MADRID, Spain, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Beginning in 2007, BBVA will dedicate more than $25 million dollars (20 million euros) to its Social Responsibility program in Latin America, focused on the education and social integration of children and youth. Francisco Gonzalez, the Group's Chairman, announced the program in Mexico during the VIII Latin American Meeting of the Third Sector. With this innovative plan, BBVA will dedicate more than 0.7% per annum of its profit in the region to social responsibility, representing an increase of 50% the investment allocated to this goal. "The plan reaffirms our commitment towards Latin America, where we want to have an active, positive role in the region's communities, contribute towards the creation of wealth and employment, and support development," Francisco Gonzalez affirmed today, upon announcing the launch of the Social Responsibility Plan. This ambitious plan was prepared over recent months in great detail by each one of the ten countries forming part of it. "Latin America's growing importance to the BBVA Group requires us to take a qualitative leap with Latin American communities and their most disadvantaged sectors," BBVA's chairman added. BBVA, the principal financial group in Latin America through an important presence in banks, pension managers and insurance companies, and more than 23 million clients in the region, is firmly committed to corporate responsibility policies in all markets where it does business. This commitment is embedded within its corporate culture and is summarized by the company's vision "BBVA, Working for a better future for people." A plan with a broad impact in 10 countries BBVA Group already has an important social responsibility program in Latin America, with a total investment of 12 million euros in 2005. Now it wishes to take a more ambitious leap, increasing its investment in the innovative social responsibility program by 50% in 2007, to more than 20 million euros (25 million dollars). Out of the total investment of 20 Mil euros in the Social Responsibility Plan, 14.6 Mil euros come from the BBVA Group's Latin American units, representing more than 0,7% of their profits, and the rest comes from BBVA headquarters in Spain. BBVA's Social Responsibility Plan is unique in that it is being implemented in a total of ten countries simultaneously: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela. The plan combines both a global and a local dimension, presenting a common central focus -- education for disadvantaged sectors -- and a set of general criteria for all countries. At the same time, the Group is focusing on the needs and most relevant problems in these Latin American educational systems. This program will immediately benefit students. Already in 2007, more than 16,000 children and youngsters will benefit from the various programs in the ten countries. The objectives of the Social Responsibility Plan are as follows: 1. Contribute greater social service 2. Contribute more effectively towards a better and closer relationship of the BBVA Group with Latin American community. 3. Strengthen the identity of our actions with regard to this subject matter in the area. As of now, affirmed Francisco Gonzalez, all social responsibility policies of BBVA Group's banks and foundations in Latin America will be governed by five criteria, constituting the Plan's essential nucleus: 1. Substantial increase of investment in social responsibility, dedicating each year at least 0.7% of local profit (this percentage corresponds to the demand of the United Nations Development Program). 2. Priority given to education which will make up 80% of the Group's social responsibility programs in Latin America, and concentration of the remaining actions in the fields of culture and humanitarian causes. 3. Training activities focused on basic- and middle level education and on infancy and adolescence. 4. Special attention to disadvantaged segments of the population. 5. Development of a principal, albeit not mimetic, action plan in all countries: BBVA Integration Scholarship Program. BBVA's Chairman affirmed that, "The Plan founded on the belief that investment in human capital meets the most appropriate characteristics for the BBVA Group. Human capital is the most powerful pillar in the development of any country, and also the most necessary long-term priority in Latin America. It is the principal field of action for cooperation between Spain and Latin America, in accordance with the strategy set at the latest Latin American Summits. It is also a priority clearly aligned with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, to which the BBVA Group wishes to contribute explicitly." Gonzalez explained the rationale behind the Plan. Finally, "it appears to us to be the tool for development and betterment of the future most clearly aligned with BBVA's Corporate Culture," said Francisco Gonzalez.