Social Impact Innovation Project “Luci nel Parco”

Social Impact Innovation Project “Luci nel Parco”

Investing in social to create economic development and social inclusion

“Luci nel Parco” (Lights in the Park): developing social impact without spending public or philanthropic money

“Social impact innovation” has gradually become a very hip and overused formula: now everything seems to be social innovation, just like everything seems to be social impact investing.“Social impact innovation” has gradually become a very hip and overused formula: now everything seems to be social innovation, just like everything seems to be social impact investing.
Obviously, it’s not the case. And in order to avoid the risk that such abuse of words may ruin their true meaning and potential, Fondazione Etica tried to actually develop a project according to the social impact innovation principles: it took the burden of experimenting it, in order to realize what represents a new way of thinking social politics and economic development.
“Luci nel Parco” was born here, from an idea, development and promotion by Fondazione Etica, with its final goal being the standardization of the process and the opportunity to make the real social impact investing development possible again.

The project: innovation, activity, loan, impact
“Answering the growing social needs with innovative tools”: this is how Don Enzo Capitani, director of Caritas and president of LU.C.I. Aps, explained the innovative features of the social impact investment project “Luci nel Parco” during the press conference in Grosseto last September, together with the majority of institutional subjects and adhering memberships.
The project, conceived by Fondazione Etica along with Caritas, Regione Toscana and Confindustria Toscana Sud, is inspired to the 2016 Third Sector Reform, and it aims to transcend the helpful logic of traditional social politics, in order to try and fulfill the needs before they become evident, which means acting on causes instead of consequences.
“Luci nel Parco” plans the regeneration of an unused real estate inside the “Parco naturalistico della Maremma”, entrusted in concession with public notice, with the purpose of social integration and economic development.

What are the differences from the past?

“LUCI has all the innovation traits of the social impact development” explains Paola Caporossi, founder of Fondazione Etica. Among them: the multistakeholder feature of the promoting subject, the intentionality of producing a measurable and wide-ranging social impact, the innovative way of financing, the replicability, and the development of local agencies’ administrative capacity.

“LUCI was not conceived to recreate another nice social project, among the multitude that our Country already has – underlines Don Enzo Capitani – but to become a new model of making social politics”.

The goal – underlines Riccardo Breda, president of CCIAA – is to produce a benefit for the whole community: thanks to the “innovative synergy between the credit system, social operators and institutions, it enables not only the recovery of community spaces, but also the creation of an effectively innovative third sector business model, able to contribute positively on the local economic system”.

The principal activity that will come out from the project is sustainable restaurants, insisting the real estate on the regional farm’s ground. The bio-tavern will be run by the Social Cooperative “Solidarietà è Crescita”, which will produce jobs for “problematic” subjects and also generate a return: a little percentage of this will nourish a fund for future impact projects. “The inspiring principle – the promoters explain – is that who received, has the moral duty to donate and invest on the community”.

The second activity is music: young people – but not only young – will be able to exploit rehearsal rooms and even to play at the bio-tavern show area at evening. “In exchange” explains Giovanna Ciniero, vice-president of LU.C.I. Aps – “they commit, according to the same inspiring principle we have discussed before, to teaching a musical instrument to those who cannot afford a music course”.

The third activity is formative and cultural: a school that will teach to public administrators, volunteers, profit and non-profit organizations how to develop social impact investments projects, with the support of local associations.

But how will the project be financed, until the delivery of regenerated spaces for the aforesaid 3 activities?

With no public money. There will be private savings instead: citizens from all over Italy that have chosen not to do “charity”, in the classical sense of the term, but to devote a small part of their profit for the Luci project and activities.


A local bank has intervened as a private financial partner, inspiring itself to the recent norms about Third Sector. “It is a deposit account – Bugli explains – that everybody can subscribe with denominations from 1000 euros up. The subscriber receives a semi-annual coupon, of which a percentage is devoted to Luci by way of donation, also receiving a tax benefit.” The semi-annual donations of all subscribers will cover Luci’s financial plan, prudently estimated around three hundred thousand euros for turnkey delivery and the start of the project.