Message from the Chairman


Invested with the honour of picking up the baton left by Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele at the helm of Fondazione Roma, I feel the enormous responsibility of providing continuity to the impressive and peerless work he has done in over twenty years of chairmanship to reinstate the rank of leader of Fondazione Roma, which in the early nineteen-nineties had to resume and expand the philanthropic tradition of the savings bank Cassa di Risparmio di Roma and the Mount of Piety of Rome to make the local community feel the solidarity of this prestigious institution, called to subsidize public bodies which are more and more absent and deficient in ensuring a social security system.

In assuming this exacting responsibility, I am consoled by the fact that I was an executive and directly witnessed the entire course, which I started with great humility and as much determination back in 1997 when Professor Emanuele called me to his side.  By following this path, Fondazione Roma is now recognized and appreciated as an example, probably envied by many, of the correct implementation and pursuit of the social support mission entrusted by the legislator – the only real raison d’être of any Foundation of banking origin – and of financial soundness, such as to ensure the same support for the many, stable and important ongoing and forthcoming projects for the years to come.

Therefore, I have been handed a thriving and financially sound Foundation, confident that it made the right decisions as confirmed by the severe crisis, often irreversible, in which almost two thirds of the Foundations that joined ACRI now find themselves, precisely because they failed to follow the example set by Professor Emanuele and Fondazione Roma.

The prophetic ability, farsightedness and determination of Professor Emanuele, who is always ready to react against any attack on the private nature, independence and the assets of the Foundation, were fundamental to such decisions.  For example:

The Ciampi reform law, is dated December 1998 and the implementation decree is dated may 1999.  These laws established that Foundations could operate in specific sectors and that they could do so with targeted projects through instrumentalities. Hence, the Foundation, at the initiative of Professor Emanuele:

  • in May 1997, founded, in the field of art, Musa Roma S.p.A., the Foundation’s first instrumentality;
  • in May 1997, in the field of Scientific Research, joined CENSIS and in 1998 the Consorzio AGRITAL Ricerche;
  • in April 1998, in the field of Education, entered the LUISS University;
  • in October 1998, in the field of Health, created the Hospice and the Home Care Unit for cancer patients.

Considering that these dates refer to the inception of the projects and that Professor Emanuele had envisaged and planned them beforehand, he had mapped out the Foundation’s path well in advance, which others tardily tried to imitate.  They tried to emulate Fondazione Roma’s procedures to pursue the institutional goals as well as its asset management, albeit unsuccessfully, because they repeated past mistakes for far too long, or rather, they maintained the foundation/bank model which had long since shown its shortcomings, just to keep their seats on the Boards of Directors of the affiliates/subsidiaries; they failed to comply with the will of the Legislator, that prescribed the diversification of investments and they have always been sensitive to political power instead of having the sole purpose of  pursuing social benefit goals.

Another example of Professor Emanuele’s perseverance and farsightedness concerns the legal battles he undertook, often alone, to protect the independence of Fondazione Roma and, in the long term, for the benefit of all the other organisations in the system. ACRI distanced itself or was even hostile to many of these battles, therefore Fondazione Roma was isolated.  However, the Foundation was not lured by the sirens of a settlement or a common compromise and confidently went ahead and kept out of operations unrelated to the mission of foundations of banking origin, such as joining the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti  or Fondo Atlante (a private equity fund), so that the sole goal to which it directed its planning, financial and human efforts was to support the most urgent need of the  local community, especially in the fields of health, biomedical research, aid to the less fortunate, education and culture.

Such an impressive and unique wealth of valuable projects, planning ability, fundamental choices and the people who contributed to its creation – I am thinking of the work performed by Professor Emanuele, the Governing Bodies, the Members of the Assembly and all of the Personnel – considering the increasing abandonment of solidarity, must not be lost or endangered.  It must be preserved and perpetuated and possibly increased with determination.  The continuity and enhancement of the important projects accomplished by Professor Emanuele and the actions to safeguard the Foundation’s independence must likewise be ensured with the same resolve.

These are and will be my duties, which I shall discharge every day with the utmost commitment and to the best of my ability, faithfully following the road mapped out by Professor Emanuele, Honorary President ad personam of Fondazione Roma, its tutelary numen and inspirer.

Franco Parasassi