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Botín Foundation, building for the future

The Fundación Marcelino Botín was created in 1964 by Marcelino Botín Sanz de Sautuola and his wife, Carmen Yllera, to promote social development in Cantabria.

Today, fifty years later and having kept its main focus on Cantabria, the Fundación Botín acts all over Spain and Latin America, contributing to the overall development of society by exploring new ways of detecting creative talent and supporting it to generate cultural, social and economic wealth.

Its Chairman is Javier Botín, who took over the office following the death of his father in September 2014, Mr Emilio Botín García de los Ríos, who had been the Chairman of the Fundación since 1993.

Institutional brochure (pdf)


The mission of the Fundación is to contribute to the overall development of society, detecting and supporting the creative talent within it and exploring new ways of generating cultural, social and economic wealth.

The Fundación Botín organises programmes in the realms of the arts and culture, education, science and rural development, and supports social institutions in Cantabria so as to reach those who need it the most. It has also created a Trends Observatory to gain in-depth knowledge of society and discover key factors to help generate wealth and guide development, which also drives talent detection and development programmes in the social and public sectors.

Its headquarters are in Santander, where it has an exhibition hall as well as El Promontorio and Villa Iris, two emblematic locations in the city used for institutional acts and holding exhibitions and workshops, respectively. Since 2012 it has offices in Madrid to cater for the growing demands of its activity.

The most important project of the Fundación is the Botín Centre, opened in Santander in June 2017. It is an art centre designed to generate social development and wealth, making the most of the potential of the arts to awaken our creativity. It has been designed by Pritzker Prize-winner architect Renzo Piano, in co-authorship with luis vidal + architects.

1. Four of its own action programmes in strategic areas to create wealth:

  • An Artistic and Cultural development programme. Because cultural development is essential for human development, while also generating social development. At its heart is a visual arts programme that centres on research in the area of the Spanish drawing, training through grants, scholarships and workshops, and promotion, with exhibitions that display the results of the training and research and make it possible to bring the work of international artists to the people of Santander. This programme also aims to preserve cultural heritage and includes a series of conferences and concerts.
  • And three economic development programmes:
    • Education. The Foundation works in more than 100 schools in Cantabria and cooperates with institutions and experts from all around the world to improve education for children and youths, enhancing the educational system with initiatives to develop creativity and social and emotional intelligence. This programme embodies a commitment to an educational model that promotes the healthy growth of children and youths, through the reinforcement of their talent.
    • Science. To improve the transfer of technology from basic research to the society. Since 2003 the Foundation has been working with some of the top biomedical research groups in Spain, on an ambitious programme designed to help researchers convert their ideas and discoveries into products and services that generate wealth.
    • Rural development. To generate ongoing and sustainable development in the rural world, drawing on the natural, cultural and human heritage of each region as its base. The Foundation has undertaken action in the Nansa valley, in Cantabria, where it carried out a systematic study of the resources and where it is now implementing a plan of action in collaboration with the public institutions, to promote economic and social development and to create an intervention model that can be applied in other places.

2. A Social Action programme that targets people and groups in Cantabria with urgent needs, providing them aid here and now.

3. And a Trend Observatory headquartered in Madrid. This is a meeting place envisaged to provide a deeper and more complete understanding of the social reality and to discover keys that serve to generate wealth and conduct its development. This Observatory explores any issue considered to be strategic in reaching that objective, and focuses its activity on education, science and the environment, placing particular emphasis on issues relating to water and energy management.

Moreover, from the Observatory, the Foundation carries out specific programmes that aim to detect and develop talent in the public, private and social sectors.

Letter from Chairman


Botín Foundation