The €2,260 donation is the outcome of an online survey taken by 113 western European customers of the Construction Polymers business team. “We wanted to show our appreciation for the time our customers spent on the questionnaire, and instead of thanking them with a personal gift, we gave a donation toward a good cause,” explained Juliane Wunderwald, the customer survey project leader. “Wacker Chemie AG has supported The Ark for twelve years now, taking dedicated action against child poverty. We all agreed to use the opportunity to help provide The Ark with an additional donation on behalf of WACKER,” added Frank Reichle, director of Construction Polymers Western Europe.
WACKER has donated €1.2 million to The Ark over a dozen years of partnership. The enduring friendship began when the City of Munich provided The Ark with a container in the northern district of Moosach in 2006. Thanks to the team's dedication, this temporary solution was a happy place for the children and adolescents. Since its humble beginnings, The Ark's support workers have taken care of young people, provided warm meals for lunch, helped with homework, and arranged leisure activities and school holiday programs. More containers were added over the course of the decade until they were removed and the Ark temporarily moved into neighboring municipal buildings. Last summer, amid great excitement, the Ark moved into the large, modern, bright building built for them on the old site by the City of Munich.
Bavaria is one of the wealthiest federal states, and Munich is the fourth richest urban district in Germany. Yet there are many poor children even in such a wealthy city, as shown by Munich’s 2017 annual report on poverty. The basic jobseekers’ assistance program included a total of 22,200 children at year-end 2016 – nearly 12 % of whom were under the age of 15 in Munich. Over a third of them have been receiving welfare benefits for four years or longer, and a further ten percent for at least three years.
For children, growing up in poverty often means material deprivation and social exclusion, and deficits in their social, cognitive and health development. This is where the Ark’s offering has proven sustainably successful – which the good grades achieved by long-term Ark attendees corroborate. On average, every day around 20 children complete their homework at The Ark, which routinely liaises with teachers from nearby schools. Volunteers support The Ark's work, aiding their educational support programs and reading project, for example. As a company traditionally committed to the education of children and young people, WACKER welcomes this focus.
Long-time friends of The Ark also include a team of WACKER volunteers who donate a large buffet of cakes for the summer party every year. Juliane Wunderwald and Frank Reichle presented the symbolic donation check at one of the educational children's parties held at The Ark in Moosach, Munich in January. The party included join-in activities and a theater program based on the four elements. This time round, the theme was air – the children jumped up and down happily before sharing out the candy in the WACKER goody bag, which also contained the symbolic donation check.