates value for those who call our neighborhoods home. These include people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Vonovia has tenants from over 150 nations, as well as from a wide variety of age groups and social structures.
“Orange the World”
In 2020, BUWOG participated in the UN’s “Orange the World” campaign, which addresses violence against women and girls worldwide between November 25 (“International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”) and December 10, 2020 (“Human Rights Day”). The topic is brought into focus by illuminating squares, monuments, buildings, participating institutions, organizations and companies. BUWOG’s customer and administration center in central Vienna provided an ideal location to make an effective contribution.
Demand-oriented and functional cooperation with social institutions, cities, municipalities, and residential real estate companies underpins the holistic neighborhood concept and serves as a strategic building block for community development. The promotional activities provided by Vonovia, which address specific local needs, focus on social and ecological measures that strengthen coexistence in the neighborhood, contribute to greater diversity and promote a vibrant living environment. This is how we summarize it in our Group Donations & Sponsorship Policy, which we completely revised in 2019. This defines the framework for action within which those responsible can select and implement suitable collaborations based on needs. The freedom to make decisions on site is important in order to be able to react to the respective challenges in a targeted manner. A wide range of measures and community development programs are emerging as a result, matching the diversity of society itself. These include:
- Establishing neighborhood meetings and daycare centers
- Cooperating with social institutions and sponsors as well as municipal neighborhood managers
- Providing premises and services in kind for social and cultural institutions
- Promoting cultural diversity by supporting small art projects
- Helping those in need, e.g., by supporting food banks
- Personal commitment of employees, e.g., in clean-up and planting campaigns
At https://www.vonovia.de/de-de/vor-ort (in German) we showcase a variety of projects that demonstrate our engagement.
of rent-free or discounted commercial space for social institutions (in Germany)
Around € 1.5 million
invested in social/cultural projects (in Germany)
housing units reached through central support programs and social projects
2020 Projects and Partnerships (examples):
- Meeting Point in Hannover-Garbsen: Provision of premises and donation of sewing machines and materials to engage in dialogue with women with a migration background and promote their integration
- Vienna Women’s Shelters: Social assistance for women affected by violence
- Ingrid Ritter Foundation in Stuttgart: Extension of rent control to ensure affordable housing for single mothers, additional donation of € 10,000 to the foundation to support its work
- Housing First for Women (Berlin): Supporting the work of the association for homeless women with two apartments and monetary donations
- Artists’ studios in Essen: free rooms for artists to work in, as well as exhibition spaces (others, e.g., in Berlin or Bremen)
- Traditional restaurant in Dortmund: Preserving a traditional restaurant in Dortmund as a neighborhood meeting place in cooperation with a neighborhood initiative
Our social commitment and funding behavior in the year under review were shaped by the coronavirus pandemic, which particularly affected integration work in our neighborhoods. Face-to-face meetings and participation – the core of integration work – were not possible or only possible to a limited extent due to the pandemic. Facilities had to close and events could not take place. At the same time, the living environment – particularly balconies and gardens – has become increasingly important for our tenants.
That’s why we held a large number of courtyard and balcony concerts in 2020, in which artists performed in courtyards and on balconies directly in residential areas. This gave our tenants the opportunity to participate in cultural events in the protected space of their own apartments, and we were able to provide financial support to small artists whose livelihoods had been severely curtailed. A special concert took place in Dresden in September. As part of the “Himmel über Prohlis” project, 33 musicians from the Dresden Symphony Orchestra gave an open-air alpenhorn concert on the roofs of high-rise buildings. Vonovia provided the roof space and financial assistance for this purpose.
For many people in need of assistance, the pandemic has further worsened their living situation. That’s why one of our areas of focus in 2020 was the nationwide food bank movement. Over 950 non-profit food banks in Germany collect surplus food and distribute it to people in need. We supported more than 30 local food banks in 2020 with donations of over € 60,000 and through our employees’ personal commitment.
Starting in 2021, we will be expanding our support services to include another special cooperation. In the coming years, we will be sponsoring Silbernetz e. V., who offer a nationwide telephone hotline to combat loneliness among the elderly. We inform our tenants about the offer, thereby creating contacts, providing the association with rooms for training courses and supporting the association’s infrastructure with an annual donation.
The funding instruments are supplemented by our foundation work, primarily within the framework of the Vonovia Stiftung (Vonovia foundation), the Vonovia Mieterstiftung e. V. and “Stiftung Mensch und Wohnen”. With their help, we implement support measures for the benefit of our tenants and the rental environment. We also support tenants in social emergencies – in 2020 with a funding volume of over € 200,000.