Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and Dr Michał Laszczkowski, President of the Cultural Heritage Foundation, signed an agreement under which the Foundation, as early as in 2017, will receive PLN 100 million (USD 30 million) as a supplement to the endowment. The proceeds from this investment will be used to finance cleanup and conservation works in the Jewish cemetery at Okopowa Street in Warsaw, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world.
The funds for supplementing the Endowment of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage have been transferred to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as a result of the passing of the Act of 8 December on the Subsidy to the Foundation for Cultural Heritage intended to supplement the endowment capital.
The law was supported by 416 Members of Parliament (with 4 against and 6 abstaining) and 74 Senators (8 abstaining). On 20 December 2017, the act was signed by the President of the Republic of Poland.
The amount of PLN 100 million was allocated to this year’s budget of the Ministry of Culture and constitutes additional funds allocated by Parliament to the Ministry of Culture in 2017. This constitutes an increase in state expenditure in the field of culture.
The Act specifies the manner of investing funds transferred to the endowment. This may include capital deposits and bonds. And when investing, the “security is more important than profit” principle is to be applied. The investments made will have to be provided with a guarantee to secure the capital invested.
Income generated as a result of the investment of the endowment will be used for cleaning up, revaluation and restoration works in the cemetery. The Act specifies precisely which types of works can be financed.
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will be responsible for the proper performance of tasks imposed on the Cultural Heritage Foundation. The Foundation will be required to submit regular reports on investment as well as on the disbursement of funds generated. The income from the investment will be accounted for as a subsidy in the Ministry, so the Foundation will submit a factual report with a list of costs to the Ministry each year. The Ministry of Culture is authorised to continuously monitor the Foundation’s activities.
Violation of the endowment, change of its purpose, liquidation of the Foundation or improper disbursement of funds will result in the return of the endowment to the state budget.
The establishment and addition of supplementary funds to the endowment of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage has been modelled on a solution successfully implemented by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. Founded in 2009, the foundation has raised an endowment of EUR 120 million, consisting of donations from governments and individuals. (Poland transferred EUR 10 million). The basic difference between the two funds is the fact that the endowment of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage to preserve the Jewish cemetery at Okopowa Street has been entirely financed by the Polish state in the amount of PLN 100 million.