Jan Peter Balkenende
2020 was an eventful year. An incredible number of events and changes have taken place since we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic. We suddenly had to ask each other all kinds of questions and come up with solutions. Working online, for instance, is becoming the norm. And how would the organizations and companies in our programs and portfolios do? What were they facing and what risks would both parties be exposed to?
The staff, therefore, completed analyses and, where necessary, support was offered, both financially and in word and deed. We based this, as one of many actions, on external expertise; this included experts from our large network, who were willing to collaborate with us.
This past year, we once again looked at the essence of our work. What do we stand for? What do we want to achieve, and how do we go about it? Our conclusion was that our line of thinking has proven its worth and has since proven to be essential. After all, Noaber has been committed to health for many years, including the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and prevention. The significance of health issues has become very clear!
The importance of strategic cooperation has also been reaffirmed. In order to successfully invest in new visions in the area of health, a strategy known as the triple helix is required; collaboration between governments, companies, and academic and scientific institutions. Our relationship with, for example, the Mayo Clinic and the various University Medical Centers and other institutions, are essential. Collaborations with companies such as Philips is also a good example of this strategy.
The fact that our work is accomplished by a family foundation, is paramount in all of this. An important characteristic of family businesses is that they are strongly value-driven and have a long-term vision. In this day and age, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are inspiring. Paul Baan's reference to the phrase Soli Deo Gloria, when citing “SDGs”, is particularly significant.
2020 was also the year in which the transition from the first generation (our founders) to the second generation (their children) was prepared. This was quite a complex process. For example, we had to deal with the transition from an enterprising founder company, to a more enterprising organization. The main lesson we learned from our parents in this regard is that planning, risk assessments, etc. are useful. However, at the same time, you also have to have a “go for it” mentality when you believe you can achieve something great.
In doing so, we are continuously aware that we are a family foundation with a long-term vision. Our model of donation and investment aims to achieve both social impact and a financial return. In order to maintain our "direction"’ we need a compass that can keep us on course, to follow our core values; those of our organization and our family. It became particularly important to rethink, elaborate, and live our values in 2020. Together, we create an organization made up of committed directors from various sectors, a family, and a professional staff contingent. This is a wonderful, something for which we should be especially grateful.