Frédéric Théret is the Marketing and Development Director at Fondation de France, a post he has held since 2012. His work consists in defining development strategies, setting the model for territorial development in the regions and structuring donation campaigns. Prior to this position, Frédéric worked in communication for large international groups for 10 years, before joining the non-profit sector (Action Against Hunger, Pasteur Institute).
TGE: Could you briefly introduce Fondation de France (FDF)?
Mr. Théret: Fondation de France is an independent public-benefit organization, and the country’s largest philanthropy network. André Malraux’s founding inspiration was that of a community foundation for the nation: he was determined to offer all citizens a forum where philanthropy could be developed. This visionary model has inspired the establishment of foundations across Europe, and continues to be the subject of research papers.
In practice, Fondation de France enables philanthropists to take action and contribute to building a fairer society. It does so through philanthropic funds (or donor-advised funds) set up by companies or individuals, and with grant programs in all fields of public interest and emergency relief. In 2020, we supported more than 10,000 projects and granted over 220 million euros through our programs, and donor-advised funds.
TGE: What has FDF’s most remarkable development been over the past 10 years?
Mr. Théret: One of Fondation de France’s most notable features is its two-fold input in supporting public-interest initiatives and promoting philanthropy. We are involved at the local level through six regional foundations, and a large network of over 600 volunteers. This local network plays a key role in identifying grassroots organizations and ensuring long-term positive impact.
Some challenges know no borders, but we are able to act on a global scale too. Fondation de France is also deeply committed to coordinated initiatives, to address the migrant crisis and the environment, for instance. True to our original mission of facilitating philanthropy, we were a founding member of TGE in 1998, and created Friends of Fondation de France in the US more than 20 years ago.
TGE: What is FDF’s vision on cross-border giving?
Mr. Théret: We defend philanthropy beyond national boundaries, the only frontiers being those of public interest. I am personally convinced that the vision Fondation de France has been promoting actively since the 1990s could lead to real institutional change in the near future. Cross-border giving will no longer be an exception.
TGE: Fondation de France has a ‘sister-organization’ in the United States: Friends of Fondation de France, Inc . Could you briefly describe this organization?
Mr. Théret: Friends of Fondation de France is an American public charity, a 501(c)(3), expertly managed by a French-American board. Its mission is to enable individuals, companies and institutions in the US to give to trusted charitable projects in France, Europe and around the world. The organization serves donors and nonprofits, and provides guidance with a double expertise: they benefit from the extensive experience of Friends of Fondation de France Board members in the US nonprofit sector, and from the combined expertise of the Fondation de France’s 220 staff on practical philanthropy. This ensures security, simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
TGE: More than 20 years after its creation, what has Friends of Fondation de France actually done? And how do you see the coming years?
Mr. Théret: Over the years, Friends of Fondation de France has been able to support many wonderful projects that we could not be more proud of. A local film festival, scholarships for prestigious business schools and advanced medical research, these are some of the initiatives that the generosity of US donors has made possible to carry out, by organizations of all sizes and in all fields. Friends of Fondation de France also serves as an incubator for ambitious projects, and some now have their own US-based office.
In the coming years, we will continue to support and assist French beneficiaries, and welcome more European projects, always with the guarantee of proceeding in the most straightforward and safest way. Our common goal remains to encourage philanthropy and to offer both simplicity and effectiveness, so that donors and nonprofits can join forces and focus on causes, not infrastructures. This is reflected in the new Friends of Fondation de France website, and we will soon be announcing new developments in the US, so stay tuned!
Find out more :
Fondation de France: https://www.fondationdefrance.org/en
Friends of Fondation de France – USA: https://www.friendsoffdf.org/
French TGE beneficiaries: https://www.transnationalgiving.eu/france.htm