The tradition of philanthropy in Siauliai creates a more beautiful city and nurtures its future

  • 2024-07-04

Siauliai, the economic, academic, and cultural center of northern Lithuania, also known as the Sun City, will celebrate its 788th birthday this year. The first mention of Siauliai's place name "Soule" in written sources dates to 1236, in a Livonian chronicle, written in verse, describing the Battle of the Sun, where the locals fought and defeated representatives of the Order of the Sword. Many years later, Lithuania and Siauliai are enjoying a peace that has become even more appreciated in recent years.

The Sun City has a vibrant cultural life, with local businesses joining in. The tradition of patronage stands as a crucial and robust pillar, exemplifying a harmonious collaboration. Siauliai can truly be proud of its socially responsible businesses. The custom of financial support and patronage grows stronger every year, allowing Siauliai citizens to enjoy better, higher-quality events, create a beautiful environment, and develop a strong future generation.

Entrepreneurs who have become true patriots of their city are increasingly contributing to the great ideas of event organizers. Support for sports is particularly significant. In 2023, 72 companies provided 1,136,440 euros in support to the city's sports teams and events. Cultural events have also received diverse support from the local business community. For its part, Siauliai City Municipality has been working to strengthen this cooperation by running a special business incentive program for several years now: tax breaks are available for businesses that support sports, culture, social projects, or education.

The biggest donor support comes during the city's various anniversaries and jubilees, but there are also other initiatives that make the city look beautiful. The country's largest rose garden, planted in front of Siauliai's Ausra Museum Ch. Frenkel Villa, delights visitors with thousands of blossoms and wonderful aromas. The gift was presented to the museum by Stanislovas Grusas, the head of the Nonwovens Factory Group (Group of companies of Neaustinių medziagu fabrikas, (AB).

In 2023, a Sakura garden will be completed in Song Park, symbolizing the memory of the Japanese diplomat, well-known to Lithuanians, and his services to humanity. Ltintus, a private limited company based in Siauliai, initiated the planting of a Japanese cherry tree park in the Sun City in 2020, which has been declared the Year of Chiyune Sugihara, Japanese Vice Consul. At that time, 30 Japanese cherry trees were introduced into the Song Park environment. Today, 101 trees blossom here every spring.

Siauliai is increasingly being beautified and made greener by local business initiatives. On the shores of Lake Talksa, near the famous Iron Fox, Siauliai residents and visitors can spot new plants and trees. This spring, Jupojos technika, UAB, contributed to nurturing and cherishing the green spaces here. In 2023, the company's staff decided to use part of the budget allocated for Christmas presents for sustainable projects that will have a positive impact on a larger group of people. Not only did the company donate money for this purpose, but its employees also took part in a planting campaign.

Local businesses not only decorate the city of Siauliai with plants and festivals but also care about the city’s future. The list of patrons of the Study Foundation of Siauliai State University of Applied Sciences includes 15 business enterprises, individuals, and organizations, while the list of patrons of Vilnius University Siauliai Academy includes 10 business enterprises that provide significant support to students. Representatives of the Siauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts are also actively involved in a joint project with representatives of the Siauliai City Municipality, research, and study institutions – Siauliai, the Career City; the said project is aimed at young people who are choosing a profession and starting their working career. A dedicated website has been created for the project, and active promotional campaigns have been running for several years.

In April, Mr. Vytis Lembutis, the President of the Siauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts, presented the latest initiative - a contribution to the creation of Vilnius University Endowment Fund. “We see that business needs to contribute more to the financing of educational and scientific institutions. We used to give scholarships, but a year and a half ago we started discussing other possibilities. One of them was to invest in an Endowment Fund of Vilnius University. We want to raise at least 100,000 euros in a separate sub-fund allocated for Siauliai by September,” said Vytis Lembutis. The money earned could be used for scholarships, various projects, promotion of teachers, or missions, according to the priorities of VU Siauliai Academy. The Siauliai sub-fund would also be an endowment fund (the capital whereof is untouchable), and the funds invested could not be withdrawn or reduced. The Siauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts have decided to allocate half of the initial amount of 50,000 euros to the sub-fund, and the business communities in the Siauliai region will be approached for the remaining part.

Businesses never remain indifferent in various emergencies. At the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Siauliai City Municipality opened a special support account. Donations were initially used to settle the issue of accommodation for incoming Ukrainian refugees, and later, shopping cards were distributed to the Ukrainian war refugees belonging to socially vulnerable groups, contributing to the faster integration of the new arrivals. Over its lifetime, the Fund has received over 108,000 euros. The majority of the donations have come from businesses, with 31 companies contributing over 92,000 euros, and the rest came from residents.

All the initiatives that create, develop, and beautify the city leave their mark on the city. Visitors to Siauliai can also enjoy a large part of them, so remember this date: this year the birthday of Siauliai will be celebrated on September 6-7. The whole weekend will be bustling with life, and everyone will be creating the celebration: institutions, businesses, residents. We invite you to come! But be warned: Siauliai may turn your head so much that you'll decide to stay here for a long time...