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Foundation Spotlight: The Mary Foundation

HRH The Crown Princess was playing with children on 24 May 2016 with day care and nursery school children in Vallensbæk presented a new version of anti-bullying program Free of Bullying targeted at 0-3 year olds. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

HRH The Crown Princess was playing with children on 24 May 2016 with day care and nursery school children in Vallensbæk presented a new version of anti-bullying program Free of Bullying targeted at 0-3-year-olds. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

The Mary Foundation (Mary Fonden) was founded in 2007 by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. After her wedding to Crown Prince Frederick, the people of Denmark and Greenland raised and donated close to £123,000 (1.1 million Danish kroner) in celebration of the union as a national gift. This money was, in turn, used partially to create the Mary Foundation.

The Crown Princess hands out medals at the first Kammagiitta – Free of Bullying relay in Greenland in June 2012. Photo: Jørgen Chemnitz/Mary Foundation

The Crown Princess hands out medals at the first Kammagiitta – Free of Bullying relay in Greenland in June 2012. Photo: Jørgen Chemnitz/Mary Foundation

The Crown Princess found her inspiration from her social work with her patronages and other similar foundations around the globe. Its first project was launched in 2008, and the foundation has expanded due to the generosity of donations and the eight co-founders. The capital stock of the Mary Foundation now stands at 150 million Danish kroner (roughly £168 million).

Her Royal Highness previously explained in a speech, “The Mary Foundation’s vision is to fight social isolation, based on the concept that ‘everyone has the right to belong’.”

In the same speech, she also said regarding her namesake foundation, “The role of The Mary Foundation is largely that of a catalyst – we bring together relevant, and often untraditional, partners in our projects. The Mary Foundation fights social isolation by building bridges with those players in society that are best able to help solve the issue.”

The Mary Foundation focuses on three major points: Bullying and Well-being, Domestic Violence, and Loneliness. Its mission is to “combat social isolation – based on the belief that everyone has a right to belong,” according to their official website.

The bullying and well-being focus aims to prevent bullying through improving the well-being of children. This focus, which was the first of the organisation, wants communities to give the best chances to ensure that bullying comes to an end. As a result, three projects were created so far: Free of Bullying, BookFun and Klubfidusen. Free of Bullying (Kammagiitta in Greenland) works to prevent bullying in preschools and primary schools. BookFun is all about expanding the communicational skills of the 3-6-year-olds through playful reading. The ability to express one’s feelings, thoughts and wishes is a key to children’s communities. Finally, Klubfidusen aims to help children feel comfortable when they play football in their spare time – as thriving does not come automatically in children’s free time.

The second focus is on domestic violence. The Mary Foundation has said that they work to help many vulnerable women and children through support in taking their next step in a life without violence.

The Crown Princess visited a station with discussions about the situations and actions that may end up being a violent courtship. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

The Crown Princess visited a station with discussions about the situations and actions that may end up being a violent courtship on 9 November 2016. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

In Denmark alone, it has been estimated that 29,000 women are subjected to violence from their partner per year. ComfortPacks and Advice for Life are two projects within this area of the organisation. A ComfortPack is given to each child arriving at a women’s shelter, and the Advice for Life project gives legal, financial, and social advice to those women who have been victims of domestic abuse.

Last but certainly not least, the Mary Foundation focuses on loneliness. Netwerk and Værket are two projects born out of this area of the organisation. Netwerk has the goal of preventing loneliness in secondary schools, and Værket works to fight loneliness in adults.

The Crown Princess is able to relate to the feeling of loneliness, which she experienced briefly at 26-years-old when she lost her mother in 1997. However, Her Royal Highness experienced the transitional form of loneliness and not the long-term and harmful loneliness, which is the one targeted in the Mary Foundation.

The Crown Princess at the event ending the pilot phase of Network. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

The Crown Princess at the event ending the pilot phase of Network. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Mary Foundation

Regarding loneliness, the Crown Princess has said in the past, “When you feel alone, you feel as if you don’t belong anywhere like you’re alone in the world. It’s a real and big problem that’s gone unnoticed, so I’m glad that it’s drawing some attention now. There’s still a lot of taboo around it, it’s an issue we have to talk about.”

As Crown Princess Mary has said, this foundation works “for the many people who stand alone in this world.”

Information about donating to The Mary Foundation can be found here. They also welcome suggestions regarding new ideas and projects. Suggestions can be sent to info@maryfonden.dk.

Many thanks to the Mary Foundation for the help they gave with information for this article and all the good they do in the world.

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