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South Holland | April 28, 2022
Margriet Gersie is 69 years old, comes from Amsterdam and has two children and two grandchildren. Margriet likes to walk, cycle, read and walk in the cinema and in the theater. In addition to board work in Ungdomsfonden Sport & Cultuur she is also on the board of the Center for Arts and Culture in Zoetermeer and on the board of VVE, the association of owners of the apartment complex in Oud Zuid, where she lives. This month we celebrate that Margriet Gersie has been a board member of the foundation in South Holland for 10 years. We talked to her about past, present and future.
When Margriet started, only the Youth Sports Fund existed. The goal was to help children when there was not enough money at home to go to the gym. The foundation paid for participation in the association and the sportswear. At the time, there was a cabinet where Achmed Aboutaleb, now mayor of Rotterdam, was State Secretary for Social Affairs. He then made the Aboutaleb money available to children living in poverty. This is how the Youth Culture Fund came into the picture. Following the example of the Youth Sports Fund, there should be a fund to compensate for the culture. Margriet was at that time director of Kunstgebouw, a provincial institution for art and culture in South Holland, and she was then asked if she would become a board member of the new Youth Culture Fund. It was immediately decided that the board of the Youth Sports Fund and the Youth Culture Fund should be the same. The board was the same, but they remained two separate funds. Over the years, the foundations became more and more professional, and the idea arose to merge the two foundations. It was also done this way, and because there was one board, it went well.
According to Margriet, the difference between people who are well and those who are ill is growing. The realization that you have to do something about this, and that you can not expect people to solve everything themselves, is increasing, and that is, according to Margriet, one big reason why the foundation is still very important. The second reason is that it is super important to be able to participate. People can not be expected to participate if they are unable to participate. Recently, the realization that children should participate has become much greater. Participation and especially being able to participate is a crucial point for a child’s development. Ungdomsfonden Sport & Cultuur Zuid-Holland now ensures that children in, among other places, 23 affiliated municipalities have the opportunity to participate.
Margriet says that it is difficult to find out that money is required every time, and she would like more to be done to fight poverty. Now it’s all about separate funds, which of course everyone is very happy about, but it’s true that these different tufts of money create extra work. The use, evaluation and accountability of all these little pieces ensures that there is less time to focus on, for example, reaching the children.
Every year, the foundation tries to set realistic goals. There are certain municipalities that are already doing something to help children. The number of new municipalities that would still be involved is no longer very large. Therefore, it is important for the foundation to reach even more children within the 23 municipalities where we are already affiliated, for example by linking more intermediaries to the foundation or by organizing more activities. The foundation aims to reach as many children as possible.
In addition, according to Margriet, it is interesting to look at the schools. Schools are a great place to find, teachers know all the children and often also know the home situations. It would be great to have contacts at all schools in the affiliated municipalities that process applications for children.
On a personal level, Margriet is especially happy that everything is allowed again and that everyone can take everywhere again. In the Corona era, it was sometimes hard to see her grandchildren, for example, but luckily it’s much easier now. Furthermore, Margriet really enjoys sitting on the boards where she is now and she is trying to have fun. “I have time left, it’s great with your pension, you can invent everything yourself.”
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