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Charity Spotlight: The Princess of Asturias Foundation

The Princess of Asturias Foundation was founded in 1980, under its original name, The Prince of Asturias Foundation. On the ascension of King Felipe in 2014, the Foundation changed its name to recognise the new heir to the throne, Leonor, Princess of Asturias.

Per the Foundation’s official website, the “essential aims are to contribute to extolling and promoting those scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of the universal heritage of humanity and consolidate the existing links between the Principality of Asturias and the title traditionally held by the heirs to the Crown of Spain.”

The Foundation’s main annual event is the Princess of Asturias Awards, which rewards the “scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions.”

The Princess of Asturias Awards are presented in eight categories: arts, literature, social sciences, communication and humanities, technical and scientific research, international cooperation, concord, and sports.

Past winners include Bob Dylan (Arts, 2006), Google (Communications and Humanities, 2008), Wikipedia (International Cooperation, 2015), Leonard Cohen (Literature, 2011), Sir David Attenborough (Social Sciences, 2009), Rafael Nadal (Sports, 2008), Juan Ignacio Cirac (Technical and Scientific Research, 2006), and UNICEF (Concord, 2006).

The Exemplary Town of Asturias Award goes to a town or community group in Asturias, which is rewarded with a royal visit and a €25,000 prize.

At the 2016 Princess of Asturias Awards, King Felipe delivered a speech, saying, “…the return to Asturias each autumn for this great cultural gathering has become much more than just an emotional and inspiring tradition for both The Queen and me. It is a very special and dearly anticipated event; one we experience intensely thanks to the certainty that inspires us. Because it broadens our horizons of knowledge and – despite the daily tragedies occurring in the world – reinforces our confidence in civilisation and humanity.”

The ceremony takes place at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. King Felipe and Queen Letizia present the awards as Leonor, the Princess of Asturias is still a minor.

It is anticipated that once she reaches her majority, she will take over the role from her parents. Princess Leonor is also the Honorary President of the Princess of Asturias Foundation, but will not take over this job either until her majority. The Honorary Vice President of the Foundation is the President of the Principality of Asturias.

On the occasion of the Princess of Asturias Foundation’s 25th anniversary in 2005, UNESCO declared that the Awards were an outstanding contribution to “mankind’s cultural heritage,” and worked with the Foundation to make Asturias a World Cultural Capital that year.

The 2016 budget for the Princess of Asturias Foundation amounted to €5.1 million. Of that, 87% of the funding came from the private sector, and 15% of the funding came from the public sector.

As of the end of December 2015, the net assets of the Foundation equalled £31 million. The cost of activities in 2015 equalled €5.26 million.

Total budget expenditures, per the Foundation’s website, were 68% towards the nominations, granting and presenting of the Princess of Asturias Awards, and the other 32% went towards the Exemplary Town of Asturias Award and to other non-recurring activities.

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