Thanks for the memories, UNICEF

22 June 2021 ... min read

After 15 years of partnership, we’re saying goodbye to UNICEF to focus on financial health in the communities we operate in.

ING is sharpening our focus on community investment to reflect the changing needs of our own communities, as the coronavirus pandemic brings long-lasting social and economic challenges.

Our new community investment approach supports local programmes that contribute to an inclusive economy: one where everybody has the opportunity and capability to participate. This relates closely to our brand and belief that everybody should have the freedom to do their thing.

It’s a global approach that will make local impact. All of ING will be working together towards the same impact goal: to help 3 million people gain better access to the economy by 2025.


Given this new focus, ING’s global partnership with UNICEF will end as of 1 July 2021. It’s a bittersweet farewell, as our partnership has achieved great things.

Our Power for Youth programme focused on giving adolescents opportunities to learn, build their skills, and to influence government policies and services that affect them. We started in 2015 with the goal to directly reach 500,000 adolescents in nine countries by the end of 2021. So far we’ve reached 1,285,000 adolescent boys and girls!

The work we’ve done together will continue to have a lasting impact. We’ve managed to include 21st century skills and financial literacy in the curriculum of the education system of China, Philippines, Vietnam, Montenegro and Kosovo. This means that for the next five years at least (minimum time between two curriculum reforms), millions of more students will benefit.

“I know many colleagues, like me, will have mixed feelings about seeing our partnership with UNICEF go,” said Anne-Sophie Castelnau, global head of Sustainability. “I’m glad the work we’ve done will live on. But I also see the need to shift our focus. I think we can make an important impact by helping people with jobs and skills in the communities we live and work in.”

What now?

Research has shown that vulnerable people (women, refugees, young people, etc.) are being hit harder by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, negatively affecting their financial health. ING countries will be able to identify which groups are most relevant for them.

For example, in Spain youth unemployment is a challenge, while in Turkey it’s women who are more often excluded from the economy. Local countries can then apply to a global ING fund that will be available to amplify their impact.

Donations to our UNICEF partnership that were already made will still be used for project funding until the end of the year.

Our new community investment approach

We’ll focus on empowering people in three areas related to financial health in the countries where we operate:

  • Future-proof employment: developing skills and finding employment.
  • Financial capabilities: getting out of problematic debt or financial distress.
  • Social enterprises: supporting local social entrepreneurs that create innovative products and services that help people.

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