The Mid-Norwegian community is our largest single owner, and local communities’ share of our net profit is termed the community dividend. Community dividend has long traditions; ever since 1847 parts of the net profit have gone to non-profit and charitable causes which build and develop the region.
As the region’s leading financial services group we live in close proximity to the people in the region of which we are a part. We are passionately devoted to the development of the entire region, from Rørvik in the north to Førde in the south, and have a big heart for the local communities. We applaud all the wonderful things happening around us – ranging from voluntary sector activities, fostering of talented individuals and cultural events, to creating an attractive place to live and caring for the community.
In particular we attach much importance to future generations and, for that reason, to initiatives and activities that benefit children and young people.
The community dividend moneys go to supporting worthy projects that build and develop Mid-Norway and make the region a better place to live and work.
We aim to strengthen social and business development through building knowledge, an innovation culture and capital. That will enable new investments to be made and a basis for new jobs to be laid.
In 2022 the community dividend totalled NOK 547m. Of this, NOK 250m was allocated to investments in various projects in the region. A further NOK 297m was transferred to the foundation Sparebankstiftelsen SMN, which is the community’s ‘savings box’, representing a substantial strengthening of our ability to support Mid-Norway’s local communities.
In December 2021 a new interim strategy was adopted for the community dividend in which the regional community, sports and outdoor recreation, art and culture along with innovation and value creation were defined as focal areas in their own right.
The aim of the new interim strategy is to contribute to Mid-Norway leading role in sustainable innovation and green transition. Four strategic roles are defined – as arena builder, innovator, investor and driver of green transition.
In 2022 we sought good partners and relevant initiatives, bringing both strengthened and new collaborations. In the period ahead we will become an even larger and more important actor for entrepreneurs in Mid-Norway – ranging from budding entrepreneurs at upper secondary school to more established entrepreneurial entities in Ålesund, Molde, Åndalsnes, Trondheim, Verdal and Steinkjer. In addition, we collaborate closely with business associations and similar organisations throughout the region. This will all help to ensure that Mid-Norway has ample, and good, workplaces in the future.
In 2021 we received a good 10,000 responses on how people thought the community dividend should be invested. Many were as expected preoccupied with the voluntary sector and recreational and cultural offerings, but we also received clear feedback on the importance of more informal community activities. In 2022 we therefore wanted to create further warm meeting places, with an increased focus on the neighbourhoods in which people live. We termed this venture “Living Neighbourhoods”, and conceived a number of support schemes enabling housing cooperatives, residents associations and organisations to apply for financial support for their neighbourhoods. Through collaboration with EiendomsMegler 1 Midt-Norge we also issued invitations to neighbourhood parties across the entire region.
One hundred neighbourhoods were supplied with specially developed ‘gapahuk’ shelters, fire pans and/or flower cribs and benches (429 applied for these equipment packs).
Allocations of community dividend increased from NOK 200m in 2021 to NOK 250m in 2022. A total of 4,143 applications were processed in 2022, amounting in all to NOK 360m. Of these, 2,042 applications were granted. NOK 168m was allocated to non-profit causes in 2022.