WVPU Employees: The Value of Your Charity Day

The Webster Vienna Private University (WVPU) mission is to generate knowledge and prepare students for success through a globally-oriented and personalized education, small classes and mentorship. In line with WVPU’S values, every employee is entitled to one Charity Day per year. A Charity Day allows an employee a paid day off to contribute and support social causes by volunteering at a local charity.

One of our core values as a part of the Webster University network is global citizenship. We aim to educate a diverse population, act responsibly toward the environment to foster a sustainable future, and strengthen the communities we serve.

Nora Binder, WVPU’s head of human resources and career services, is displaying these core values through her everyday life. In 2016, Binder co-founded the association PatInnen Für Alle, which translates in English to “Godparents For All.”

Binder and co-founder Erika Kudweis run the association with a team of dedicated employees and volunteers to connect children and young adults with godparents, regardless of their nationality or religion. Many children and young people may need a caregiver if their parents are unable to care for them. For example, the parents may be ill or refugee children may arrive alone in a new country.

The association arranges these connections for young people from 7 to 21 years of age. Godparents accompany and support their godchildren through everyday life and development on a voluntary basis. More than 150 godparent relationships have been arranged.

Godparents and godchildren

“I met my godmother in 2016," participant Osamwonyi Wisdom told Binder in German. "At first, I just wanted someone to call a friend, but over time, she became my Austrian mother. She introduced me to all her family members, including those who lived outside the country.

"She took me as her own son. We went on vacation together, and when I was looking for school, she searched the internet day and night for a place for me. When I was feeling bad, she and her husband were always there for me. Above all, they help me with my integration.”

The nonprofit association PatInnen Für Alle has won several awards, including from NÖN Leopold in 2018; Sozialpreis der Bank Austria in 2019; Preisträger der SozialMarie for Social Innovation in 2020; and Alexander Friedmann Preis in 2021. Since 2020, the association has, along with partners, implemented an Erasmus+ project called “De tout coeur avec l´Europe – Mit ganzem Herzen für Europa.” Binder took a Charity Day in July to travel to France for implementation of the project.

In January 2023, Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen invited participants of the Erasmus+ project where they had the opportunity to present the association and hand over a petition.

With the Austrian president

“We sincerely thank President Van der Bellen for this opportunity," Binder said. "All participants felt highly appreciated. I know that other members of the WVPU community can also have an impact on causes they care about, and I encourage anyone to get involved."

Learn more about PatInnen Für Alle on the program's website.

Photos by Anna Stoecher and Roland Unger

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