At the 26th Annual Burns Supper held on 28 January 2023 at the Corinthia Hotel we were delighted to announce that the 2022 Sponsor of the Year of the Robert Burns International Foundation was FirstMed. We caught up with Dennis Diokno, CEO and Founder of FirstMed Centers, to ask him about FirstMed’s connections with charity and the RBIF.

Please tell us a little bit about your company and its mission. How did you get involved in sponsoring the RBIF?

FirstMed (originally the American Clinic) began providing medical services to expats in Hungary nearly 25 years ago on February 15, 1999. It has always found charitable organizations to support. Approximately ten years ago, RBIF organized a fundraising activity that served as a kind of team-building event. It was through the Scottish sport of curling that we became more familiar with RBIF and its activities, eventually sending some people to the Burns Supper as a reward.‎.

What made you choose our organisation as a sponsorship opportunity? Were there any specific goals or values that aligned with FirstMed’s objectives?

We were impressed with RBIF’s efforts in supporting medical facilities. Its activities perfectly fit FirstMed and our company’s desire to give back to the community. One of the most significant factors in making RBIF a prime beneficiary of our charitable giving is its Board, which runs and manages the organization through volunteers. We appreciate that 100% of our financial support goes directly to the hospital we support!

As the Sponsor of the Year, what benefits have you gained from your partnership with our organization? 

The most significant benefit has been the opportunity to give back to the community most efficiently.

Sponsorship often involves a financial commitment. What advice would you give to other companies considering sponsoring similar organizations? 

RBIF and other organizations receive most of our financial support, but we still assist others when possible. While this support is often monetary, we also give in-kind contributions for raffles and auctions. Over the years, we have also had staff who have assisted organizations as volunteers. I would advise companies that can and want to support charitable organizations to find those that align with your company’s goals and employee’s interests. Equally important is to vet the organization thoroughly. Unfortunately, some charitable organizations have great intentions but spend a disproportionate amount of funds on administration.

Looking ahead, do you have any plans or goals for your continued involvement with our organization or similar sponsorship opportunities? How do you envision our partnership evolving in the future?

FirstMed will continue supporting RBIF in the long term. As our business continues to grow, we hope to increase our support.

Are there any specific projects, initiatives, or causes within our organization that you are particularly passionate about supporting? If so, could you explain why they resonate with you?

As FirstMed is a healthcare company, we focus on supporting medical causes, particularly those involving children. We are delighted that RBIF has directed our contributions to the pediatric department of the regional hospital in Zalaegerszeg.

How do you measure the success of your sponsorship efforts? Are there any key performance indicators or metrics you focus on to evaluate the impact of your involvement?

We mainly assess the effectiveness of our charitable giving by meeting with the organizations and, whenever possible, meeting with its beneficiaries. In the case of RBIF, we have visited the hospital in Zalaegerszeg and received updates from RBIF about using funds.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with our audience about your experience as the Sponsor of the Year or any message you would like to convey to other potential sponsors?

The FirstMed team was highly honored to be the Sponsor of the Year. Whenever possible, I encourage companies to consider supporting charitable organizations. For the reasons mentioned above, I recommend RBIF. It’s important to note that in addition to participating as a Nevis sponsor of the Burns Supper, FirstMed gives to RBIF through its SME program. This is an outstanding way for smaller companies to get involved.

The Robert Burns International Foundation has been fundraising for children’s hospitals in Hungary since 1998. The very first piece of equipment donated was an operating table, which was gifted to the 2nd Department of Paediatrics at Semmelweis University in Tűzoltó utca. The RBIF has continued this assistance every year since then.

We support other hospitals as well but why have we given continuous annual support to this hospital? The main reason is that the Tűzoltó utca hospital is one of the principal children’s hospitals not just in Budapest but for the whole of Hungary. Children needing special treatment are often transferred here from other hospitals, so it makes sense to help ensure this hospital has the equipment needed to offer the best available support for sick children in Hungary. This assistance is made possible as ever by our Burns Supper sponsors, and in 2022 our main sponsors included @bp, @Taxually and @FirstMed.

In conjunction with our medical adviser Professor György Fekete, former medical director of the 2nd Dept. of Paediatrics, this year we helped the department purchase a vitally important vital signs monitor along with pressure-relieving mattresses.

The Connex Spot Monitor features an easy-to-use, vivid touchscreen display and provides accurate vital signs measurement including blood pressure averaging, spot checking and interval monitoring. The device includes a choice of thermometry and/or pulse oximetry, connectivity and mounting/mobility options, providing up to 17 hours of on-time, alleviating the need to charge the monitor as frequently.

The Alerta Emerald Auto is a fully automatic weight-sensing, pressure-relieving mattress system with 5″ air cells for effective prevention and treatment of patients at high risk of developing pressure ulcers during long-term hospital stays. The pump has the latest cutting-edge auto weight-sensing technology, continuously adjusting interface pressures according to the patient’s weight.


This visit to the hospital also gave us the chance to properly thank Professor Fekete for his 25 years of medical advisory support he has given the RBIF. In recognition of his efforts he was declared our “Sponsor of the Year.”

At the 23rd Annual Burns Supper held on 25 January 2020 at the Corinthia Hotel we were delighted to announce that the 2019  Sponsor of the Year of the Robert Burns International Foundation was bp. We caught up with Jamie Anderson, Regional Director, Europe Global Business Services for bp, and asked him about bp’s connections with charity and the RBIF.

How important is corporate social responsibility to bp?

Giving back to local communities where we live and work, while doing something really tangible and helpful: this is bp’s community investment in action. Our five people aims cover clean energy, a just energy transition and sustainable ‎livelihoods, respect for human rights, greater equity and enhanced wellbeing. ‎They focus on how we think bp can make the biggest difference‎.

You have been a long-standing supporter of the RBIF. What prompted you to partner up in the first place?

I have been in contact with RBIF for a long time and I highly appreciate the charity work the foundation is doing. Supporting children in need is a cause very close to my heart and I’m proud our company has become your top sponsor in 2019. Any time you can make a positive impact in a young life can only be a good thing!

How does bp benefit from its association with the RBIF and its charity activities?

We believe in continuous learning and best practice sharing. RBIF – especially the Burns Supper – gives us the opportunity to network, to understand other companies’ social investment strategy and to join forces even with market competitors for a good cause. CSR is an important element of our employee value proposition as well: we want our staff (and future talent) to see we walk the talk.

What would you say to any other company that is considering sponsoring the RBIF and its work?

Supporting RBIF is a great way of doing social investment: one can make sure that the donation / sponsorship fee goes to places that need it the most. The nursery renovation in Istenmezeje and in Budapest district 18 (Gyöngyvirág children’s home), the Bethesda children’s hospital support and other charity projects speak for themselves. I also have huge respect for RBIF and the passion they bring in doing the right thing for the greatest impact.  Do not hold back in supporting! 

The 2018 Sponsor of the Year of the Robert Burns International Foundation was Budapest Airport. We talked to Kam Jandu, Chief Commercial Officer, to find out more about their CSR activities.

How important is corporate social responsibility to Budapest Airport?

It is fundamentally important to BUD for many reasons.  For example, being one of the largest single site employers in Hungary (supply chain wise, we have almost 11000 people), we have a huge responsibility towards society and in particular the local community where a sizeable chunk of our workforce comes from. Moreover, aviation is associated rightly or wrongly with environmental issues and of course noise related matters which is why we invest considerable time and energy with multiple stakeholders to both educate but also to listen to any concerns related to our sector.

You have been a long-standing supporter of the RBIF. What prompted you to partner up in the first place?

Kam Jandu, CCO, Budapest Airport

I was an invited guest one particular year to the Burns Supper and was pleasantly surprised by the occasion, calibre of guests, sense of community and above all the work of the foundation which was clear for all to see.

How does Budapest Airport benefit from its association with the RBIF?

In addition to bringing some aviation-related clients to the annual Burns Supper which is a wonderful evening in itself, we also found some great projects last year which talked to the ideas which are important for BUD from a CSR perspective, whilst still generating significantly to the RBIF. As the airport is located across districts 17 and 18 it is important for us to work with local causes in partnership with the RBIF. Two such projects in 2019 included a Children’s Home namely Gyöngyvirág and a children’s ward at the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky hospital.

What would you say to any other company that is considering sponsoring the RBIF and its activities?

I would wholeheartedly encourage it, because not only do you get considerable corporate benefit when helping a great cause, the level of personal satisfaction is also highly significant too.  We are proud of our association with RBIF and look forward to continuing to work with them on mutually beneficial contracts.

The Generali Foundation has been active for almost 25 years. What were the reasons for its establishment?

The foundation was brought to life with the goal of mitigating the risks that we saw in the insurance sector, to enhance people’s safety. Thus the foundation’s primary goals have been set to support road safety, health preservation, healing and rescue activities, as well as the protection of children. These goals have not changed since 1995, we work with our own initiatives as well as co-operating with partners that are active in these areas.

Generali and the RBIF teamed up to a significant extent in 2018. What prompted Generali to get involved with the work of the RBIF in the first place?

The pioneer was one of our colleagues, Eszter Balázs, who had long been supporting the RBIF and has also involved her clients in the gesture of helping, by offering a certain part of her income from each insurance policy. That innovative way of inclusion in a collective charitable move prompted us to get to know more about the foundation and we found its goals very much in common with ours.

What does Generali benefit from its connection to the RBIF?

We believe that companies working in a professional business environment have a responsibility to help social initiatives with both our knowledge and resources. I think the members of the RBIF demonstrate a best practice in terms of how we can team up to help make an impact on those in need, especially in the health sector.

Looking ahead, what are your future charity-related plans?

As deputy CEO of the insurance company, I would like to mention our global The Human Safety Net community initiative, focused on helping new-born babies who are born with asphyxia, a condition of scarce oxygen during birth. We are working together with hospitals, civil organisations and parents to help these families.

What would you say to any other company that is considering sponsoring the RBIF and its activities?

We were more than satisfied to have been able to contribute to the RBIF’s goal to provide special monitors for the Péterfy Sándor children’s hospital’s neonatal department to help prematurely born babies get even better care.  We highly respect the foundation’s restless ambition to help where it is most needed

Nick, PwC has been by the side of the RBIF for many years now, from the beginning in fact. What made PwC get involved in the first place?

PwC has always been conscious of our responsibility to the communities we work in. If I recall correctly one of our pioneering Partners Mike Birch OBE saw the opportunity for us to use our professional services to support a very noble and important cause and we have been proud to be associated with RBIF as a firm and personally as Partners ever since.

After so many years of support it was an obvious choice for us to make PwC our “Sponsor of the Year” at the Burns Supper in 2017. This meant you received the trophy from our Honorary President Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester. Can you describe your experience at Old Trafford that day?

I can only describe our trip to Manchester as the experience of a lifetime. Zoltán Magyar is a legend at Old Trafford, respected by so many there, and he ensured that this was a weekend never to forget. They say you should never meet your heroes, that is definitely not correct with respect to Sir Alex! He really is a special human being, not just in terms of his achievements but also as someone truly down to earth and engaging. The hour he spent with us was simply incredible, full of stories of family and friends and laughter. His friendship with Zoltán, respect for Ferenc Puskás and support for the RBIF clearly shines through.

PwC played a crucial role in the projects of the RBIF in 2016 with a significant donation. Why is the RBIF one of your chosen charities and what does PwC benefit from the partnership?

It is impossible not to be touched by the work RBIF does for children. Our firm recognizes the responsibility we have to the families of our staff and can see no better way to make a meaningful contribution than by donating to where our support impacts children directly. RBIF facilitates that in a way that few others can.

The RBIF clearly aligns with PwC’s CSR initiatives. What would you say to any other Hungarian or multinational business considering sponsorship of the RBIF in the future?

For any company wanting to make a difference for those who really matter then the RBIF is a great partner in making that happen.

Deloitte has been supporting the RBIF for a good few years now. How did it start?

We at Deloitte Hungary have been focusing on corporate social responsibility for a long time, and our commitment to efforts serving the public good dates back over 13 years. In this spirit, we were delighted to start a cooperation with the Robert Burns International Foundation in 2013, having been impressed with the focus of the  foundation while attending the Burns Supper that year. The Curatorium and the organisation both operate on a pro bono basis, which allows us to provide support in the most effective form possible.

Deloitte was selected as Sponsor of the Year at the Burns Supper in 2016, meaning you were able to meet Honorary President Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester. Putting aside your allegiances as a Liverpool fan, how was your day?

My son and myself have fond memories of that day as I can safely say that our visit to Manchester was a memorable experience for both of us, all the more so because the trip was intended as a special birthday present for my son Ciaran. The eventful day that lay ahead made up for our exhausting early flight: it was really humbling to meet Sir Alex, to  get to know him in person and to spend quality time in his company. It was inspiring to see how proud he is of his Scottish roots and how devoted he is to the foundation. Meeting Frank Stapleton and Sammy McIlroy, two of the football legends of my youth, was also an unforgettable experience. After the game, another surprise was in store for us at the hotel: we received a visit from Hungarian international goalkeeper Ádám Bogdán with whom we spent a really pleasant evening. Also, Sir Alex, Ádám Bogdán and Zoltán Magyar gave some helpful advice to my son regarding football, so the trip was a truly memorable experience for both of us.

A successful partnership is a win-win situation for both sides. What does the RBIF offer you and why do you support the foundation?

The main factor we at Deloitte Hungary focus on in terms of corporate social responsibility is effectiveness. Our goal is to make an impact that matters, and this ambition guides us not only in business activities, but also in our charity initiatives. This is why we consider effectiveness to be the key to success for the organisations we support, since the progress made in terms of social issues reflects how successful our efforts were. We are proud to contribute to the efforts of the Robert Burns International Foundation as well.

How does the RBIF’s activity fit in with your company’s CSR initiatives? Which aspects of the RBIF would you recommend to others considering sponsorship?

Our sponsorship efforts focus on helping sick and underprivileged children and our corporate social responsibility scheme is centred mainly on these topics. This was also the case at the start of our cooperation in 2013 and the activities of the foundation were closely aligned with Deloitte Hungary’s charity efforts. As a result of its impressive work, the Robert Burns International Foundation has provided several hundred thousand euros of support in Hungary in the last 20 years. They also support the activities of the 2 nd Dept. of Paediatrics in Tűzoltó utca and the Children’s Hospital in Péterfy Sándor utca in Budapest, as well as the children’s hospitals in Orosháza and Gyula. They also help the lives of orphans, supporting a children’s home in Szekszárd. We are delighted to be a part of this amazing charity work through our sponsorship of the foundation.    

Ingo, you’re not a stranger to football yourself having played at a high level before embarking on your career with Mercedes-Benz. What did you think of the whole match-day experience at Old Trafford and meeting the RBIF’s honorary president Sir Alex Ferguson?

The entire trip was just fantastic. I was very lucky, since I got to see the derby: Man U vs Man City ….wow, what an atmosphere in and around the stadium. I could sense the importance of soccer for the entire city. And of course meeting with the living legend Sir Alex was an unforgettable experience. Chatting with him in a relaxed atmosphere, over a glass of wine, about soccer, the past and the future of Man U, was definitely one of the most memorable moments in my life……

Mercedes-Benz played an instrumental role in supporting the RBIF’s projects in 2015, what prompted you to sponsor the Foundation among all the other charitable initiatives you have? What value does the RBIF provide?

I was a guest at the RBIF dinner in 2013 and I was touched by the passion, the hard work and the love the people behind the RBIF put in to support children and their families in need. I felt that the projects that the foundation supports are making a real difference to the lives of the children that are benefitting from the RBIF. And if we as Mercedes-Benz and Evobus can add to that, I am very happy. I am also a father. And not least as a father, I am very happy to see that – for example with the support of the children’s hospitals in Budapest – the RBIF brings hope and happiness to a lot of children’s lives.

If you were to recommend the Robert Burns International Foundation to Hungarian and multinational businesses in Hungary as a vehicle for their Corporate Social Responsibility activities, which aspects of the RBIF’s operations would you highlight?

To act socially responsibly is the duty of any successful corporation. And of course there are many foundations that are worthwhile being supported. As I mentioned before, the RBIF convinced me personally because of the passion of the people behind it and the great projects that the foundations supports. The fact that the RBIF also provides a great networking platform was not a decisive factor for me, but it is without doubt a benefit that any corporation can utilize for further growth.

On Sunday, 9 February 2014 at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, the Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy was presented for the 7th time to the Robert Burns International Foundation’s Sponsor of the Year. Despite retiring in May 2013 from his post as manager, Sir Alex Ferguson has continued his role as Honorary President of the RBIF, and in recognition of the ongoing support provided every year by the Corinthia Hotel, this year he presented the trophy to Thomas Fischer, General Manager of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.

The delegation from the Foundation were honoured to be accompanied by Mrs Erzsébet Puskás, wife of the late Ferenc Puskás, arguably Hungary’s most famous and most skilled footballer, whose name adorns the RBIF’s sponsor of the year trophy.


The match was played was against Fulham and despite a confident start the home team found themselves a goal down at half-time. Not renowned for giving up, Manchester United turned the match around in the space of 2 minutes, and found themselves leading 2-1 with 15 minutes to go. Yet the visitors were not for giving up either, and scored in the second-last minute of injury time, thus bringing to an end the RBIF’s track record of always having seeing the home team win. There’s always next year!

Robert Burns International Foundation-Charity for Sick and Underprivileged Children

Interview with Thomas Fischer, General Manager of Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

Thomas, as a lifelong Bayern Munich fan, what were your impressions of your visit to Old Trafford, meeting Sir Alex and the whole match day experience?

First of all I have to say, to re-live the 1999 Champions League final that you prepared for me was an “interesting” experience. Apart from that I was greatly impressed by Sir Alex and enjoyed my time at Old Trafford tremendously. Thank you for all the great effort you put in to make it happen!

The Corinthia Hotel has been a staunch supporter of the Robert Burns International Foundation for many years, and 2014 saw the 17th Annual Budapest Burns Supper in the magnificent Grand Ballroom of your hotel. How important do you find the hotel’s association with the Foundation?

We have been actively supporting the foundation now for many years as we believe in mutually rewarding long-term commitment and loyalty towards our partners. Having seen the foundation and the interest in the Supper itself grow so much over the years, it makes us feel proud and gives us reassurance to having stood by the right partner over this period of time.

Having lived in Hungary for two years now, what is your opinion of the work of the RBIF in Hungary, and how do you see fundraising here compared with Germany for example?

The foundation gives back a little of what life has taken out, however I feel the work of the foundation here is to be valued even higher than in more developed countries in Europe, Germany for instance.

If you were to recommend the Robert Burns International Foundation to Hungarian and multinational businesses in Hungary as a vehicle for their Corporate Social Responsibility activities, which aspects of the RBIF’s operations would you highlight?

I certainly would highlight the spirit of the foundation with its high values of integrity and trust.

On Saturday, 2 March 2013, the Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy was presented for the 6th time to the Robert Burns International Foundation’s Sponsor of the Year on the hallowed turf at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. This year, RBIF Honorary President Sir Alex Ferguson presented the trophy to Stewart Miller, a proud Scot with strong footballing traditions, and who unknowingly was the initial driving force behind the trophy itself (see interview below).

The match on 2 March was against Norwich City and was played, as usual, in front of a full house of 75,000 people. The RBIF is traditionally good mascot for the Red Devils as never has the delegation from the Foundation seen the home lose. This year was no different as a hat trick from Shinji Kagawa along with a 25-yard screamer from Wayne Rooney made sure the lucky streak continued.

Robert Burns International Foundation-Charity for Sick and Underprivileged Children

Stewart, the Puskás Ferenc – Sir Alex Ferguson trophy started out as a small gift from you to Mrs Puskás after Ferenc died. What was the original thought behind the gift?

My father and grandfather were both at Hampden in 1960 to watch the Real Madrid v Eintracht Frankfurt European Cup Final. Now regarded as one of the best football matches ever, Real Madrid won 7-3 and Puskas scored 4 goals. I grew up in a football family and the mens’ discussions were always about football. Ferenc Puskas was spoken about almost daily in our household. So much so that when I was a child I thought he was a relative! I assumed he was my uncle. Therefore at a very young age an emotional attachment formed between myself and the Little General. The trophy was a small token from myself and the football fans of Scotland, to let Mrs Puskas know he was very much loved in Scotland. Part of his appeal was the fact that he was not built like some Olympian Athlete. But he could certainly play football!!!

Now your name is on the trophy alongside all the previous winners, can you sum up what the day at Old Trafford meant for you?

The Old Trafford day was one of the best experiences of my life. I am very honoured to be named on this trophy, along with organisations like Diageo, Vodafone and Tesco. I thoroughly enjoyed the company I was in too. I think Hungarians and Scottish people are very similar. We share a great sense of humour. Meeting Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest football manager of all time, was also amazing. The icing on the cake was during the stadium and museum tour when I found out that my great uncle, Thomas Miller, played for Manchester United in the 1920’s. 

How important do you find the work of the RBIF in Hungary and the current intensive-care unit appeal?

Firstly it’s amazing that we have the Robert Burns International Foundation based in Hungary. Robert Burns and his works really do have global appeal. I think the work the RBIF is doing is very important and it is also a very worthwhile cause, assisting children. I think helping children in any way we can is very important, because they are our future. It is vital for children to know that there are people and organisations out with their families, who care about their health and wellbeing. Robert Burns would have been very, very proud of the work and achievements of the RBIF.

Most of the fundraising over the years so far has been Hungary-based, do you think there is scope for strengthening links between Scotland and Hungary in this area?

There is definite scope for strengthening links between Scotland and Hungary in this area. For example, recently a friend of mine was over in Budapest to launch one of his whisky books. This friend speaks at Burns Suppers all over the world. When I told him about the RBIF he was very interested, because he did not know of its existence. When he found out more he got very excited and he has asked his partners in Budapest to follow this up. This is just one small example of the potential. I now see myself as an unofficial ‘ambassador’ for the RBIF. I will try to identify some of the Scottish (and UK) companies that view Hungary as a key export market. This I think will be a sensible start for me to try to identify further potential sponsors.