Milan Foundation

The final aspect of AC Milan's social responsibility strategy is the work done by the Milan Foundation, a body entirely dedicated to implementing philanthropic projects.

Last season, the Foundation consolidated its working model with three approaches that accompany the long-standing presence in Crisis situations: Sport for Change, Sport for All, Sport for Values.

As the common denominator in all of the Foundation's working environments, sport is the key tool to meet the educational and developmental needs of the youngsters involved.

Each programme is developed in a unique way, adapting to the specific target audiences and their objectives.



OBJECTIVES


Turn sport into a vehicle of change to fight against exclusion and social discrimination

TARGET


11-15
 years old at risk of dropping out of school
15-24 years old in conflict with the law

METHODOLOGY AND PRIORITIES

Integrate problematic children by addressing delinquent behaviour and social exclusion

OBJECTIVES


Use sport as a social adhesive towards disabilities as well

TARGET


People with disabilities

METHODOLOGY AND PRIORITIES

Promote access to and support in sport within inclusive environments for disabled people

OBJECTIVES


Promote the values of sport
, respecting others and fair play

TARGET


4-18
 years old, across the board

METHODOLOGY AND PRIORITIES

Set up encounters that involve young people in their normal environments 

OBJECTIVES


Use sport to restore children's right to play

TARGET


4-18
 years old, in situations of humanitarian crises

METHODOLOGY AND PRIORITIES

Offer relief to children caught up in crises through recreational and sporting activities

The Sport for Change programme is carried out and managed directly by the Milan Foundation in regional offices, where it aims to encourage the development of inclusive networks of services alongside its work with children.

In the case of Sport for All, the Milan Foundation has the role of collecting the best experiences from Italian non-profit organisations. It seeks out and supports innovative projects that promote inclusive sport for disabled and healthy children. The Milan Foundation also finances research to demonstrate the social, educational and rehabilitative impact of these projects.

This increasingly hands-on and skilful management has ensured each project's impact is enhanced through the introduction of new assessment systems. 

Overview2014/20152015/2016
Funds raised by the Milan Foundation - € 482,298.89
Number of young people involved in programmes supported or launched by the Milan Foundation around 10,000 around 2,500
Number of operational programmes managed by the Milan Foundation 3 2
Value of operational programmes managed by the Milan Foundation € 457,569.99 € 130,903.28
Number of social projects financed by the Milan Foundation 8 7
Value of social projects financed by the Milan Foundation € 482,298.36 € 344,891
Overall value of investment by the Milan Foundation € 939,868.35 € 475,794

Sport for Change

Context

The problem of school drop-outs is reaching an alarming scale in Italy: 17.6% of youngsters aged between ten and 16 leave school early. A child of 15-16 who has trouble passing their exams at the end of lower secondary school is almost never encouraged to continue their studies, even when they have potential. (Source: 2013 Report on Early School Leaving by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research). 

Another issue in need of attention is that of minors coming into conflict with the law. More than 16,000 minors were flagged up by judicial authorities to the Office of Social Services for Minors in 2015.11% of these had previously been given warnings. 

Our response

The Milan Foundation's offices accompany children in trouble – they may have been excluded from school or work or may got into cycles of crime – so that they return to their studies and are supported as they reintegrate into society.

Regional offices aim to develop a support network around the children in question. In fact, for sport to be an effective tool for social action, it's necessary to have the support of various educational and formative steps involving the wider social and community environment.

Educational groups, recreational groups, companies and other bodies that populate the area actively contribute to bringing this project to life. They go beyond the role of simply making referrals, but actually develop coordinated and focused actions for the development of the children. A supportive and well-structured network creates the right conditions to offer inclusive pathways to the children, who are thus offered new opportunities to put themselves back in the game. 

The children undergo year-long courses with a personal team of a coach, educator and psychologist. The course is structured so as to include:

  • Continuous sports training. Playing sport is an educational tool that develops:
    • motor and technical skills in terms of perception, execution and coordination;
    • cognitive skills by improving the power of observation, analysis and problem-solving through games;
    • interpersonal skills through the discovery of others and social learning.
  • Expressive workshops (music, paper art, making videos) to encourage groups of children to socialise and develop the skill of expressing themselves, thus making the most of their personal abilities.
  • Guidance services and professional counselling to help young people pick their own educational and professional paths, giving them the tools to find their feet in the world of work and actively seek out working opportunities. The kids are given help compiling CVs and cover letters, as well as taking part in dummy interviews and learning how to use the appropriate channels to find jobs.
  • Personal psychological and educational assistance through which the youngsters can come to understand their problems and discover their hidden talents, their desires and their expectations so that they feel inspired and supported to enact change in their lives.

Overview 
Active offices 6 (Milan and surrounding area, Naples)
Beneficiaries 120
Institutions involved (schools, public bodies, non-profit organisations) 28
Companies involved 6
Artisanal companies 13
Professionals employed 38
Workshops organised 10
Apprenticeships 32
Youngsters who passed lower secondary school exams 36
Youngsters who continued their studies at upper secondary schools 28
Youngsters who found work 6
Youngsters involved in job-seeking course 11
Total hours of sports training 1,300
Total working hours 5,300

Sport for all

Context

In 1978 the United Nations, through its International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, established that, “Every human being has a fundamental right of access to physical education and sport, which are essential for the full development of his personality.” The promotion of sport as a crucial element for people's growth has been taken up and reaffirmed in subsequent documents, including most recently in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states the intention to “ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities”.

The Milan Foundation's work in this area is clear: guarantee access to and support in sporting activities, from which children and young people with disabilities risk being exclud esclusi1.

 

Our response

The guiding principle of the Milan Foundation's work is to go beyond merely providing assistance and support during rehabilitation, and to actually create inclusive environments that are able to stimulate the development of everyone taking part.

Based on this premise, the Foundation engages in partnerships with people who have great experience in issues of disability, supporting them to develop quality sporting activities and assisting them when measuring the social and economic impact.

Brought together by a shared vision in 2015, the Milan Foundation and Briantea84 launched the project We Play-Football School, the goal of which is to develop integrated sporting activities for children with intellectual or social disabilities.

In particular, the project intends to build a sporting model aimed at improving the well-being of the disabled child. It involves two steps:

  • an introduction to sport at a Soccer School for school-age children with intellectual and social disabilities;
  • access to integrated competitive sport where disabled and able-bodied people play together for the top-level team in the CSI Open11 championship.

Thirty-one individuals were involved during the 2015/2016 season:

  • Thirteen youngsters aged 9-18 with intellectual disabilities who live in La Nostra Famiglia di Bosisio Parini rehabilitation and treatment centre in Lecco attended the Soccer School.
  • Six people with intellectual disabilities aged between 23 and 37, plus 12 able-bodied individuals aged between 21 and 35, made up the top-level team, which competed in the CSI Open11 championship.

1 In the 2014/2015 academic year, 86,985 children in primary school and 66,863 children in lower secondary school were registered as having disabilities. The research was conducted by Italian statistics institute ISTAT and refers only to those children who require a support teacher.

Soccer School 
Children involved 13
Age bracket 9-18 (2007-1997)
Training sessions 45
Total hours of training 100
Extra activities involving the children 8
Attendance rate at training sessions 92%

Top-level team 
People involved 18
Age bracket 21-37
Players with disabilities 6
Able-bodied players 12
League games 20
Training sessions 49
Total hours of training 74
Extra activities involving the players 6
Average attendance rate at training 85%

Sport for Values

The objective of Sport for Values is to set up encounters to promote the values of sport so they can be a source of inspiration and guidance for new generations.

A noteworthy event involving four schools in Milan offered an insight into the importance of sport in crisis situations.

The topic of discussion was the Sports for Peace project in Lebanon, organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and supported by the Milan Foundation; this gave the youngsters a different point of view to reflect upon.

Lebanon has a population of four million and has accepted over 1.1 million Syrian refugees fleeing from violence, persecution and insecurity. Over half the refugees are children, but only 100,000 have access to schools and only attend classes in the afternoon because the Lebanese education system is already poverty-stricken and overburdened enough as it is.

In this context, sport takes on a vitally important role in promoting individual and collective well-being, as well as encouraging social cohesion among the many different communities in Lebanon.

Rocco Giorgianni from the Milan Foundation was at the presentation organised for the schools, alongside UNHCR Head of Regional Private Sector Fundraising for Italy, Greece and Portugal Federico Clementi, Antonello Bolis with his wealth of experience on the ground and project manager Sara Baschetti, who spoke via video link from Beirut.

Since its inception, the project has come into contact with 2000 girls and boys from Syria and Lebanon between the ages of 6 and 17, refurbished 12 sporting facilities used in different areas of Lebanon, trained 84 coaches and involved 200 parents in courses about the importance of non-violent communication, dialogue and protecting children. These figures were enough to stimulate the interest and enthusiasm of the young people in the audience.

The Milan Foundation took the opportunity of this occasion to announce that they will be continuing work in Lebanon in 2016 as well, which will allow 90 Syrian child refugees in the country to continue their studies.

Milano Marathon

For the first time, the Milan Foundation called upon runners to take up their positions on the starting blocks at the Europ Assistance Relay Marathon, the non-competitive relay race that took place at the same time as the Milan Marathon on 3 April 2016. The event was a great success, both in terms of number of participants and funds raised.

There were 180 people running by our side, wearing our colours and thus becoming our ambassadors. They included those who simply love to run, supporters of Milan Foundation's projects and big names turning out in the name of solidarity, like former basketball player Claudio Coldebella, cross-country skier Fabio Pasini and long-distance runner Claudio Mei.

The runners were joined by over 100 supporters who gave up their free time to get behind the initiative, assisting free of charge in publicising the event and getting involved in the final procession. Franco Baresi and Mauro Tassotti, for example, came down to the starting blocks to give some last-minute sports advice to the runners.

Seventy-four press releases have helped us to spread the word about the Milan Foundation's day-to-day work and add more than 7000 new followers, who expressed their appreciation for our work during the months of this campaign and an interest in being updated on our work.

The Milan Foundation's decision to take part in the Relay Marathon was an opportunity to try out a new sport and a novel way of getting people involved.

It proved to be a resounding success and the greatest achievement of all was the fact so many people decided to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the initiative. 

We invited the runners and our supporters to turn this sporting challenge into a communal challenge as well, asking them not only to donate money but also to get their friends and acquaintances to participate in order to hit the fundraising target of €10,000. 

In the end, the amount we raised was way over expectations, exceeding €14,000, which went to Play for Change. Every year, this programme helps over 100 children experiencing problems with school attendance and juvenile delinquency to return to their studies or enter the job market. 

The funds raised are enough to cover nearly four months of activities for 15 youngsters, who thanks to our assistance can get back to school and up to speed with their peers.

This outcome was made possible thanks to the efforts of AC Milan employees who had the chance to personally support the Milan Foundation for the very first time as runners, volunteers and donors.

Inspired by the project and driven by a desire to help out personally, 17 colleagues decided to go through all the training sessions and the race itself.

All employees were asked to spread the word about the Milan Foundation's involvement in the Europ Assistance Relay Marathon, also by seeking out runners among their sporty friends.

In the days building up to and during the race itself, 19 other colleagues gave up their time and expertise as volunteers.

At the end of the day, coming together to run the final 100 metres of the race in a procession was a unique emotion and a real cause for celebration.



The Foundation and its supporters

Over the years, the Milan Foundation has invested in the growth of its relational capital, i.e. the value of the relationships with our supporters, company structures, territorial networks and the community as well as the value of the reputation the Foundation has built up over time.

In particular, building bridges between sport and traditional educational establishments has become ever more important in the light of the objective to establish a network of important and stable relationships, while keeping intact the individual identities of all involved.

Amateur sports associations, primary and secondary schools, professional training centres and universities have become key to our model of tackling exclusion from scholastic, working and social environments. 

Many companies have committed to our approach, both in terms of material donations and services provided, while thousands of supporters have allowed us to continue working with passion by donating their time, money, knowledge and equipment.

The non-profit Milan Foundation aims to ensure transparency and honesty when managing projects and funds.

In this respect as well, the Foundation has successfully widened its presence on social media in the attempt to interact with the community and share information and opinions. The decision was made to allow everyone to comment, publish freely on the page and send private messages in order to turn the Facebook account into a place for coming together and having discussions. Despite the fact the fan base has grown by 11%, everyone receives a reply within one day.

To make the content more relevant, more geolocalised pages have been created to communicate with our supporters in their preferred language.

Relations with the media were consolidated through ad hoc meetings on specific topics. The announcements of the Sport for Peace Convention on 24 November 2015, the Foundation's participation in the Relay Marathon and the Play for Change tournament in Bollate on 9 February 2016 generated particularly notable interest. These meet-ups and initiatives led to numerous articles in newspapers, and over the season around 1,000 articles and news pieces were produced in both print and digital media.

Diversification of sources and a careful, balanced use of funds are behind the Milan Foundation's financial sustainability.

By streamlining general expenses and investing in development, it was possible to set aside €475,794 for projects in 2015/2016. 

Despite not receiving any public contributions, we have actually increased our capacity to raise funds from private individuals, fund providers and other businesses.

 

Such levels of loyalty validate the efficiency of our multi-channel approach, the attention we pay to planning our services and the initiatives we put in place for feedback and transparency.

For this reason, we are going to widen our presence on the main social media platforms and constantly seek new opportunities to involve our supporters directly and in person to make them feel part of our team.

The Milan Foundation is a non-profit organisation; it could not survive without volunteers and supporters. We need you as well.

Overview2014/20152015/2016
Fans of the Milan Foundation on Facebook 157,126 177,956
Overall engagement: number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) 136,816 161,922
Overall users engaged: number of users who have interacted with the Milan Foundation 127,347 222,670
Single users who have interacted with the Milan Foundation 783,938 219,040
Average monthly users engaged: number of users who have interacted with the Milan Foundation on average every month 10,612 18,555
Average (or maximum) response time to fans on Facebook 72 hours 34 hours

GOING FORWARD
Over the upcoming seasons the Milan Foundation will work to consolidate planning, by giving more power to regional offices and managing the process in an increasingly direct manner. This will also include the hiring of dedicated staff. To support our working approach, the Foundation shall try to diversify financial sources and gain credit with the public at large through the principles of transparency and accountability.