Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
In this annual report for 2021, we look back on a period of 524,160 minutes or 8,736 hours. As in previous years, we have continually considered the essentials of our work. Are we still standing for what we want to stand for? Are we still achieving what we want to achieve? Do we see an opportunity to drive change and are we contributing to improving health? This is why we commissioned a study in our network that asked whether we are indeed contributing to improvements. The agency that carried out the study found, among other things, that we are rated 8.1 in this respect. I used to think that was a good mark and I still do.
The survey asks also so-called 'open questions'. The answers are often very interesting and instructive. One respondent, when asked for suggestions on how to optimize our role, replied the following: "You have a down-to-earth, substantive, no-nonsense approach and that's great! However, to what extent are you really proud of your work? And to what extent do you publicize this? As far as I am concerned, Noaber may become more visible!"
Two words in particular stand out to me in this quote. First of all: "down-to-earth". I find that a great compliment because I think that’s very important, even in the delusion of our day. And finally, "visibility." We are, I believe, at least when we publish our annual report.
Another comment states that we could establish better connections between the various initiatives we are involved in. That’s an important comment. As a board and staff, we are happy to take suggestions and our commitment to focused things we do even better. After all, the projects in the programs and the companies in our investment portfolios are worth connecting. Think of the triple helix perspective; the collaboration between governments, companies and scientific institutions.
Back to that one comment from the survey. The word "pride" also strikes me in it. I'm not sure that word fits the values-driven family foundation we are and the long-term vision we have. We prefer to replace it with the word "grateful"? Paul Baan, our founder, often says when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come up, not for nothing, "Yes, and SDG also stands for Soli Deo Gloria!" From that perspective, we want to act with an eye to the future, at the rate of sixty minutes per hour.
The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
In 2021, we as a family foundation were once again able to invest time in achieving Noaber's mission: driving change, improving health. We are grateful for that. We are also grateful because our parents, the first generation, gave us the time to prepare to take over board responsibilities. We learned a lot from them. For example, the importance of believing in and looking for possibilities. And the importance of thinking in the long term, seeing a distant horizon. Meanwhile, we, the second generation, have already begun to give our children, the third generation, the same preparation in an appropriate manner.
Last year I wrote on behalf of my family that our model of donating and investing is aimed at social impact and financial return. That hasn’t changed. The cultural compass that keeps us on track has helped us to continue our journey, keeping the core values of the organization and our family at heart.
Last but not least we are grateful for the cooperation between the committed board members and the professional staff. The time we were allowed to spend together was time well spent. After all, we invested in change and health!