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Fondation de France promotes and strengthens the foundation sector to help it expand, become more professional and make its projects more international. So that all of the donors’ philanthropic endeavours can be implemented, we make every effort to ensure they are based on the most suitable legal and fiscal framework, and implement controls on ethics and transparency in order to do so.


To enhance its understanding of the environment in which it acts, Fondation de France has founded an Observatory to analyse and improve the understanding of the scope and mechanisms of private philanthropy. The Observatory publishes polls on French donation habits and is interested in all forms of research on donations and patronage.

Promoting unity and dialogue

Ever since its inception, Fondation de France has adopted an initiative based on research, information and cooperation. As such, the Foundation is involved in various professional bodies such as:

  • le comité de la Charte du don en confiance, France’s only private, independent body in place to audit ethics and transparency in charities,
  • The European Foundation Centre (EFC), in its capacity as spokesperson to European institutions,
  • France générosités, as the professional representative of private non-profit fundraisers to public authorities.

Giving Philanthropy a Human Face

Philanthropy remains a rather unknown phenomenon in France that is often met with skepticism. In order to help the public understand the various forms that a philanthropic project can take today, in 2013 Fondation de France published a “portrait of a philanthropist” every month in Le Monde. These illustrations of initiatives by men and women of varied backgrounds help give philanthropic engagement a human face and encourage others to follow their example.

Long reluctant to share their experiences out of discretion, more and more philanthropists who dedicate part of their wealth and time to the public interest now understand the importance of doing so. In order to encourage this trend, Fondation de France creates numerous opportunities for philanthropists to speak publicly about their work in the media and during events it organizes.

Giving Philanthropy a Human Face

Philanthropy with a Local Priority

Thanks to its seven regional offices, Fondation de France is able to match local needs with new philanthropic projects. In 2013, several events were organized in the French regions in order to promote the development of philanthropy. On November 19, the Bretagne chapter of the Fondation organized a conference in partnership with the Rennes office of the Franco-American Institute. The attendance of Robert J. Tate, U.S. Consul to Western France, allowed for a frank exchange of views on philanthropy in France and in the United States, a subject that drew considerable interest.

On November 28, Fondation de France organized a regional gathering of philanthropists in Lille, in partnership with BNP Paribas Nord de France and Mazars. This event shed light on the diversity and dynamism of philanthropic initiatives in the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Participants included Hervé Allard, CEO of Trénois Decamps, President of Lille ETI Club and Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce; André Dupon, Director of Vitamine T (social integration companies) and President of MOUVES; and Thérèse Lebrun, Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University of Lille.  250 people attended the event.

Philanthropy with a Local Priority

Portraits of Philanthropists Published in Le Monde

by Temperament
Jean-Marie Bruneau, Fondation JM.Bruneau

The adventure of JM.BRUNEAU began in 1953: to make a living, a young Jean-Marie, getting around on a bicycle, sold stencil binders to Parisian businesses. Eager to expand his reach, he successfully experimented with distance selling. The JM.BRUNEAU Company is poised to become the market leader in distance selling of office supplies. The businessman often says, provocatively, that the state was his 50% shareholding partner. This idea reflects his consciousness of the collective and his pride in contributing, through taxes, to the common good. In 1991, he created a foundation to help the needy. The redistribution of the profits drawn from JM.BRUNEAU adds, in his eyes, a social solidarity motive to the social and economic aspects of his company. After the sale of his company in 2001, he made a significant endowment to the foundation. Its income funds several hundred grassroots projects every year in several areas, such as support for the elderly and the disabled, social integration, housing, and youth health.

“Transforming money into social action” is at the core of this philanthropist’s philosophy, who remains steadfast in his beliefs. To do so, he receives advice from his eldest son Jean-Francois and from Fondation de France.

Runs in the Family
Sarah Chauleur Fondation Un Monde par tous

The Lescure family has several foundational stories: the Seb pressure-cooker was invented by the grand father; the family garden was regularly visited by homeless people who grew accustomed to the house’s limitless sense of Christian charity; the sense of duty of Patrick, an uncle who was the first to create a major foundation called “A World By All” (Un monde par tous). Sarah, one of the family’s 45 grandchildren, who is today a 42 year-old mother, was raised on the family philosophy.

As a student, she started a Ph.D. – no surprise – on the theme of donation; naturally, she began volunteering her time to people in need. Today, she is employed by Federactive, the family holding company, and is a member of the board of Seb Group. She works with her cousins to give social meaning to their role as shareholders by helping the group follow a long-term approach to the goal of sustainable development.

She is also very proud of having created, along with three relatives, the Premiere Pierre foundation in 2007.

This foundation gives between 130,000 and 200,000 euros a year to grassroots projects that foster the reintegration of the marginalized into society by strengthening social bonds. “Having money should not lead to isolating oneself from the outside world” she says. “I want my children to live in the real world. I want them to teach them that they are not alone on this planet.”

A Philanthropist
Off the Beaten Path
Patrick Dewavrin Fondation pour une maternité sans risque

Patrick Dewavrin is a psychiatrist who created the first French centers specializing in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (Les Villas d’Epidaure). Dr. Dwavrin is passionate about providing humane care to people suffering from serious behavioral disorders, understanding their internal lives, and training competent staff to assist them. This first experience of medical entrepreneurship gave him a penchant for challenges.

Heir to family wealth, he decided in 2000, with the support of his wife and three children, to create the Foundation for Safe Motherhood. The goal of the foundation is to fight maternal mortality in developing countries. In some areas of Africa, nearly one woman out of twelve dies during pregnancy or labor.

Endowed with a 150,000 euro annual budget, the foundation funds makeshift hospitals, maternity wards, and mobile medical teams, providing care to 6,000 people spread over 40 villages in Eastern Senegal. Using mobile medical teams is, in his view, the most innovative strategy to improve the sanitary conditions of these very poor populations. He is passionate about this “off the beaten path” medical care because it allows him to be at the center of finding solutions to 21st century development challenges.