Entrepreneur Paul Gauci made a promise to Mgr Victor Grech 20 years ago as they sat together in Qawra that summer: that he would help Caritas – which the priest had run for a few decades by then – if he ever could. True to his word, Mr Gauci not only fulfilled that promise, helping Caritas but also Dar tal-Providenza, in an innovative way that he hopes will be taken up by other benefactors.
Id-Dar Tal-Providenza and Caritas received 750,000 shares each from his personal 75 per cent shareholding in PG plc, meaning that the two entities will receive not only the capital value of the shares, but also two dividends a year, subject to the performance of the company.
Although Caritas and Dar tal-Providenza receive bequests on a regular basis, the scale of this donation is considerably higher, enabling them to budget ahead, something that is notoriously difficult for entities to do when they rely so heavily on fundraising.
“I wanted to give them a tree, something that would give them fruit every year,” Mr Gauci explained, flanked by his family who were fully behind his donation.
“My father always used to tell me that charity never made anyone poor. A person’s legacy is never going to be defined by what they left behind in terms of material success, but by what good they did while they could,” he added.
His decision to give them shares, rather than a donation, was motivated by his huge respect for the two entities, which have a tremendous social role.
“When you give money, you are not always sure how it spent. Benefactors have a responsibility to scrutinise the entity that they want to support, and to ensure that there is transparency,” he said, clearly holding both entities in very high regard.
Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, said that the emphasis placed by more and more companies on corporate social responsibility, symbolises the recognition that prosperity is best achieved in an inclusive society. “This is a new approach towards corporate social responsibility and as described by Mr. Paul Gauci during our talks in finalising this donation, we were given a tree, or perhaps a continuous drip
of water, to complement and sustain our orchard of generosity. We depend heavily on the generosity of companies like PG Group and on fund-raising initiatives and it’s thanks to people like Mr. Gauci, to whom we direct our heartfelt thanks, that we can continue to provide and improve our service to the 115 residents at id-Dar tal-Providenza” Fr Martin said.
Caritas Director, Mr. Anthony Gatt, said that it is through such initiatives and the generosity of the Maltese people in general that we rely on. “Maltese people always contributed and showed a great sense of generosity whenever it was called for and these funds will assist us to continue providing our extensive range of services to vulnerable members in our community” concluded Mr. Gatt.
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