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June 19, 2014 -

The 7th BNP Paribas Wealth Management Prize for Individual Philanthropy honours two philanthropist couples

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BNP Paribas Wealth Management is delighted to announce the winners of its 2014 Prize for Individual Philanthropy.

2014 Grand Prix

Charly and Lisa Kleissner, founders of the KL Felicitas Foundation, are receiving this year’s Grand Prix for their global work in impact investing. Through their co-creation of impact networks designed to serve both social entrepreneurs and impact investors, combined with advocating through transparency their commitment to align 100% of their assets with their values, the Kleissners have demonstrated that impact investing can be a replicable investment strategy for philanthropists around the world.

2014 Jury’s Special Prize

Tomasz and Barbara Sadowski are awarded the Jury’s Special Prize for their social integration work and promotion of their social franchise model in Poland and abroad. The Barka Foundation for Mutual Help empowers and reintegrates socially marginalised groups through education, training, entrepreneurship and housing programmes.

 BNP Paribas Wealth Management was the first private banking institution to provide its clients with a comprehensive philanthropy advisory offering through the Fondation de l’Orangerie and bespoke advice. In 2008, BNP Paribas Wealth Management set up an advisory service to assist clients in their philanthropic endeavours. In order to raise general awareness of the growing global phenomenon of philanthropic giving, the bank launched that same year the BNP Paribas Wealth Management Prize for Individual Philanthropy.  On 17th June 2014 the Grand Prix and the Jury’s Special Prize, which recognise outstanding initiatives by remarkable philanthropists, are awarded for the seventh consecutive year.

The winners were chosen by an independent jury made up of leading figures from business and charitable organisations, along with experts from civil society. The jury is chaired by Suzanne Berger, Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. In studying the profiles of all the nominees, the jury made their decisions based on various criteria, such as the social impact of the philanthropic initiatives, the philanthropists’ personal and financial commitment, and the professionalism, sustainability and transparency of the projects.

The Independent Jury of the BNP Paribas Wealth Management Prize for Individual Philanthropy is composed of:

–      Suzanne Berger, Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Chair of the Jury

–      Yann Arthus-Bertrand, photographer and Chairman of the Good Planet Foundation

–      Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President of the Lyon Biennial Contemporary Arts festival and of the Metz en scène concert organisation

–      Michael Golden, Vice Chairman of the New York Times Company

–      Lorenz von Habsburg, banker and board director of several listed companies

–      Leena Labroo, entrepreneur and director of the Mahindra & Mahindra Educational Trust. Mahindra & Mahindra is one of the top ten industrial corporations in India

–      Maria Nowak, Founder and President of the Association pour le droit à l’initiative économique (ADIE), which helps the unemployed set up their own business.

–      Louis Schweitzer, former Chairman and CEO of Renault Automobile Group, former Chair of the Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et pour l’Égalité (HALDE), which helps to combat unfair discrimination and fights for social and economic equality  

–      Michael de Giorgio, Founder of the Greenhouse Charity (Jury’s Special Prize winner 2012) delivers sports programmes in London’s disadvantaged areas.

In addition, the 2013 winners of the BNP Paribas Awards for Individual Philanthropy were invited to sit on the jury for the 2014 Awards:

–      Shiv Nadar, co-founder and President of HCL and founder of the Shiv Nadar Foundation in India

–      Chuck Slaughter – founder of Living Goods.

The two awards categories:

–      The Grand Prix honours an individual or family for their overall philanthropic activity, recognising the exemplary nature of their actions, their financial engagement, impact and their long-term commitment. BNP Paribas sponsors the publication of a book of photographs as a means of highlighting the philanthropist’s dedicated initiatives and the book on this year’s winner will be added to the catalogue of publications promoting past winners.

–      The Jury’s Special Prize recognises a committed philanthropist who has initiated an original project and has been working on the ground to implement it. The project must have been running for at least three years but still be in its development phase or at a critical stage. The Special Prize confers €50,000 for the furtherance of the philanthropist’s project.


About the 2014 winners


Charly and Lisa Kleissner

Charly and Lisa Kleissner made their wealth in 1999 in Silicon Valley.  Charly was the Sr. VP of Product Development at Ariba. Lisa, as the CEO of TKG, consulted to startups. With a portion of their wealth, they co-founded the KL Felicitas Foundation in 2000.

As Charly and Lisa began to explore the meaning of wealth, they challenged their investment advisory to show them product that not only provided a financial return, but also a measurable benefit to people and planet.  Other than negative screening, impact investing was a little-understood concept in 2000. Today, the Kleissners are well on their way to 100% impact in their portfolio expecting to reach this milestone this year.

To inspire their peers, the Kleissner’s have published numerous papers on impact investing and used their website to share resources and tools for those wishing to align their assets with their values. In 2013, Sonen Capital published the financial returns of the KLFF portfolio to demonstrate that impact investments can perform at or better than industry standard financial benchmarks. This seminal report was the first of its kind challenging the long held myth that impact investments cannot compete with the market.

In approaching philanthropy, Charly and Lisa brought their entrepreneurial know-how to bear. A significant hurdle for impact investors has been quantity and quality of investible product.  To close this gap, the KLFF identified the need for specialised capacity building for social entrepreneurs. They co-founded Social-Impact International – an incubator of incubators and accelerators. The program they started in India in 2005 expanded into Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and now Hawai’i for the Pacific Basin.

With more investible product coming to market, the KLFF then focused on building a network for global impact investors.  Toniic, the action community for global impact investing, was co-founded in 2011.  Today, Toniic members around the world partner to fund deals, share their expertise, and co-create a sustainable global community of practice.

BioLite is an example of an impact-first equity investment the Foundation made out of its corpus. BioLite produces a unique fuel-efficient camping stove for the recreation market that generates power for charging cell phones and lights. This same technology is being used in their new product – the HomeStove – for developing countries.

Charly and Lisa focus great effort on measuring the impact of the Foundation’s investment portfolio. Adhering to the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), they track portfolio and sector specific IRIS metrics, promote the use of GIIRS for their investees and then collect impact stories from each investment. Their impact report, to be published later this year, will not only share the data collected and their analysis of its import, but will also discuss the challenges and potential solutions for measuring impact in a meaningful way.

Tomasz Sadowski and Barbara Sadowska

In 1989, Tomasz Sadowski and Barbara Sadowska established the Barka Foundation for Mutual Help (Barka means ‘lifeboat’ in Polish), a network of self-sustaining institutions working to help re-integrate and empower destitute and homeless people in post-communist Poland, helping them to lead independent and productive lives.

Tomasz and Barbara Sadowski were both trained as psychologists under the communist regime, but in 1989 decided to live with a group of patients, unemployed and homeless people, in an abandoned school building.

This was the stepping stone for the development of the Barka Foundation and its network.

Barka develops self-sufficient communities where service-users live in a family-like setting, helping to rebuild and run abandoned farms and other premises.

In addition, Barka runs programmes for education and vocational training, entrepreneurship development and accessible housing.

What started as a regional project is today a network of several hundred independent, self-sufficient institutions in 6 countries on 3 continents. Each year, up to 10,000 people benefit from Barka services. Indeed franchises abroad offer reconnection and integration programmes for stranded migrants from Eastern European countries.

As one of Poland’s first NGOs, Barka has become a major player in the development of civil society and social economy, having influenced legislation on education, social entrepreneurship, and social cooperatives.

About BNP Paribas Wealth Management (

BNP Paribas Wealth Management is the world’s 5th largest private bank, present in some 30 countries. Over 6,300 professionals, based in every major financial centre, provide a private investor clientele with solutions for optimising and managing their assets. The bank has €295 billion worth of assets under management (as at end March 2014).

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