A group of citizens in Turin founds the Compagnia di San Paolo. Among their main goals: helping the needy and protecting the catholic cult threatened by the reform. Charity activities consisted primarily of home care for the poor, and for impoverished nobles and bourgeois who could not beg on the street. The Compagnia identified the people in need by collecting information and visiting the dwellings of the poor.
1579 marked the start of a free loans on pawn scheme designed to prevent the most vulnerable people from falling prey to usury.
On 14 May 1595, Ufficio Pio is established to distribute dowries to poor girls. The grants arise from the income of a fund established and invested to this end.
Soon the Compagnia extended its activities to the area of assistance to women by opening the Casa del Soccorso delle Vergini, subsequently converted into an educational institution, such as the Casa del Deposito, founded by the Compagnia in 1683, to provide shelter to women of any condition seek a way out of a “situation of dishonesty”.
In a few years’ time, Ufficio Pio takes over the management of all the charitable activities of the Compagnia, including the subsidies for the “shameful” poor, assistance to the beggars and the sick, religious services, the distribution of dowries, the payment of rescue shelter fees.
1612 sees the beginning of the distribution of alms to the “shameful poor” .
In the second half of the century, thanks to contributions from private donors, the funds available to Ufficio Pio begin to increase. Besides the dowries, Ufficio Pio periodically distributes clothes to poor girls and pays for the funeral services of deceased members and donors.
Compagnia di San Paolo is abolished in 1802 by the French republican government. In 1815, with the Restoration, it is reinstated and Ufficio Pio resumes its activities.
On the express wish of king Vittorio Emanuele II, Opere Pie di San Paolo, then converted into Istituto di San Paolo for the management of assets, is established. The new organisation carries on and extends the activities of Ufficio Pio and the activities of Educatorio Duchessa Isabella (as Case del Soccorso e del Deposito were renamed in 1883), which provides a full course of study – from elementary school to high schools degree – to young women. Istituto San Paolo undertakes initiatives in the area of vocational and technical education, social housing, healthcare.
On account of its significant role in the economy of the Country, in 1932, San Paolo is given the status of public credit institution.
Since the end of World War II, Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino has experienced a rapid growth at national and international levels, to become one of the most important groups operating in Europe, and the social promotion activities to which Istituto San Paolo allocates an appreciable share of its operating profit have grown accordingly.
Birth of the “Borsa Lavoro” programmes in favour of the unemployed and various educational programmes in favour of school-age minors.
With law 218 of 1990 (the so-called “Amato Carli law”) and its subsequent amended versions, Compagnia San Paolo becomes a bank-related foundation and Ufficio Pio becomes a charitable foundation established under private law.
The Ufficio Pio San Paolo Volunteers Association is established in the year 2000. Two years later, Ufficio Pio is granted the status of NPO (i.e., socially useful non profit organisation) and foreign nationals are included among the recipients of its services.
Charitable activities are extended to persons serving jail sentences (2003). In 2007, the programmes start to address the theme of preventing and promoting a person’s self-sufficiency. New initiatives get underway in favour of socially vulnerable individuals, homeless people, young university students.
Ufficio Pio adopts an innovative approach commonly referred to as “second welfare”, a mix of privately funded protective measures and social investments that supplemtn and interact with public welfare programmes, remeding shortcomings in terms of financial coverage and types of service offered.
2015 marks the adoption of new Bylaws.
Vuoi conoscere a fondo la storia della Compagnia di San Paolo? Compila il form apposito con un indirizzo per la spedizione: riceverai gratuitamente il libro “Tutte sono opere di questo Ufficio – L’Ufficio Pio della Compagnia di San Paolo: da quattro secoli vicino alle persone”, di Simonetta Pozzati.
“Tutte sono opere di questo Ufficio”.