Purpose and Method
The Mary Foundation strives to fight social isolation based on the belief that everyone has the right to belong. The feeling of belonging to a community where you feel acknowledged and accepted is crucial for all of us.
Purpose of The Mary Foundation
The mission of The Mary Foundation is described in our Charter:
“The objective of The Mary Foundation is to improve the lives of children, adults and families who – as a result of their environment, heredity, illness or other circumstances – find themselves socially isolated or excluded from society. The Foundation aims to fulfil its objective by creating opportunities for these individuals and giving them a sense of affiliation and of belonging to a community. Furthermore, the Foundation undertakes to encourage tolerance and understanding of diversity and to create hope.”
Three Areas of Action
We work in three focus areas: Bullying and Well-being, Domestic Violence and Loneliness. Each action area was identified on the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the social sector in Denmark and based on HRH Crown Princess Mary’s particular interests in the three areas.
The Mary Foundation’s activities, including projects, analyses, and communication efforts, are primarily located within the three areas. In addition, we initiate and participate in activities that contribute to increase knowledge and create awareness about our overall purpose.
Projects, knowledge, and communication
The projects are the core of The Mary Foundation’s work. Through our projects, we work to create changes for our target groups. We always conduct a thorough analysis of an area to identify where the need is greatest and where our efforts can be most beneficial. On this basis, we develop the individual projects.
At The Mary Foundation, we are deeply involved in our projects – but we cannot operate them on our own. Therefore, we typically enter into strategic partnerships on each project, and we have an expert panel associated with each of our three areas of action. We have numerous and diverse partners, but what they have in common is that, like us, they believe that the best way to create positive and lasting changes for vulnerable groups is through collaboration and by bringing together relevant competencies and partners to reach a common goal.
Knowledge is a necessary foundation for The Mary Foundation’s projects and priorities. The work of conducting analyses and providing new knowledge is wide-ranging, and we use it to qualify not only our own work, but also to contribute in general with new knowledge for actors working in our fields. At the same time, we use knowledge to elucidate issues, trends, and solutions within our focus areas.
Communication is another important parameter for our projects. The communication effort of The Mary Foundation consists first and foremost in communicating directly to the users of the projects; educators, teachers, nurses, and other professional groups.
We do this through materials, newsletters, social media, project websites, professional media etc. At the same time, we use communication actively to create a greater understanding among the general public of our three focus areas. For us to put an end to violence, loneliness, and bullying, it is crucial that we create a greater understanding of what the three issues encompass, how we can prevent them, and how we can break down the taboos connected to all three areas.
The Mary Foundation has existed since 2007. During that time, we have developed many projects that in various ways prevent and alleviate the issues we work with. Moreover, we have helped to create knowledge and research within our areas of focus.
In our work with Bullying and Well-being, we have contributed to professionals today shifting their understanding of what bullying is and why it is so important to work with community dynamics. Today, The Mary Foundation’s project Free of Bullying is present in 40% of nurseries/day care facilities, 60% of preschools, and 45% of primary schools and after school clubs in Denmark.
As for our work with Loneliness, we have helped to support the creation of a common knowledge base for talking about loneliness, so that loneliness can be regularly measured at national level, and developments can be followed.
Within our focus on Domestic Violence, we have since 2008 distributed more than 30.000 backpacks to children who arrive at a women’s shelter with their mother, and we have facilitated that women subjected to violence are offered financial and social advice through the project Advice for Life (Råd til Livet), which continues without us today within the framework of Mothers’ Aid (Mødrehjælpen).