Notre Histoire

About us

Our history

The foundation for every cause

The Fondation de France was set up in 1969, on the initiative of André Malraux and General de Gaulle. At the time, only 250 foundations existed in France, compared with 15,000 in the United States. Directly inspired by the American model of private sponsorship, the Fondation de France was created to encourage and manage all “benevolent initiatives” from the public sector. The Fondation de France was designed as an intermediary between the general interest and private funds: a truly modern tool of philanthropy.​

Establishing a major general interest foundation

Created by decree, the Fondation de France appeared during an era in which the tax system was unfavorable to foundations. Michel Pomey, an advisor in the cabinet of André Malraux, wrote an unequivocal report on France’s deficiency in the area of philanthropy in comparison with America’s dynamism. The decision was thus made to create a major general interest foundation inspired by American community foundations in order to provide real momentum for all forms of private sponsorship.

Commissioned to develop philanthropy in France, the Fondation de France became a sort of experimental laboratory to support all forms of benevolent initiative. It collected funds to be allocated to charitable organizations and undertook action in all fields of general interest including solidarity, health, art and education.

An increasingly involved civil society

The 1970s were a time of social liberation in France: May 1968 events, the legalization of abortion in 1974, co-education in public schools in 1976, etc. These social transformations profoundly changed the face of civil society.

This period also marked the end of the “Trente Glorieuses” 30-year period after the end of the Second World War and saw the first economic crisis caused by the oil shock, mass unemployment, social problems, etc. Companies gradually became aware of their social responsibility.

These trends continued throughout the following decade, and the boundaries between the State, charitable organizations and foundations began to be redefined. The 1990s confirmed this societal change with the emergence of AIDS and the birth of Sidaction, a major event during which the Fondation de France managed the allocation of all funds raised. Today, emerging societal issues such as social division, insecurity, social integration and unemployment lie at the heart of our work.

Being aware of needs to be better prepared

During the 1990s, the Fondation de France began committing to research programs in cancer, Parkinson’s disease, genetic diseases, etc. In an entirely different area, the Fondation de France is leading the way with its education program Rouletaboule, which encourages waste sorting and raises awareness of recycling. This program is a perfect example of our role as a scout, able to detect early signals and future needs.

Emergency situations

The Fondation de France does not limit its action to French territory. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, it launched the Solidarité Haïti program to provide aid to the population. Once over in 2014, it enabled the Fondation de France to collect 35 million euros, which financed 370 projects involving reconstruction, refurbishment and the creation of economic organizations over a five-year period.

Meet needs as closely as possible

The Fondation de France leads a network of volunteer experts across the entire national territory. They identify inadequately addressed needs in order to determine the priority fields of action, and then select the best projects.

Usually, these projects are initiated by grassroots organizations that are involved at the level of a street or a neighborhood.

As the leading private supporter of local organizations, we encourage their capacity for innovation and help to fund their action over the long term.

- Since 1997, 30 youth health centers have been created with help from the Fondation de France and over 2,000 projects have received support;

- Since 2011, the Fondation de France has supported 51 projects for a total of 4.5 million euros across all seaboards in mainland France and in French overseas departments and territories;

- Since 2010, we have flagged and financed, alongside the Ministry of Education, over 263 projects that have enabled 25,000 junior high school students to avoid dropping out of school;

- Every year, we support around 15 research teams and around 20 cancer researchers for a total annual amount of 2.5 million euros.

- In 2013, the Prisons program was launched. One million euros and 58 projects have been deployed to ease prisoner rehabilitation and prevent recidivism.

Encouraging all forms of giving

The Fondation de France collects and manages all types of private donation (gifts, bequests, life insurance, temporary usufruct donations, etc.) while respecting the wishes of all donors (private individuals, small or large companies, etc.). It also encourages giving from beyond French borders by receiving and allocating transnational donations.

At the Fondation de France, all donors can choose how they take action: by making a donation to the program of their choice or by allowing the Fondation de France to allocate their donation to priority causes.

The Fondation de France also enables individuals, families, friends and companies to create their own foundation and make their philanthropic project a reality.

Provide advice and expertise to all donors

By joining the Fondation de France’s network, founders and donors benefit from expert advice, whether legal, fiscal or patrimonial. For them, volunteer committees of experts in their field identify and choose initiatives that they can support, regardless of the area in which they wish to invest: help for the vulnerable, medical research, the environment, education, culture, training, etc.