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H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain imposes the Gold Cross for Social Solidarity on Esther Koplowitz

23/01/2008

H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain imposes the Gold Cross for Social Solidarity on Esther Koplowitz

  • The distinction, granted by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, is in recognition of the businesswoman's work in favour of the disadvantaged.

H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain imposed the Gold Cross of the Civil Order of Social Solidarity on Esther Koplowitz, Marchioness of Casa Peñalver and of Cubas, at a ceremony today in the Zarzuela Palace, Madrid. Among those at the ceremony were the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jesús Caldera, and the State Secretary for Social Services, Amparo Valcárcel. Esther Koplowitz was accompanied by her family and by Gonzalo Anes, Director of Spain's Royal Academy of History.

The Civil Order of Social Solidarity is granted to individuals who have made a particularly outstanding contribution by promoting or undertaking activities and services in society which have resulted in greater social welfare. The distinction, granted by the Minister of Labour, acknowledges Esther Koplowitz's work to help the disadvantaged, especially the elderly and people with mental disabilities who have limited means.

The Esther Koplowitz Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in the early 1990s that is funded solely by contributions from its President, focuses on building and outfitting homes for elderly people of limited means and people with mental disabilities; upon completion, the homes are donated to the various administrations.

This is the case with the retirement homes built by the Foundation in Collado Villalba (Madrid) and Barcelona, and the home for people with severe mental disabilities that it built and donated to the Valencia City Government. The Esther Koplowitz Foundation is currently developing a home for poor elderly people in Valladolid and a home for adults with mental disabilities in Valencia. 

The Foundation is also active in the field of medical research and equipment. It recently donated a Da Vinci surgical robot, one of only two currently in Spain, to the Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid, putting that prestigious clinic at the forefront of robotic surgery.

In the coming months, the first stone is due to be laid for the Esther Koplowitz Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEK) in Barcelona; the centre will provide work space for 400 researchers and is one of the largest cases of sponsorship for biomedical research in Europe (15 million euro); the CIBEK is scheduled to be operational in 2010.
 
With all these projects, the Esther Koplowitz Foundation will have donated 82 million euro to help the disadvantaged and contribute to scientific development in Spain.

In recognition of her dedication to these causes, in July 2001 the Spanish Cabinet awarded Esther Koplowitz the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for her work for society. Other distinctions granted to Esther Koplowitz for her work include the Silver Cross of the Order of Merit of the Guardia Civil, the Coat of Arms of the City of Barcelona, the title of Adoptive Daughter of the City of Valencia, and the Gold Medal of Spain's Royal Academy of History for her cultural work inside and outside FCC. Early in 2007, the Adecco Foundation granted the Esther Koplowitz Foundation its Annual Award in recognition of its work to favour the disadvantaged.

In September 2007, Esther Koplowitz was named 'Business Leader of the Year' by the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce for her entrepreneurship at the head of FCC and her work in favour of the needy. Her foundation provides assistance to a number of associations and organisations, including most notably the Queen Sofia Foundation's Alzheimer Project, Caritas, Horizontes Abiertos, Mensajeros de la Paz, Police Orphans, Guardia Civil Orphans, and Aid for Victims of Terrorism.