Bank does damage control over donation to prize won by anti-gay-marriage activist ({{commentsTotal}})

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The controversial choice of a conservative "family-values" group as the winner of this year's Aadu Luukas social dialogue prize produced more fallout over the weekend, as a CSR mailing from Swedbank mentioning the bank's annual donation to the Luukas foundation didn't go over well with many customers.

The bank's letter mentioned that it had donated for the seventth year in a row to the prize, which has previously gone to more middle-of-the-road candidates than this year's winner, Varro Vooglaid's Foundation for the Protection of Family and Traditional Values.

After the letter was circulated on social media, Swedbank made a full reversal on Sunday, asking the Luukas Foundation to return to Swedbank the 5,000 euros in question.

"The [Luukas] foundation's unpleasant change of course this year was unexpected and we weren't able to respond fast enough to it," said a spokesperson for the Swedish-owned bank. "Swedbank supports diversity in society as a company and an employer, it is a strategicaly important topic for us in Estonia and other home markets."

The mailing to private banking customers was titled "a gift to the strongest." It ddn't specifically mention Vooglaid's group, which campaigned against the gender-neutral Cohabitation Act passed in the autumn.

The conservative group, which won a cash prize of 32,000 euros from the foundation, responded on Facebook, saying society was moving in the direction of "ostracism" and "dictatorship of relativism" where some groups were not even considered welcome to sit at the table.

Indrek Luukas, who chairs the prize foundation named after his late father, Aadu, told Postimees he was dismayed by the Swedbank decision.

"I am sincerely sorry that the longstanding cooperation partner of the Aadu Luukas Foundation wants back its donation," he said, adding that the 5,000 euros was less than what the shortlisted nominees received. This year's shortlist included the Food Bank, a cancer charity, and the Tallinn zoo director, among others.

 

Editor: K. Rikken



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