Commerzbank Foundation promotes social inclusion

Wanted: dedicated employees. There is a shortage of skilled labour in Ger-many. This makes it all the more important to offer career prospects to dis-advantaged young people.

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Angela Hütter, Beate Schlosser


Group photo from the first ZukunftsWege award ceremony with award winners and Commerzbank Foundation representatives.
The prize winners were delighted to receive their award. Copyright: Mirco Lilge © 
The aim of the Commerzbank Foundation's ZukunftsWege award, which was presented for the first time in 2023, is to reflect on the social component of the Bank's sustainability strategy. Foundation Board member Heike Heuberger explains: “Education and career facilitate social inclusion.”

A springboard to a professional future

The Commerzbank Foundation’s ZukunftsWege award recognises non-profit organisations that help socially or medically disadvantaged young people to make the transition from school to the world of work. “We want to support projects and initiatives throughout Germany that enable young people to begin their professional future. However, it is equally important to us that the young people are supported during their training so that they can complete it successfully. This is one of the biggest challenges to having control over your future,” says Heike Heuberger.

Equal opportunities and democracy are inextricably linked

Equal opportunities are one of the most important requirements for a thriving democracy. Social inequalities are growing, especially in highly developed and complex societies. Those who have to contend with additional challenges from the beginning are finding it increasingly difficult to enter the labour market.

With passion and dedication

The Commerzbank Foundation received 117 applications from all over Germany. Natalya Nepomnyashcha, member of the Commerzbank Foundation’s Board of Trustees and founder of Netzwerk Chancen, is still deeply moved months later: “I was fascinated by the passion and dedication with which the transition from school to work was approached by all those involved.” Natalya Nepomnyashcha also sat on the expert jury for ZukunftsWege. Together with Heike Heuberger and five other members, they were faced with the difficult choice of selecting the first ZukunftsWege award winners.

The winners receive EUR 47,000

The founders of the Munich-based organisation “Atelier La Silhouette” were thrilled to receive first prize and EUR 20,000. The organisation trains educationally disadvantaged young women, some with a refugee background, to become women's tailors. The “Kesting Fischer Foundation” was the runner-up, with prize money totalling EUR 10,000. It manages the Uhlenhorst Campus in Hamburg with the aim of integrating young people with mental health needs into the labour market. Third place, and a prize of EUR 5,000, goes to the “180 Grad Wende” association, which partners young adults, who themselves come from a challenging background, with mentees whom they support by offering career advice and guidance. There were also six special prizes, each worth EUR 2,000. These were presented to organisations that are particularly committed to special groups, for example, young people struggling with the consequences of cancer or young single mothers. Other organisations that are active and providing young people with training in structurally underdeveloped regions, such as the Hunsrück in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, were also honoured.

Longstanding social commitment

The Commerzbank Foundation is an integral part of Commerzbank's sustainability strategy. For more than 50 years, it has symbolised the Bank's responsibility to promote social commitment. With its numerous nationwide projects in the fields of science, culture and society, the two Board members Astrid Kiessling-Taskin and Heike Heuberger are committed to society’s long-term sustainability. Their work is based on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, with a clear focus on “less inequality” and “quality education”.