ODD & The Kedgers|


Fifth interview for ODD&THEKEDGERS, but the first one in Croatia! While we were spending a day at Rijeka, the European Capital of Culture of the year, we took the opportunity to meet the University of Rijeka Foundation (UNIRI Foundation). After being welcomed by Petra Bačič, Project Assistant, we have led our interview with Iva Rinčič, Director of the Foundation & Andrea Lauric, Finance and Development Projects Manager! This Foundation is an independent funding organization of 2 permanent employees (Andrea Lauric & Petra Bačič) considered as a public foundation or a non-for-profit organization. Its mission? Supporting knowledge and innovative ways of philanthropy as keys in nowadays society!

Some figures to introduce the University of Rijeka Foundation

The University of Rijeka Foundation’s activity pillars

Thanks to the initiative of the Rector of the University of Rijeka, 3 founders established the foundation in 2003: (1) The University of Rijeka, (2) The City of Rijeka and (3) Primorsko-Goranska County. By the way, as explained by Mrs Rinčič who currently hold the Director position:

“The Director of the Foundation works at the University of Rijeka: it is someone outside of the foundation but always a member of the University community” – I.Rinčič

Then, although always independent, the UNIRI Foundation is, from the beginning, fully incorporated in the University’s goals. Indeed, by fundraising continuous investment and development of scientific and research infrastructure, activities, quality of education and human resources at the University of Rijeka, UNIRI Foundation reinforces the multilateral relationship between the academic community and the society. It is about using the resources of the academic community (people, money, innovations, knowledge, technology, students, …) in order to support the community development. It is about using the resources from the society to support academic activities. What a virtuous circle generated! Widely, the Foundation is promoting the idea of knowledge society, and active and inclusive citizenship.

To give an overview of the University of Rijeka Foundation’s activities, here are its main mission divided in 3 pillars: (1) Raise funds for scientific, research and student purposes, (2) Support scientific activities at the University of Rijeka which have a huge impact on the society, (3) Promote certains values, philanthropy, innovation & knowledge.


Through its activity pillars, the University of Rijeka Foundation contributes to reach of part of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Let’s discover those that resonate particularly for the Foundation in the SDGs matrix, according to Mrs Rinčič and Mrs Lauric during our interview:

SDG 4Quality Education, SDG 5Gender Equality, SDG 11 – Sustainable cities & communities, SDG 16 Peace and justice, SDG 17Partnerships for the goals

To illustrate to what extent these goals really matter to the University of Rijeka Foundation we will now put forward some of the Foundation’s sustainable projects.

Organization Social Responsibility through some sustainable projects:

UNIRI Foundation carries out projects of different types at different levels. Beside a number of projects at the national, regional and EU levels (such as roundtables, workshops, humanitarian, public and volunteering actions), the Foundation is also fundraising campaigns in the field of gender equality, education, human rights, youth, philanthropy or collaboration.

To make their Organizational Social Responsibility (OSR) more concrete, Mrs Rinčič and Mrs Lauric have presented us some sustainable projects the Foundation had achieved in the last years:

Firstly, the main part of the Foundation’s work is to organize public tenders to support specific activities of scientists and students at the University of Rijeka such as publishing or organizing scientific conferences, supporting scientists for their research or student projects. Furthermore, UNIRI Foundation uses to promote and award the most successful people at the University!

Secondly, the Foundation develops communication and cooperation with local communities to permit the local projects and activities to have more impact and to transfer knowledge. One of them is a student competition called “Realizator”, the place where you can achieve yourself, held since 5 years, whithin business partners provide their study cases to students who have to solve it and the most relevant solutions are awarded!

Thirdly, in the last few years, the Foundation has been involved in projects related to gender equality in science, research and society. One of them was a project that aimed to promote the most successful women of the history of Rijeka with regards to their imprints in the city.

Concerning the next few years, Mrs Rinčič and Mrs Lauric have shared with us some of their upcoming projects. Like many organizations, the Foundation is shaken by the covid-19 pandemic. In fact, as explained by Mrs Rinčič during our interview:

“In Croatia, when there is a crisis, the first that goes down is the support to the non-for-profit sector, social services, gender projects, …” – I. Rinčič

Therefore, a crucial upcoming project will be to overcome this situation by making a stronger digital philanthropy presence. Indeed, Mrs Rinčič reminds us:

“The way to engage people has changed due to coronavirus. Next year, we start our new 4-years-strategic plan, it will probably go in that direction: how to support transfer of knowledge by technologies and reinforce digital philanthropy? » – I. Rinčič

Focus on a specific project’s commitments for sustainability in the particular context of ECoC 2020!

Ecoc 2020, what does it mean? European Capital of Culture of the year! (Click here to discover our post “ACTIONS#2” dedicated to UNIRI Foundation & this Rijeka’s title for 2020) and don’t hesitate to visit the Rijeka2020’s website: https://rijeka2020.eu/en/ to learn more about what happens in the capital of culture 2020!

It is in this special context of a Rijeka cultural-focused and artistic-focused that the University of Rijeka Foundation will launch in a month its Memori Game! As a classic one, you need to pair text and pictures, and it combines the history of the city with the creative industry as a social value! The Memori cards with pictures that promote many hidden stories about Rijeka, accompanied by a booklet (to read more about specific motives) and a city map (where you can find the places)! As a foundation, they are not used to doing this before but as the traditional ways of collecting money and funds rising are more and more complicated, especially in that time of crisis, they have developed and created it! And as well argue by Mrs Andrea Lauric:

“It is another way of thinking philanthropy! Why would this area be so strict, predictable? It’s an innovative idea to attract new supporters!Especially young people that want to engage more, also tourists for a souvenir of the city and of course added-value for supporting the foundation.” – A. Lauric

Obviously, the special context is also the context of the crisis due to the Covid-19. In fact, the first plan was to finish the Memori Game much early to use the ECoC2020 as a huge starter for the Memori Game launch. However, from 0 to now it has taken 1 year because everything has needed to be postponed, production has slowed for the final product and uncertainties have arisen around the financial situation. Whatever, D-Day is coming, the Memori Game is ready to sold in a month! To learn more about this Memori Game and understand it through the SDGs matrix, let’s discover the GOOD PRACTICE SHEET we have done, supported by 3 TOOLS !


Could University of Rijeka Foundation be your next experience?

Beside the purpose to make Kedgers (Kedge Business School’s students) aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, ODD&THEKEDGERS aims to inform the managers of tomorrow of responsible opportunities abroad in the associative, private and public sectors. That’s why at the end of our interview with Mrs Rinčič and Mrs Lauric, we have not hesitated to ask some questions for you in order to know to whom this organization could turn for a professional experience abroad.

The University of Rijeka Foundation agrees to host someone from abroad, but take a breath, it could be after coronavirus! Concerning the type of positions: ASSISTANT IN COMMUNICATION, if you are passionate about it, our interviewees revealed to us that there is always a lot to do in this area! (in accordance with the digitalization of their activities). For example, some months ago, the UNIRI Foundation launched a community of foundation Alumni (of people awarded by their … awards!). The Foundation wants to develop this community: it is something where they could be looking for someone!

Please note that Mrs Rinčič and Mrs Lauric told us that SDGs and OSR awareness is a selection criterion. To quote Mrs Rinčič:

“SDGs and OSR awareness is a crucial added-value ! Our Foundation is in the non-profit sector, it has its own rules and culture, the person doing this job needs to be aware about these subjects.” – I. Rinčič

Precious words of Mrs Iva Rinčič and Mrs Andrea Lauric for the students that we are at Kedge!

Before leaving, let’s soak up our interviewees’ advice!

“It will really be beneficial for you [the Kedgers] to have knowledge and education in civil sector philanthropy” – I. Rinčič

“Try to develop something which is an interest for you and then someone will recognize that!” – A. Lauric


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