Since 2005, the Citizenship Prize is awarded annually to people who are committed to an open, democratic and tolerant society. This prestigious prize is awarded by the P&V Foundation, which supports active citizenship and fights against the social exclusion of young people.
This year, the jury chose to reward our CEO Michel Pradolini for his societal commitment. He is not only the successful and socially committed owner and CEO of IFS, but he is also the founder and chairman of Antwerp based football team City Pirates. This team truly is more than just a football club: it is a broadly supported social project, active in several districts of Antwerp, which currently counts about 1200 youngsters from more than 80 different nationalities as members, 140 trainers and more than 200 volunteers.
City Pirates uses football (and more recently also music and dance) as a means to increase social cohesion and offer opportunities and perspectives to children and young people from mostly disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Antwerp. "Football pushes boundaries", says Michel Pradolini. "There is no color in football, you can see that on our national team. You can do amazing things with that diversity. We work a lot with Belgians with roots in other countries and cultures. We can learn them many things through football, for example discipline, behavior, group experience, and so on.”
For Michel Pradolini involving the entire social network is the key to success in his projects. Just as the cooks, suppliers, captains, customers and staff make IFS what it is today, the essence of the City Pirates is to make the children blossom within their social network of school, family and neighborhood. Or as the jury puts it: “It is not a reactive or a charity project, but a truly structural and proactive project.In the struggle against the division, the alienation, the fatalism and the individualisation of our society, Michel Pradolini perfectly embodies the values the Foundation stands for: solidarity, emancipation, citizenship and participation.” We couldn’t agree more!
Check out the following link for an interview with Michel and some movie clips from the City Piraties (in Dutch): https://vrtnws.be/p.ywL7OD991.