Our sustainability stories

Legal & General France sets up unique charity foundation

12 Dec 2014

Legal & General France (LGF) in partnership with Fondation de France has set up the first charitable foundation within Legal & General Group involving the opinions and efforts of both employees and customers, the ‘Fondation Legal & General’. It will initially focus on funding projects around autism.

Its board, chaired by LGF CEO Olivier Potellet, involves LGF employees, customers as well as healthcare specialists. Employees were active in voting for the issues that matter in French life which included environmental and education projects. They finally settled on the theme of children’s disabilities with an initial focus on autism.

Our business experience shows that despite there being 600,000 people in France who have autism it is still poorly understood in France with a need for better provision of education and services.

The Foundation has two important jobs: to raise money and to distribute money effectively. Day to day management is the responsibility of Yasmina Guerri, (Personal Assistant to Olivier Potellet) who has been working hard to start up this important initiative.

"The Legal & General Group has always attached great importance to social, environmental and economic issues and our parent office in London, supports many projects each year, and encourages employee volunteering. This is what prompted us to create this foundation in France, and to involve our employees in choosing the causes we support through an employee vote." says Olivier Potellet, CEO of LGF.

Frances Borrer, Community Investment Manager for Legal & General said: “It’s been very interesting supporting the start-up of this new foundation as a first for Legal & General. This approach builds upon the excellent volunteering programmes already undertaken in LGF to help disadvantaged young people into work that took place in France earlier in the year”

The Foundation is expected to provide at least 40,000 euro worth of funding to children’s disability projects in France each year. Legal & General Group have backed the innovation shown by LGF with some seed funding of 12,000 euro.

Since the first board meeting in July, three charities have been chosen: Envoludia, The Souffle9, Plural and Leisure.

Each of the three charities plays a vital role in the lives of children in need of support and has been carefully selected by the Executive Committee of the Fondation Legal & General (France) and the Fondation de France. Chaired by Olivier Potellet, the Fondation builds on the experience of its seven directors and, in particular, on the expertise of Barbara Donville (Psychologist and author of "Overcoming Autism"), Arnaud Chalvon (Paediatrician in Specialized Unit) and Dr. François Huel (functional rehabilitation specialist).

"The reason we have chosen these charities is that they really need our support to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable children, whatever their difficulties. It is important that children with special needs are part of their community and integration is fundamental, so they can move into adulthood with confidence, "says Yasmina Guerri, the Fondation Manager.