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Views from the field

Together we are stronger – the story behind the establishment of the Fano Community Foundation (Italy)

From the community, for the community, with the community, were the values which underpinned the establishment of the Fano Community Foundation. Here Francesca Mereta, Assifero, interviews its president, Alberto Di Martino, who tells the story of the journey leading to the formal launch of the Fano Community Foundation – which operates under the motto ‘Together we are stronger’.

The Italian community foundation movement continues to grow – tell us about the conception of the Fano Community Foundation and the current challenges in the light of Covid-19.

Fondazione di Comunità Città di Fano was established in December 2019, after a three-years process led by the local UCID unit (Christian Union of Managers and Directors), which worked on the community foundation’s creation, actively involving the community, local institutions, and organisations. It has been a long journey because we wanted to develop a shared culture of what a community foundation is, its values, and why it was so important for our region to join forces and cooperate. To do so, we carried out numerous meetings and public events on the topic. The establishment of the Fondazione di Comunità Città di Fano comes from the will of the people and organisations in the area and is the result of this long and inspiring path. We managed to formalise this process in December 2019 with four founding members: UCID, Fano Municipality, Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Fano and Cooperativa Polo 9. But this is only the beginning: in the future we expect to involve new partners and institutions (two already are about to join), so as to strengthen our representativeness of the territory.

Like all community foundations, therefore, the power of the organisation lies in its ability to involve and connect the different actors in the area. But what are the mission and specific objectives of the foundation?

Fondazione di Comunità Città di Fano was born to be a representative, inclusive and transversal body of the region positioned between the valleys of the rivers Metauro and Cesano, which refers to about twenty municipalities (called the "gens flaminae" of the region). We want to connect and reinforce the relationship among associations, organisations, and individuals in our community in order to join efforts for solving common problems. We want to facilitate and nudge partnerships among different realities of the region and give them the opportunity and the tools to strengthen their skills and structure. For this reason, our aim over the next two years will be to continue to make ourselves known not only to organisations, but also to potential donors. And, certainly, we aim at making the foundation stronger by learning and collaborating with community foundations all over Italy, drawing inspiration from their experiences, developing possible shared projects and much more.

Our calling is social in the broadest sense of the word: to enable the building and the strengthening of a community of equals, people who can live in harmony and have access to the same kind of opportunities. We collaborate in telling a new model of anthropological economy (more information on the topic in Italian here), which sees, on the one hand, people as a fundamental pillar and goal of the economic process, and, on the other, the economy, stricto and lato sensu, as only one part of the whole system. Therefore, people are not at the service of enterprises, but, on the contrary, the enterprises’ aims must be the improvement of living conditions and well-being.

The foundation therefore immediately set to work with a clear mission and objectives that put the people and the strengthening of the community itself at its core. There are lots of challenges to face: first of all, the Covid-19 emergency that is keeping the whole world in check.

This pandemic struck just as we were beginning our journey as an officially established foundation. But we were not discouraged: we immediately launched a fundraising campaign aimed at countering the social emergency, the great challenge, as well as the one of the healthcare system, that lies ahead of us. The resources collected are going to be used to finance local bodies and associations that help, now and afterwards, the most vulnerable who are living through this emergency with difficulty and will face situations of fragility not yet foreseeable. As a community foundation we felt it was our duty to take a step forward and play our natural role as a connector and catalyst of resources in the territory for our community.

A TV report (in Italian) featuring Alberto Di Martino describing how the community foundation responded to the Coronavirus pandemic can be viewed here.


James Magowan

Co-ordinating Director

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