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The home of the future Philanthropy Lab, Source: © Compagnie de Phalsbourg

Paris opens its first Philanthropy Lab

Paris opens its first Philanthropy Lab

It is unique on a worldwide scale

The first Philanthropy Lab is set to open today in Paris, French media report. A space entirely dedicated to charity projects will be inaugurated by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the President of the Region of Paris Valérie Pécresse and the spokesman of the French Government Gabriel Attal. Located in a former surgery school, the repurposed building on 15 Bûcherie Street is a philanthropy project in itself.

A space where generosity flourishes in the heart of Paris

The 2000-square-metre Philantro-Lab claims to be the first place in the world entirely dedicated to philanthropy and civic involvement. The project dates back to 2014, when the City of Paris opened a call for proposals, called Reinvent Paris. Phalsbourg Company won with three projects, one of which for the Philanthropy Lab.

According to the website of the Company, it is set to become “a unique meeting place for patrons, project leaders, associations and volunteers; a place designed to foster the emergence of new philanthropic projects.” In other words, the Philanthropy Lab will welcome non-profits and will raise public awareness of philanthropy. Even more, the future facility in the very centre of Paris wants to reinvent the concept of generosity.

The company’s founder Philippe Journo, explained that he had always dreamed of creating a space dedicated to the philanthropy of the 21st century, to “help those who provide help” and to evoke the public consciousness. He, himself, has been educated in compassion as he had to take care of his sister, who is visually impaired by birth. Thanks to his help and the help of many volunteers, she managed to become a professor in law.

Nowadays Journo, who is one of the richest men in France, is known as an active patron. Together with wife Karine, they devote up to 20% of their net income each year to sponsorship actions focused mainly on the renovation of historical heritage and the democratization of culture.

The building that will host the Lab has in a sense, always served a public purpose – a solidarity butcher shop in the Middle Ages, it later hosted the first surgery school, to then become a hospice, a Russian library, and a student house, before being seized during the German occupation.

Phalsbourg have purchased the building, which is a heritage monument, and have invested over 40 million euros to renovate it. Today the building hosts co-working and meeting spaces with a green rooftop, overlooking the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral.

It is already home to several non-profits and donation funds, but there is space for more. According to Journo, the users pay particularly low rents (there are even a dozen who use the space for free) and he wants to welcome 120 more associations more by the end of the year.

Finally, the Lab is particularly targeted at young people. Journo has set the objective of doubling the number of French citizens who are engaged in philanthropic activities by 2030.

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