Giving Compass' Take:

• Fondation de France was founded at the end of the 1960s as a tool to develop private philanthropy in France and to respond to the most urgent needs of society in every field.

• Many donor have already committed dollars to the Notre Dame Cathedral rebuilding efforts. How else can philanthropy be a support system for large-scale disasters?

• Learn about the challenges of French philanthropy.

Fondation de France will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. It was founded at the end of the 1960’s as a tool to develop private philanthropy in France and to respond to the most urgent needs of society in every field (education, health, culture, social services, sciences, environment, etc.). The organization grants 175 million euros per year, mostly in France (80%), and now hosts over 800 individual donor-advised funds. Here, Philanthropy In Focus (from the WINGS Network) interviews Axelle Davezac, the Director General.

PHILANTHROPY IN FOCUS (PIF): The development of philanthropy appears as one of Fondation de France’s main pillars. Why and how are you putting it into practice?

AXELLE DAVEZAC: It has become clear in most regions of the world that public authorities can no longer meet by themselves all the growing social needs of our societies, nor face the environmental and cultural challenges.

PIF: How would you describe the philanthropy sector in France today, what are the main trends and challenges?

AD: The philanthropy sector is developing fast, and getting more and more professional. Over half of the French foundations have been created since year 2000. Over three quarters of French foundations are grant-making foundations (as opposed to operating foundations). Corporate philanthropy developed earlier and is still growing and professionalizing, but today there is a majority of individual and family foundations.

French foundations mostly operate in three fields: social issues and education; health and medical research; arts and culture. As in many other developed countries, international development and environmental issues come far behind in the ranking, but tend to slowly grow.

Read the full interview with Axelle Davezac from Fondation de France at Philanthropy In Focus.