The Depositum Bonum Foundation (meaning a good deposit in Latin) established by Ceska sporitelna was inscribed in the Foundation Registry of the Municipal Court in Prague on 14 August 2012.
The purpose for which the Foundation was established is to support Czech society in science, research, development, and education.
Supports natural science and technical disciplines that bring a long-term practical benefit to the entire society and enhance its competitiveness in a global environment
Enables talented, industrious, and motivated people in the natural sciences and technical disciplines to enhance and deepen their abilities, knowledge, expertise, and experience
Implements its support through programmes announced by its Board of Directors
The Foundation achieves its objective through the provision of grants and the implementation of its own activities aimed at achieving its objective.
The Foundation’s endowment is derived from funds that have not been withdrawn from the now statute-barred anonymous passbooks, whose continued existence was prohibited by the EU and subsequently by the Czech Parliament. Ceska sporitelna has decided to donate these funds to Czech society in the form of an endowment. Depending on the yield from the endowment, the Foundation’s annual budget will be approximately 20 – 30 million crowns.
The Foundation's vision is to ensure that it functions as long as possible, in order to assist educated, successful and ambitious students as well as other people who are interested in increasing the level and quality of education in the Czech Republic.
The Foundation’s objective is to support competitiveness in the Czech Republic by investing into education. Even for a financial institution, investment into education is the best investment of all!
Why was the Depositum Bonum Foundation established?
In establishing the Depositum Bonum Foundation the initial question was how the money that has not been withdrawn from anonymous deposits in accounts with Ceska sporitelna could be returned to Czech society, such as to ensure the greatest possible benefit for society. After long, exhaustive consultations with significant figures of Czech public life, the decision was made to focus on increasing the country’s competitiveness by supporting education.
The level of a population's education is appreciably reflected in its economic growth and therefore quality of life. The better educated the inhabitants of the Czech Republic are, the more competitive the Czech economy will be, and the better off we all will be. Finland regularly wins international examinations of pupils. If the level of education of Czech students were to reach the level of their Finnish peers, it would bring the Czech economy CZK 26,841 billion crowns over the next 80 years, which is seven times the country’s annual gross domestic product, as estimated by a study performed by the OECD.
What is happening with Czech education?
Instead of catching up with Finland, Czech students’ results are stagnating or even dropping, as many studies have shown. In recent years, many Czech companies have complained about the lack of qualified job applicants, especially in technical disciplines. Compared to other developed countries, the expenditure on the Czech education system is below-average. A detailed analysis of certain problems in Czech education and a proposal for possible solutions was presented by McKinsey & Company, in its study “Declining Results of Czech Primary and Secondary Education: Facts and Solutions.“
What are we planning?
The Foundation has decided to focus its support on the natural and technical sciences. In terms of the country’s competitiveness and economic prosperity, we consider it to be of fundamental importance to focus on primary and secondary schools. In cooperation with experts from the education sector and others, we are currently preparing the first Depositum Bonum Foundation Programme. In a pilot project, we will strive to help schools and teachers improve the quality of instruction in technical disciplines and the natural sciences. Our vision is that math, physics, biology, and chemistry classes would awaken in students the joy of discovering the world and an eagerness to take up these disciplines in the future.
About the origin of the Foundation’s money – what are APB?
Anonymous passbooks (APB) or bearer passbooks officially ended at the end of December 2012. The European Union banned them, as they facilitate money-laundering and the legalisation of the proceeds of crime. Anonymous passbooks ceased to be valid in 2002. People then had ten whole years to withdraw their deposits. The statutory obligation of banks to pay out money from the passbooks ceased at the end of 2012. All remaining deposits then became the property of the entity that had administered the money for many years – Ceska sporitelna. Nevertheless, Ceska sporitelna voluntarily decided to extend the period for paying out the deposits through to the end of 2015.
Ceska sporitelna is well aware of the origin of the newly obtained funds and knows that this money is the result of people dutifully setting money aside, many of them for several decades. That is why the bank has decided to return all of the remaining money to Czech society through a new foundation.
Anonymous passbooks were very popular with the public, but over time, they no longer complied with the financial transparency parameters that are necessary today. Although they ceased to exist, they can boast a noble history that lasted for nearly two centuries. Few financial products have enjoyed such sustained popularity. We hope that the Depositum Bonum Foundation will prove to be at least as successful and enduring as the story of anonymous passbooks.