In its enduring commitment to placing the community at the core of its endeavours, APS Bank is set to elevate its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to new heights.
From its very inception over a century ago, CSR has been an integral facet of APS Bank’s business ethos. The bank has pioneered ventures such as the Malta Sustainability Forum (MSF) which transitioned from a trailblazing one-day conference to an established communication platform, aiming to raise more awareness and empower citizens to make conscious decisions towards a more sustainable life.
Intricately aligned with the bank’s mission, the CSR Programme radiates through three key pillars: the arts, encompassing heritage and culture; education, which extends to sport and wellbeing; and sustainability, embracing community and voluntary organisations. Ranging from sponsorship of diverse book publications, artistic exhibitions, festivals and performances to ambitious restoration projects and educational collaborations, each CSR endeavour underscores the bank’s steadfast commitment to nurture and celebrate the very community it serves.
The bank also has a dedicated space, the APS Hub in St Julian’s, which was designed to support CSR initiatives, a place where people can meet and collaborate on the projects that mean most to them. APS Hub also doubles up as a gallery for exhibitions, which can be viewed by all passing by. Rachael Blackburn, Head of Culture at APS Bank, explains “This space echoes what is most important to us, being at the centre of the community we serve. It reflects our commitment to sustainability, in its function by being free for all to use and even in its form, which can be seen in the furniture and design selected for this venue.”
As APS Bank has flourished over the years, so too has its CSR dedication to fostering economic, societal, environmental, and cultural growth. The moment has now arrived to expand not only in terms of efficiency and governance but also in outreach – an evolution that directly responds to the community’s needs, heralded by the introduction of a call for CSR funding proposals. Rachael underscores the significance of this transformation, stating, “The volume of sponsorship requests received throughout the year is ever-growing. This call is intended to help us strike a balanced approach across diverse sectors, to help us gain better visibility into upcoming projects.”
She further elaborates, “Introducing a call for funding request motivates those contemplating projects in 2024 to plan ahead more proactively. We are enthusiastic about supporting, collaborating, and co-creating projects, and we encourage individuals and entities with community project proposals, particularly voluntary organisations with a wider reach, to step forward. Naturally, we remain steadfast in our commitment to support sectors that have benefited from our assistance in the past. Simultaneously, we are eager to unearth fresh opportunities and gain deeper insights into our community’s evolving needs.”
This approach underscores good governance principles, mirroring the same meticulous scrutiny that APS Bank applies to any request for its banking services. An internal process subjects each proposal to evaluation against predefined criteria. Additionally, external expertise is brought in when required, particularly for more intricate projects and specialised sectors.
Going beyond monetary contributions, APS Bank places emphasis on inspiring transformative change through exemplary leadership that generates a positive impact. Rachael emphasises this point, stating, “CSR provides us with a platform to express our corporate values – excellence, authenticity, passion, inclusiveness, and being contemporary. It enables us to share our knowledge, demonstrate good governance, uphold high standards, and act responsibly. If we were to perceive CSR merely as a financial transaction,” she adds, “we would fall short of realising our true purpose.”
The call for CSR funding requests for 2024 may be filled in on apsbank.com.mt/csr-sponsorship and closes on Sunday 15 October 2023. Following this deadline, an evaluation committee will review all submissions made through the form and communicate the outcome to all applicants by the end of November 2023.