Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation
Elsa Peretti leaves her entire estate to charity
The world-renowned jewellery designer Elsa Peretti, who died on 18 March 2021, has appointed the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation in Vaduz as her universal heir, following her life-long principle to share with the disadvantaged what life had given her.
“The Foundation was established in 2000 and I dedicated it to the memory of my father Nando Peretti (1896 - 1977), a great Italian post-war entrepreneur who founded API (Anonima Petroli Italiana) and led it to become one of Italy's leading oil companies. Putting together a group of motivated people to create this foundation was the most important achievement of my life”, said Elsa in one of her last interviews with Ticino Welcome Switzerland in September 2020, to explain what her goal in life was.
In 2015 the Foundation was renamed the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, combining the name of Elsa with her father’s name in order to publicly acknowledge the deep bond between her and her father.
Elsa's elegant, sensual and organic creations changed 20th century jewelry design, revolutionizing trends and reintroducing sterling silver as a luxury material. Throughout her unprecedented career, she remained determined to use her own fortune to make the world a better place. She was the driving force and inspiration for a Foundation that supported 1171 projects in 80 countries around the world with some €66 million, achieving very concrete results together with partners in Italy where she was born, in Spain where she spent the last years of her life and across the globe where she had great success as a jewellery designer.
Among many, two of the more recent projects amplify Elsa’s willingness to support people in distress: A €3 million project to tackle the environmental emergency in the Amazon rainforest, with the aim of bringing offenders to justice but also supporting local indigenous communities to defend their land, as well as a €2 million emergency plan for the people of South Sudan, victims of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis resulting from years of civil war.
In other areas, dozens of schools, orphanages, hospitals, shelters for the homeless, for abused women, for abandoned children in every corner of the planet, are extremely grateful to the the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation.
Italy, Spain, the Holy See and the Order of Malta paid tribute to Elsa's generosity. Moreover, she received the following honours: Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic; Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta; Honorary member of the Circolo di San Pietro, the Pope's Charity for the Poor of Rome; the National Culture Award by the National Council for Culture and the Arts of Catalunya (CoNCA) in Spain.
Before her passing, Elsa had already chosen her successor to lead the Foundation Board in the person of Peter Schwendinger who explains: "Thanks to the significant inheritance from Elsa Peretti we will be able to expand our charitable activities in Elsa's spirit. We will continue to invest in emergency aid projects and increasingly in international, long-term philanthropy projects. In the future, the foundation's focus will be on the environment, animal welfare, human rights and the promotion and preservation of culture and the arts.“
When asked what, in her long career as a jewellery designer, had been the most beautiful piece of jewellery she had created, she always replied: “my Foundation - the most precious gem I’ve held close to my heart.”
“I would like to be remembered not only for my work as an independent designer for Tiffany, but also for contributing to this urgent need to preserve the health of the planet and the defence of human rights” she said in her interview to Mujer Hoy in July 2020.
Going forward the Foundation will be determined to preserve her legacy by using the newly bestowed means in continuing to support meaningful projects that will touch many people’s lives and honour the memory of Nando and Elsa Peretti.
Her generosity will touch many people well beyond her lifetime.
© Carola Polakov (Picture of Elsa Peretti)
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