Long before we became a foundation and a strong partner of Non Governmental Organisations in Europe, that was only in 2003, we have been a ‘NGO’ by ourselves - if this word would have already existed at that time, because this happened to be in the early 19th century in Vienna. In 1819, some citizens founded a private association to enable access to common people to make provisions for the future and to provide a secure and independent livelihood for themselves and their families. It was run by engaged volunteers in a poor neighbourhood. It was innovative and obviously sustainable. It was called ‘Erste oestereichische Spar-Casse’, it was the ‘first Austrian savings bank’.

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