KAA Gent is more than a football club. KAA Gent is an organization with a social purpose with a distinct social commitment: the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. Bringing together ans strengthen the community of Gent is our most important mission. The KAA GENT FOUNDATION is the connecting force of KAA Gent.
It has been eight years since KAA Gent announced the establishment of its football in the community department with the publication of its social charter. KAA Gent, the supporters’ federation, the city of Gent and Gent’s OCMW (Public Centre for Social Welfare) decided to join forces to realize this. In 2009 the non-profit organisation Voetbal in de Stad was founded as a unique public-private cooperation. Today the KAA GENT FOUNDATION is a well respected innovative force, both in Gent’s sports environment and in the local community. It is with pride we present you the most lauded CSR department in Belgian professional football.
The basic mission of the KAA GENT FOUNDATION is supporting and organizing social and emancipatory projects for underpriviliged groups. With the recruiting power of football, KAA Gent and the Ghelamco Arena, the KAA GENT FOUNDATION brings people together. We strengthen all sorts of skills people need to improve to be able to function in society.
KAA GENT develops and supports a large number of projects benefitting society, youth football and solidarity between the club, local residents and supporters. A few examples of community projects: the Buffalo Cup school football tournament, social football for the homeless (KAA Gent Homeless Blue White), employment care for psychiatric patients (Buffalo Bustels), campaigns against homophobia, discrimination, racism and much more.
The social activities from KAA GENT FOUNDATION are also reflected in the excellent accessibility of the stadium for people with a physical disability and our encouragement of sustainable supporter transport. Under the motto Velo Buffalo, around 2000 KAA Gent supporters arrive at the stadium by bike for every match.
KAA Gent Foundation delivers the following programmes:
- Buffallo Bustels: A social labour project for a group of psychiatric patients of the psychiatric centre of Gent-Sleidinge. The ‘Bustels’ learn to cooperate, plan, their capabilities are coached and their chances on the job market increase.
- KAA Gent Learning Centre: Wednesday afternoon children with learning difficulties go to class in the KAA Gent Learning Centre, with the help and guidance of students from the Artevelde Hogeschool in Gent. The football stadium is used as a powerful learning environment.
- Geestige Buffalo’s: The ‘Geestige Buffalo’s’ is a team for inhabitants of Ghent with psycho-social problems. In cooperation with the different services for mental health we lower the barrier for psychiatric patients to participate in sports.
- Beestige Buffalo’s: At the ‘Beestige Buffalo’s’ the Foundation works with homeless people, people who are part of assisted living projects, refugees, people who are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction and work with the football values of diversity, respect, friendship and fairplay.
- KAA Gent European Legends / Walking Football: The HT Gantoise Legends, the walking football team brings seniors together and allows them to stay active at their tempo, as running is not permitted.
- KAA Gent in Neighbourhood Programme: KAA Gent wants to assist in building a beautiful future for Nieuw Gent-Steenakker, the “neighbourhood area” of the Ghelamco Arena, through working with inhabitants and local organisations who are working to improve the neighbourhood.
- Elk Talent Telt (Every Talent Counts): In 2014, the city of Ghent and KAA Gent awarded an important role to the KAA GENT FOUNDATION in the support of youth football in Gent. 15 football clubs in Gent accepted the invitation of the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. Together they have one goal: creating a pleasant football environment in Gent where the well-being of the children and youngsters is key and where every young player (male or female) gets the opportunity to develop both on a personal and on a sportive level, because Every Talent Counts.
- Heritage: The KAA GENT FOUNDATION sees football as culture and just like sports, culture strengthens people and societies. Thus, cooperation with cultural initiatives are not unusual for the KAA GENT FOUNDATION. This way KAA Gent builds broad public working around KAA Gent. Focal point of this public working are the stadium guides: committed fans who voluntarily guide around 12.500 visitors in the Ghelamco Arena.
- More than football initiatives: The guidance of fans with a disability at every game is another task that is assigned to the community working. The Foundation cooperates with INTER VLAANDEREN for this task and actively works with initiatives working to make Belgian football stadiums more accessible for the disabled, in the Ghelamco Arena as well as in other stadiums.
- Open Stadium: The KAA GENT FOUNDATION guarantees the use of the Ghelamco Arena for non-profit initiatives and social projects. The publicly accessible spaces in the football compartment of the stadium can be used for non-commercial activities by third parties for a total of 15 days every year.