July 10, 2015
“The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies into which they are born.”
—UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2007”
If children are our future—and it is TCM’s conviction that they are—then how a nation attends to its children speaks volumes about how it attends to its own future.
Ultimately, the question is a universal one: if the human species is going to survive the complex challenges of the twenty-first century, if it is not going to be extinguished by the tunnel vision of short-termism, the question of how it cares for, nurtures and educates its young will have to be at the forefront of any debate on the goals and ends of the global community.
By now, these complex global challenges have acquired household labels: “save the planet”, “eradicate poverty”, “curb population growth”, “stop all-out war”, “conquer disease”, and, yes, “save the children”.
But labels quickly become platitudes if they are not backed up by the courage of convictions. This formula applies no less to a label such as “save the children” or a slogan like “children are our future”.
That is why TCM Group members, global leaders in international debt collection and global receivables management, decided to put their coffers in the service of their convictions at the third Annual Charity Auction this year.
After careful research, TCM representative and organizer of the 2015 AGM Elena Nicosia selected the Meyer Foundation of the Meyer Paediatric Hospital (“Ospedale Pediatrico Meyer”) in Florence as the beneficiary of this year’s proceedings.
Delegates raised a record €13,160 as they pledged generous bids for the items they had brought with them from their home countries. TCM Group committed a further €2,000 to this sum, yielding an overall donation total of €15,160.
These funds will go to support the foundation in investing in specialized medical equipment and in optimizing the hospital environment as a place of convalescence and care for children.
“We are sure that TCM Group will help us provide better and more effective care for all those children who come to Meyer from all over Italy,” the foundation said in a letter issued not long after receiving the donated funds.
Established in Florence in 1884 by the Marquis Giovanni Meyer in memory of his wife, the Meyer Paediatric Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Italy to specialize in health care for children. Over a century and a quarter later, it now serves as the first port of call for general and specialized paediatric care cases for the region of Tuscany. The Meyer Hospital is also a member of the European Network of Health Promoting Hospitals of the World Health Organization.
Dedicated to paediatrics and devoted to children and their families, the Meyer Paediatric Hospital is truly a special place. In all of its services, from intensive care and long-term treatment plans to health checks and drop-ins, the hospital puts the medical and emotional needs of the children—and the emotional needs of their parents—first.
To this end, the hospital employs only the most highly skilled and experienced medical and administrative staff and ensures that every level of the hospital structure conforms to best practices and absolute transparency. But professionalism and healthcare excellence also mean taking a comprehensive approach to treatment. This is why the hospital is a strong advocate of extra-medical forms of health promotion that contribute to anxiety and stress reduction and allow children to be children even as they are convalescing in a medical setting: activities of play, musical concerts, painting and drawing sessions, in-ward clown visits, and garden and pet therapies are only some of many forms of complementary care provided by the hospital.
In acknowledgement of its importance as a paediatric hospital of the highest degree of specialized care and medical research, the Meyer Paediatric Hospital in conjunction with the University of Florence’s Paediatrics Department became an independent health institute of the Italian national health system in 1995.
Established in July 2000 as a synergetic operational instrument of the Meyer Paediatric Hospital, the Meyer Foundation is a non-profit organisation that is legally recognized by the region of Tuscany. Through its many fund-raising activities, the foundation helps to finance a wide range of projects whose goal is the ongoing improvement of the quality of care, not least in terms of supplementary medical services, building projects, specialized medical equipment, and paediatrics research.
One such project was the construction of the new, energy-efficient hospital complex at “Villa Ognissanti”. The voluminous new pavilion was built with meticulous attention to its impact on the environment and to its versatile functionality as a place of medical care. Some of the complex’s features include a lounge area, a church, a reception and emergency room, an ambulatory unit, and a surgery section with seven operating theatres.
All Meyer Foundation operations are conducted under the principle of absolute transparency, a value that is evidenced by the foundation’s continuous application of the transparency code that dictates the deontological lines of its activities.
In conformity to its founding statutes, the Meyer Foundation’s board is comprised of nine members that come from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from the University of Florence and other Tuscan universities and research institutions; from local and regional businesses and parental associations; and from the fields of communication and non-profit business administration. Board members advise the president on important decisions concerning project creation and budget allocation.
The Meyer Foundation operates under the legal aegis of a small group of guarantors that acts as an ethical committee. In supervising the actions of the board and the management of the foundation, this committee guarantees maximum transparency and ethical standards in how the foundation discharges its mandate. The committee is composed of three members appointed by the board of directors.
All contributions collected by the Meyer Foundation serve to support the many activities required for the Meyer Paediatric Hospital’s lasting success as an institution of medical care. In addition to financing on-going scientific research projects and the purchase of advanced medical equipment, the foundation also invests in optimizing the hospital as a child-friendly environment. This means ensuring the psychophysical needs of the convalescing child are reflected in the structure and design of the hospital’s interior spaces (e.g., paint colour, furniture and play areas). But it also means ensuring these needs are nourished and buoyed along through such activities as clown shows, art exhibitions, playroom activities (“Ludoteca”), and vegetable garden and pet therapies.