Vincenzo Manes

Dynamo Camp di Vincenzo Manes è tra i più grandi progetti di filantropia in Italia

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One small step for mankind

I witnessed a moment of history at the dedication of Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camp Dynamo here in Italy. Newman started his first camp for children with chronic or terminal illnesses 20 years ago,in Connecticut. His idea was that these kids- like all children- just need to 'raise a little hell', believing that 'fun is a great medicine'. Since then, all of the profits from Newman's Own products (his line of popcorn, spaghetti sauces, salad dressings, and other foods) go to these camps and other charities.
Each of the Hole in the Wall Camps is 'owned' by a private philanthropist who is part of the Hole in the Wall association and is responsible for coming up with the funds to buy and run the camp. The person who initiated the Dynamo Camp here in Tuscany is an Italian, Enzo Manes. With this remarkable commitment, Manes has made Italian history. Although Italian corporations and financial institutions make generous contributions to foundations and charities, the idea of individual philanthropy has not been an important part of the Italian culture ...until now.

Nita Tucker, Editor-In-Chief

Following is an excerpt from Enzo Manes' speech on October 6, 2007:
Is it worth it? This is the question I posed four years after the inception of Camp Dynamo. And it is with the words of Warren Buffet, one of the world's richest philanthropists who has donated his 40-million dollar fortune to charity, that I answer this very difficult question: 'Philanthropy is a tougher game than business' said Buffet, adding that the most difficult problems encountered in business and corporate politics are relatively simplistic when compared to the intricate, and often hopeless situations one confronts in charity work.
For four years now I have been avidly looking for valid reasons to support the 'it is worth it' thesis.
When I first started to become interested in philanthropy and non-profit organizations ten years ago, I had one major objective: that of setting up a foundation that would manage non-profit organizations according to strict business principles.
This ambitious goal stemmed from the unique kind of business experience I gained in America, a country that has always fascinated me for its ability to do good things for the needy without religious or political connotations or motives.
In particular, it was the willingness with which entrepreneurs and top executives made attempts to rival something other than the products, services and markets they operated in daily. They entered philanthropy with the same zeal and passion as they did business. And it was with this vision that we began the Dynamo Foundation in 2003.
A few words can sum up what we do at the Dynamo Foundation: help children, who have been very unlucky, to be happy. Amid many doubts, fears, joys and much hard work, we worked with Paul Newman to set up the Dynamo Camp in Italy. And after four years of success, I can say that I am proud of what we have accomplished for several reasons:
1) because Camp Dynamo is one of the biggest private philanthropic projects operating in ltaly today
2) because Camp Dynamo is part of one of the largest philanthropic networks in America and has been admired for its organizational model, fundraising efforts and management
3) because almost all of the goals we had set forth from the beginning have been reached
4) because everything we have clone and all the goals we have reached have been accomplished with a high level of seriousness and professionalism.
In philanthropic circles, debates abound on whether to aid the poor or the ill, Africa or the environment, or the elderly or children in need. In the end, I believe that one is not more important than another, and that we all need to help what and who we hold dearest to our hearts. One thing is certain: the most important thing is to donate with your heart, because donating for the sake of donating will not help anyone-least of all yourself.
Happiness. This is the most important aspect of philanthropy. I heard Paul Newman say in a speech once that what a child gives the philanthropist is much more than what the philanthropist gives to the children they help. Many children who have participated in Camp Dynamo say that the greatest gift the camp has given them is happiness, and that is what we say back to them because happiness is a reciprocal feeling here.
Allow me to quote Bill Clinton's latest book, entitled Giving, in which he questions whether donating can give happiness:
Who is the happiest-
He who unites or divides?
He who builds or destroys?
He who gives or takes?

I think you all know the answer.

The Florentine has been honored and proud to be the media sponsor of Dynamo camp. For more information or to make a donation (tax deductible in U.S.)