Funds and entrepreneurs jointly combat loneliness




Oranje Fonds & KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds are going to support social entrepreneurs

The Oranje Fonds and the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds are joining forces to tackle loneliness with the help of some 20 social entrepreneurs*. The program ‘Ondernemen tegen eenzaamheid’ [Taking action against loneliness] will give them financial and organizational support to permanently combat loneliness. The goal is to help thousands of people, using the power of technology to bring people together.

Two out of five adults feel lonely. They lack a close, emotional connection with others or have less contact with other people than they would like. Loneliness can affect anyone, young or old, and can have major consequences. Being lonely for long periods of time can lead to physical and mental health issues such as an increased risk of heart disease and depression.

“At a time when keeping your distance is the norm, it’s very difficult to stay connected,” says Sandra Jetten, director of the Oranje Fonds. “People have suddenly lost their daily contact with others. Loneliness was already a big problem and this crisis only makes it worse, at every level of society. Fortunately, a lot of people are willing to do something for others. With our joint program Taking action against loneliness we are going to support a group of social entrepreneurs who want to take action to permanently reduce loneliness in the Netherlands. By investing in them, financially but especially with knowledge and coaching, they can grow and – in time – stop even more people feeling lonely.”

Marieke Snoep, board member of the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds and member of the KPN Board of Management, adds: “Loneliness is a major problem with huge consequences. Fortunately, there are already numerous initiatives in our country that are doing their bit to create more social connection. But more is needed. We are convinced that we can achieve more by working together. Today we are taking the first significant step in this and are calling on entrepreneurs to come forward with their innovative ideas for the Taking action against loneliness program. Our goal is that together we will make a difference for as many people as possible.”

Program and registration
Taking action against loneliness is looking for ambitious social entrepreneurs who want to take action to permanently reduce loneliness in the Netherlands. People with a unique and scalable approach that has the potential to be financially self-sufficient, where volunteers are part of the solution and ICT is a key factor. For three years, the social entrepreneurs receive a financial stimulus as well as workshops, coaching, access to a relevant network and national visibility.

Recruitment of participants starts today. Social entrepreneurs can register here up to May 2. Then the selection process begins in which the entries are judged by a jury made up of experts in the field of entrepreneurship and loneliness. The program will begin in the fall of 2021.

About the Oranje Fonds and the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds
Both the Oranje Fonds and the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds have for years been committed to a society in which everyone has social contact. The Oranje Fonds is the largest national fund in the social domain and supports some 10,000 projects in the Netherlands each year.

For more than thirteen years, the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds has been connecting people who feel lonely with the world around them; thanks to numerous initiatives, the fund has reached many tens of thousands of people.

*Social enterprises primarily and explicitly pursue a social goal and aim to solve a social problem. Another characteristic of these enterprises is that they are economically independent, get their money from the market and do not depend entirely on grants, gifts and donations.