Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Socially Responsible Business

Unifying Europe

The nonprofit Erste Foundation is an engine behind the for-profit Erste Group as well as its largest shareholder.

 

It sounds like a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, recast for modern capitalism: In 1819, a Catholic priest founds a savings bank in Vienna to help poor people who have moved to the Austrian capital manage their money through a common fund supported by wealthy citizens. Johann Baptist Weber, the priest turned banker, made history by launching Austria’s first savings bank and strengthening egalitarian ideas. Today, that bank remains historically significant as one of the largest financial...


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