Frequently Asked Questions

About the Foundation

When Paulina Wójtowicz, one of the founders of the Hearty Foundation, first entered a children’s home, she immediately recognized that to support the children from such institutions effectively, it was crucial to provide them with modern educational assistance, boost their self-confidence, and broaden their horizons. To bring this vision to life, she established the Hearty Foundation in 2018.

Our mission is to offer young people at risk of exclusion an education that equips them with the necessary tools for independent living in our fast-changing world. We fulfill this mission by developing social education projects, often in partnership with businesses. Additionally, we support companies in their corporate social responsibility initiatives, which include employee volunteering and connecting company employees with young individuals.

The Hearty Foundation is made up of entrepreneurs, innovators, specialists, and, most importantly, individuals with open hearts and open minds. At the Foundation, we have a 4-member board and a team of approximately 10 individuals, led by Alicja Magiera-Bąk, the Foundation Director and a Board Member. Our team is designed to prioritize relationship-building — with children, institutions, volunteers, and businesses, as well as project management and the creation of innovative initiatives for the future of young people.

The Foundation was established in Kraków, and the majority of our in-person events have been held in this city and in various towns within the Małopolska region.

Since the inception of the Foundation, we have had our own space at 12 Przemysłowa St., thanks to our partnership with Hubraum [T-Mobile Technology Incubator].

Starting in mid-2022, we opened our second Hearty location in Kraków at 69 Kalwaryjska St., as part of the Blue Hearts Embassy project developed in collaboration with Bossard to give support and integrate with the Ukrainian community.

However, a significant portion of our work is conducted remotely, encompassing our interactions with businesses, volunteers, institutions, as well as the provision of educational support to children and youth.

The majority of the funds that support our activities come from our partner companies who share our Hearty mission. We collaborate with them on projects, jointly establishing budgets for organizing and supporting our beneficiaries. Additionally, we receive contributions from private individuals in the form of donations and payments.

Over the first 5 years of our operations, from August 2018 to January 2023, we’ve provided support to 1408 young individuals. We’ve partnered with 35 companies and worked with 81 institutions. During this time, we’ve executed numerous projects, both on-site and remotely, across Poland. We’ve also established a Hearty Community with hundreds of members who share our commitment to values like assistance and mutual support.

About Our Beneficiaries

Children and young people from all walks of life share the same needs and aspirations. They want to connect with others and feel seen and valued. Sadly, those hailing from disadvantaged backgrounds often have these needs less met. Based on our experience, we recognize the importance of being well-prepared to work with children and young people. That’s why we consistently provide training for our volunteers and equip them for their new roles.

We partner with 81 institutions serving children and youth nationwide. We reach out to them via phone and email to inform them about project recruitment. Additionally, we announce openings through our various channels, on social media, and within education support groups. A crucial aspect of the beneficiary selection process involves engaging in one-on-one conversations. Before enrolling a child in a project, we initiate a conversation, gaining insight into their individual situation and motivations. This approach ensures that our assistance aligns with their specific needs and circumstances.

Children and youth from every background have the same needs and dreams. They want to be close to others, feel noticed, and be appreciated. Unfortunately, individuals from marginalized backgrounds often have these needs less fulfilled. From experience, we know it’s valuable to be specifically prepared for working with children and youth. That’s why we always train our volunteers and prepare them for their new roles.

About Our Collaboration with Businesses

Education forms the bedrock of every individual’s life and existence. It’s the gateway to personal growth, livelihood, and fulfillment. Acquiring knowledge and skills equips us to lead more enriching and content lives. Our mission is to empower young people in acquiring the competencies they need, and who better to impart these skills than practitioners from the innovative and entrepreneurial business sector? This is precisely why we bridge the gap between young individuals, professionals and business owners. We’ve witnessed the remarkable benefits that both sides derive. Children and youth gain essential skills and their initial exposure to the world of business, while entrepreneurs and experts refine their empathetic communication and become acquainted with the emerging workforce generations.

We have a strong belief in socially responsible business practices. Our goal is to support companies that place importance on their local communities. We assist our partner companies in developing social initiatives, share our experiences, discuss the needs of children and youth, and effective ways to support them. We promote corporate volunteering by training and inspiring employees, who, through their support for children, gain valuable experiences and the satisfaction of making a meaningful impact.

Our collaborations are diverse, encompassing both large international corporations and small local businesses. In our partnerships, we highly prioritize our shared values, transparent communication, and mission-driven actions that come from the heart. We are committed to nurturing long-lasting relationships.

We do not engage with companies whose values diverge from ours. This includes those for whom social missions are purely for PR purposes. Additionally, we steer clear of companies in industries such as alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, and others that directly harm people and the planet.

There are numerous ways to get involved! You can collaborate with us on a joint project, encourage your employees to participate in volunteering, arrange internships and apprenticeships for our beneficiaries, or make a one-time donation to support annual educational scholarships. All it takes is that initial step to get in touch with us.

Our collaborative journey begins with a conversation. In the initial phase, we take the time to get to know each other and listen to the company’s needs. We then propose several partnership options. If one of our suggestions is chosen, we meticulously work out the project details, covering the scope of activities, schedule, agreement, budget, communication methods, reporting, and promotion, and then we set our plans into motion!

Not to worry, you don’t need a fully-formed idea before reaching out to us. That’s precisely where we come in – to support companies in their social endeavors. After an initial discussion and gaining insights into your company’s situation and needs, we’ll present you with various options for creating a joint project. We’re here to offer guidance, suggestions, and help you choose the path that best aligns with your organization.

We continually accept applications for individual educational scholarships. We maintain a database of children and young individuals, complete with descriptions of their circumstances and the support they require. It only takes a one-time donation to start making a difference. With your contributions today, we can promptly initiate the establishment of long-term support for a specific beneficiary.

In this scenario, we recommend taking a test run by engaging in a smaller-scale project. This approach allows us to familiarize ourselves with each other’s work styles and communication methods while committing to a more modest scale for the time being. Remember that we provide comprehensive support throughout the entire process of social engagement right from the outset. We offer training sessions for boards and individuals responsible for CSR/ESG. We also assist companies in developing strategies for responsible business.

We also execute social projects without the employee volunteering aspect. Each project is custom-tailored to accommodate your business’s specific needs and capabilities. When you partner with us, you can rest assured that the project will align seamlessly with your company.

No problem – our team consists of experienced Project Managers who will shoulder the majority of project-related responsibilities. The precise scope of cooperation, communication, and reporting will be arranged on an individual basis with your company.

Don’t hesitate to reach out! Fill out our contact form on the website, send a message to Alicja Magiera-Bąk on LinkedIn, or email us at info@heartyfoundation. We’ll schedule a meeting and take the opportunity to get to know each other better!

Hearty Projects

We enjoy organizing one-day events, but when it comes to education, we believe in the power of long-term, one-on-one assistance. As a result, we aim for our projects to span over several months, at the very least. This extended duration allows for meaningful relationship-building and the transmission of positive role models. For example, the individual scholarships we arrange typically cover the entire school year and are funded through donations from charity auctions and ticket sales proceeds.

Our project budgets consist of both fixed and additional components that depend on the specific nature of each project. Fixed elements include project management and promotion. Project management involves coordinating activities in line with the project’s goals, adhering to the schedule, reporting, evaluation, outcome measurement, beneficiary recruitment, and needs assessment. It also encompasses maintaining constant communication with the partner company, volunteers, and other stakeholders and following the standards upheld in our projects. Promotional activities involve creating texts and graphics and publishing them on our Foundation’s and external platforms. Additional expenses may include volunteer training, promotional videos, space rental, ticket purchases, transportation, food, and more.

The budget of a project depends on the type of activities, the duration, the number of volunteers, and the specific needs of the beneficiaries. We’ve organized projects with budgets ranging from hundreds of thousands PLN to more modest sums.

As a foundation with commercial operations, we settle accounts through donations, cooperation agreements, and invoices. Our approach is flexible and tailored to the specific requirements and preferences of our partners.

We provide detailed reports for each of our projects, which we share with our partner companies. These reports include information about timelines, participant and volunteer numbers, as well as survey results. We maintain continuous communication with companies and are always available to address your needs, whether it’s before, during, or after the project’s duration.

Volunteering with Hearty Foundation

In short, yes! If you have the willingness and consistency then we believe you’ll succeed. Importantly, at every stage of your volunteer work, you receive the necessary support from specialists, ensuring you’re not alone in facing any challenges that may arise.

Whether you’re taking on a single activity or participating in a long-term project, preparation is very beneficial. Often, volunteers receive a comprehensive information package at the start. If that’s not the case, you can start your own research on the issue, and when you can’t find answers independently, reach out to the person leading the activity and they will guide you appropriately. Talking to those with similar experiences can also provide insights, boosting your confidence and awareness of how to approach the task.

Typically, the biggest challenge is time, specifically its limited quantity or absence. Volunteering primarily involves dedicating your time, and that needs to be considered. Sustaining commitment is another significant challenge, especially in long-term projects, where motivation levels may fluctuate. It’s important to be aware of this and communicate with the relevant individuals when needed.

In most activities, you can dedicate as much time as you have. It’s best to know your capabilities and not force yourself. This helps avoid frustration caused by an overload of activities in the available time. Unfortunately, in some cases, a minimum time commitment is necessary for the actions to have a meaningful impact, such as in tutoring, where regular and sufficiently long sessions are required to build a proper relationship with the student.

Each project or activity has a coordinator overseeing it. Additionally, specialists like coaches or psychologists are involved. Depending on the situation and your needs, you can reach out to any of them at any time. We are always open to discussing challenges, as well as the aspects of volunteering that bring joy and satisfaction to our volunteers.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this. In volunteering, what matters most is your ongoing commitment and attention to the individuals we support. Patience is key since results may not be immediate, and at times, it might even seem like there are none. Change is a gradual process. Even in activities like tutoring, where the initial goal might be improved grades, building relationships and giving attention to others are equally valuable, and not easily measurable.

Direct interaction isn’t a must. There certainly are alternative ways to get involved. You can assist in workshop preparations, participate in promotional activities for events or projects, and tackle various other tasks. Each project offers plenty of opportunities. We’re open to your additional ideas on joining Hearty Volunteers in ways other than direct interaction with beneficiaries. The possibilities are truly limitless.

We’re with our volunteers every step of the way. This includes sharing knowledge through webinars and training before projects, as well as having individual conversations and support from specialists (coaches, psychologists) during projects. Direct contact with you is invaluable, and over the years, we’ve developed a system to ensure volunteers feel adequately prepared and supported.

It depends on the project’s form and needs. Typically, we announce needed roles among company employees, then reach out to interested individuals for discussions and preparatory training before jointly starting the project. We operate flexibly, so there’s no strict rule, but we always aim to thoroughly explain and introduce needed roles to potential volunteers at the very beginning of cooperation.

Absolutely! However, not everyone may be the right fit, so a rational self-assessment is crucial. Remember, if you don’t excel in one activity, you might be indispensable in another. Finding where you feel most comfortable is essential. Our comfort is as important as the help we provide.

Your willingness to engage and the time you dedicate to activities are the most important to us. We don’t set strict requirements. We meet with everyone interested in a conversation. Potential volunteers must undergo a mandatory series of preparatory training, such as training in Non-Violent Communication (NVC).

Yes! In Hearty, we use the terms mentor-volunteer interchangeably. We want our volunteers to feel the impact they have on our beneficiaries, emphasizing the importance of building relationships and showing young people the path they can choose, fostering their sense of agency.

If you have any questions not addressed here, feel free to reach out to us! We’re happy to address any doubts and discuss what interests you in volunteering.