HRF Constitution


The Humanitarian Relief Fund (HRF), previously known as the Natural Disaster Fund

(NDF), was founded in ESTEC with the purpose to offer its working community the possibility

of helping people in distress. The HRF has also a specific value to catalyse the solidarity of staff

members and their families willing to make charitable donations while away from their home


Thus the HRF plays a valuable role in channelling the goodwill of its international membership to

help lesser privileged groups.

The HRF has two main objectives:

I. To maintain a permanent Fund with the purpose of providing prompt financial contributions to

recognised humanitarian organisations to help save lives and/or relieve human suffering resulting

from major natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, cyclones etc).

II. To provide support to humanitarian projects, aimed at co-operation for development and for

the relief of human suffering.

Such projects may arise from natural or preventable longer term causes such as drought,

deforestation, desertification or climate change etc. This type of support can be in the form of

financial donations, in kind by means of material supplies or by supporting personal (volunteer)

participation. The Committee may decide to support projects which have aims such as:

• building and restoring community capacity to the point where they can become self sufficient

to continue their own development,

• supporting local NGOs capacity to respond to emergencies and humanitarian needs,

• developing research means and information distribution capability to provide an early

warning system for emerging or future emergencies,

• improving the conditions and prospects of socially vulnerable or underprivileged groups

and communities.

The HRF contributions are made irrespective of geographical, political, racial or religious


The HRF prioritises support for projects which are locally sustainable and encourage the

autonomy and self-determination of the affected groups.


The Humanitarian Relief Fund (HRF) is affiliated to the ESTEC Sports, Social and Cultural

Committee (SSCC). It consists of:

• HRF Members

        •HRF Committee


2.1 HRF Members

The HRF Fund depends on voluntary contributions from active and retired ESA staff and

contractors, and their family members.

HRF Members are by definition all regular contributors to the Fund.

Donations are made by deposit or transfer into the Funds bank account.

Donations remain anonymous unless otherwise agreed between the Fund Committee and a

contributor for special cases (e.g. exceptional donations for which the Fund wishes to thank the

contributor publicly or among the Fund Members).

Members are informed about the Fund activities through the HRF Web Site, by email broadcasts

and by poster campaigns.

Each HRF Member has one vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or any extraordinary

meeting called by the committee. Voting can be either in person or remotely by mail/email.

For any decision requiring membership consensus a simple majority of votes cast applies at

General Meetings, with the exception of proposed amendments to the Constitution which require

a 2/3 majority of votes cast. Votes may be cast in person by those at the meeting or by mail or

email for those not able to attend.

Members who stop making regular contributions for more than one calendar year shall

automatically cease to be members.

2.3 HRF Committee

The HRF Committee of maximum ten (10) Members is elected every year at the General

Meeting of HRF Members. The elected Members appoint among themselves a:

• Chairman,

• a Secretary

• a Treasurer.

The Committee is responsible to the HRF Members and Contributors for initiating and carrying

out the executive procedures, general management and promotion/extension of the Fund.

The HRF members are encouraged to participate and support the activities of the Fund. A

dynamic and effective Fund depends on the effort applied by its members.

The running of the Fund is done on a voluntary basis and is not remunerated. The Committee

needs to have enough members that can offer their free time to properly run the Fund.

2.4 Annual General Assembly

The HRF shall hold once per year an Annual General Assembly meeting, the purposes of which

shall be to:

a) Report to the members the status of the fund and its activities over the past year.

Reporting shall be in the form of a Chairman and Treasurers reports,

b) Elect a new committee,

        c)Conduct any other business, for which approval of the membership is necessary,

d) Present, discuss and agree the Committee objectives for the next term.

3. HRF procedures

The HRF requires the execution of specific procedures in response to requests for support.

The HRF procedures cover the selection process, the transfer of funds or support in kind to

humanitarian organisations and the monitoring of the results.

The procedures are developed, maintained and executed by the HRF committee.

The procedures are annexed to the constitution and are published on the HRF Web site.


4.1 Resources of the HRF mainly come from periodic or one-off donations into the Fund bank

account. The amounts and origins of the donations are known only by the Treasurer, the

Chairman and the bank, and kept strictly confidential.

4.2 Other resources include profits from Fund-raising events (social evenings, SSCC Club

events, etc.) possible contributions from institutions, and interest accrued from the accounts, etc.

4.3 The Fund has a current account and a savings account with the bank at ESTEC. Withdrawals

of HRF Funds are made by the Treasurer (or by the chairman as default) after Committee

approval. Simple majority voting applies in the Committee, with the Chairman having the

casting vote.

4.4 The HRF is run on a voluntary basis. Costs of running the Fund will be kept to a minimum

and will not exceed 5% of the Fund.

4.5 A report of Fund activities by the Chairman and a report of the accounts by the treasurer are

yearly released and submitted to the General Assembly, and subsequently published on Fund

web site.


If satisfactory conditions for operation of the Fund cease to be guaranteed, the General Assembly

can decide to dissolve the Fund following the same procedure as for changes to the constitution.

In this event:

1. Fund Members (where possible) will be individually informed so they can either order to

redirect their contributions towards other charities or to cancel them.

2. Any balance of the Fund will be transferred in equal parts to the accounts of the charities

designated by the Committee, selected preferably from the proven reliable organisations

and following the standard objectives of the Fund.


Any proposals for changes to the constitution must be proposed jointly by at least three HRF

Members and may be sent in writing to the Committee Secretary at any time, but no later than

two weeks, before a General Assembly. Following acceptance of a proposal for consideration by

simple majority of the HRF committee, the proposal shall be put to the membership either at the

General Assembly, at an Extraordinary General Assembly or by postal/email vote.