The health crisis is having devastating effects on the economy and employment, hitting the most vulnerable segments of the population with particular intensity. That is why this year the La Caixa Foundation, within its 2020 Social Initiatives Program, has expanded the bases of the call for initiatives that promote social and labor insertion for include projects that address the new challenges arising from the pandemic in the objectives.

This update has resulted in a 32% increase in the number of projects presented compared to last year and an increase in the financial allocation by more than 200,000 euros, to 3.5 million. This contribution is channeled through support to 135 projects, which will have cAs direct beneficiaries about 15,000 people.

The call is intended for promote social and labor insertion projects aimed at young people, people with disabilities or mental disorders or people at risk of exclusion, with the aim of enhancing their skills and competencies in accordance with the needs of the business fabric of the territory, promoting their autonomy and favoring their incorporation into the labor market. And it is structured in three areas of action: training to improve employability, support for insertion companies and special employment centers and promotion of self-employment and empowerment for vulnerable groups.

The beneficiaries are young people and people with disabilities or at risk of exclusion

“We have supported the request for funding to La Caixa in this call in the situation that the Roma community is going through in general as a result of the pandemic and in particular people who have been absolutely limited in the possibility of exercising their professional activity in street vending and who are having enough problems to restart commercial activity ”, says Carmen Sanjurjo, coordinator of the employment programs in Madrid of the Gypsy Secretariat Foundation.

Roma population and the coronavirus crisis: modernizing the street vending sector is one of the beneficiary projects of the La Caixa call this year and, according to the head of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, “the project is aimed at developing a training and tutoring strategy for the modernization of street vending, the digitization of the company’s management and the opening of new marketing channels that go beyond face-to-face sales at the markets ”. It will work with 20 young people, at least half women, and they will be provided with computers.

With Apply TICsAnother of the beneficiary projects, the San Martín de Porres Charitable Foundation seeks to narrow the digital divide that distances people with greater difficulties in accessing training and employment. “With the pandemic, what has come out is that people do not know how to handle what is at hand, which is usually a mobile. Very few people have a computer with a minimum of features to do a search and the fast and stable connection is also limited ”, says Elena Gil, director of job placement programs at the foundation.

The objective is to enhance their abilities and skills

The program has face-to-face and distance training, with availability of more than 50 courses validated by Microsoft and Google, with training both for daily life (negotiations with doctors, employment offices, Social Security, etc.) and focused on employment and the acquisition of soft skills (teamwork, adaptability, communication, negotiation, etc.), accessible to through the mobile permanently.


“In technical training we are going to do, on the one hand, the preparation and delivery of orders. Not so much in logistics and delivery, because most people don’t even have a driver’s license, but in preparation. And we are going to give you everything that has to do with the food handling course with the official license and the driver’s license. And then, in cleaning and disinfection, which we also have a lot of experience and agreements with companies, ”says the head of the San Martín de Porres Foundation.

Another example of where the La Caixa Foundation grants have been allocated is the project Creating training and cooperative networks, from Open until Dawn, Sociedad Cooperativa Madrileña de Iniciativa Social, focused on the group of domestic and care workers. “The aim is to improve the living conditions of the participants, with three objectives: to professionalize these women so that they improve their chances of finding a job; promote collective entrepreneurship by supporting cooperatives of domestic workers, and creating a network of collaboration with public administrations and also with private entities that encourages ethical hiring “, explains Esperanza Camarasa, its manager, as well as the projects of employment and woman in the cooperative.

“The project, thus, has an initial part of agreements, and then a series of professional reinforcement actions, certificates of professionalism in the field of care, safety and quality at work, prevention of occupational hazards, applicability of ICT in care and care, person-centered care models, food handling… ”, summarizes Esperanza Camarasa.

Awards for Social Innovation

The 2020 Social Initiative Project Aid Program celebrates its third edition this year, with a total investment of 17.5 million euros also in care for aging, disability and illness, the fight against social exclusion and child poverty, housing for social inclusion, the promotion of interculturality and social action in rural areas.

It is thus in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations 2030 Agenda, supporting initiatives that contribute to promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all people, especially the most vulnerable.

The La Caixa Foundation will grant a special recognition to the entities that develop the most disruptive projects based on the call program, either by implementing new models of social or management intervention or by providing a transforming vision of society. It will be the seventh edition of the La Caixa Awards for Social Innovation in which they will be awarded 10 prizes of 15,000 euros each, which will provide an additional boost for each of the awarded projects.


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