How Jean-François de Clermont-Tonnerre foundation is still helping children and the arts around the world.

European investor Jean-François de Clermont-Tonnerre and his wife, Marie-Laure, have established a foundation that supports amazing projects in the education and creative sectors.

When investor Jean-François de Clermont-Tonnerre started to reap significant financial benefits from his fund management business he knew he wanted to give something back. So, Clermont-Tonnerre and his wife, Marie-Laure, launched a non-profit organisation based in Brussels with the aim of offering financial support to charities in the areas that most interested them. This meant identifying causes that promoted access to education and culture for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now, nearly a decade since launch, the Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Clermont-Tonnerre Foundation endows schools and universities all over the world, funding different programmes and scholarships. One of their favourite charities is the Niño Feliz Foundation based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. This provides support to poor children in the region and aims to provide three basic needs: food, health and education. In July 2016, the Clermont-Tonnerre Foundation made a donation to Niño Feliz that helped it to establish a “comedores” (or refectory), where over 1,000 children receive a warm meal every day. With Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure’s help the Nino Feliz Foundation has grown steadily and now has around 70 employees and an annual budget of €400,000. The activities offered are many and varied but the end goal remains the same: to improve the physical and psychological condition of children and their families by feeding them, teaching them core values and offering decent medical care. Jean-Francois Clermont-Tonnerre and his family also want to support artistic and cultural projects be they musical, visual, cinematographic or literary. Another favourite cause is the Palais de Tokyo, a Paris-based contemporary arts venue that provides an amazing exhibition space. Open from noon to midnight, it is a dynamic place for artists to meet, explore ideas and exhibit their creations. The Clermont-Tonnerres have become involved with the work and life of the Palais de Tokyo and Marie-Laure was elected for a three-year term to the Board of Directors of the Tokyo Art Club, which was created in 2009 by the Palais de Tokyo’s private patrons. Twice a month, the Tokyo Art Club invites personalities from the art world such as artists, directors of the major international biennales and foreign exhibition curators to the centre. Something else the foundation likes to focus on is providing grants to young people from developing countries to enable them to get into French-speaking universities or other higher education establishments, the aim being to allow them to apply their training in their own countries. The Jean-François and Marie-Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre Foundation is always happy to meet people to discuss philanthropic projects in activities related to its own. This often leads to collaborations with organisations that share the couple’s goals.