Merci endowment fund
After the success of Bonpoint, the children’s ready-to-wear brand, and its sale in 2007, its creators, Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, decided to put their talents and experience to work for humanity.
Imagining a new approach to philanthropy, one that was 80% financed by their private funds, the couple created a store like no other, a concept that was completely new in France. The MERCI project was born.
It opened on Boulevard Beaumarchais in Paris in March 2009, its purpose to provide regular and sustainable finance and support for projects undertaken through a linked endowment fund: the Merci endowment fund.
Since its creation, the aim of the endowment fund has been to support women and children throughout the world, working to improve their lives through educational, social, health and cultural projects, particularly in Madagascar
. It was therefore only natural that, in 2010, the endowment fund joined forces with the Abc Domino association, which has been operating in the south-west of the country since 2004.
In 2013, the Cohen family sold the MERCI store to the Gerbi family, a family just like their own. Since then, the store has been keen to continue its support for this wonderful venture of humanity and generosity. This renewed commitment has enabled the construction of a primary school and canteen in Belitsaka, a high school in Efoetse, and vegetable gardens in Ankilimivony and Ambola, as well as sewing workshops in Ambola and Ankilibory
Today, more than 2,800 children are enrolled in 6 primary schools and 3 secondary schools equipped with canteens, vegetable gardens and accommodation for teachers.
Also committed to issues related to agriculture and the solidarity economy, the Merci endowment fund does not limit its actions to Madagascar alone but seeks to take positive action on its home territory of France.
Since 2015, the endowment fund has been financing and supporting environmental and ecological initiatives. Permaculture, the development of short supply chains and more generally of high-quality food are currently at the heart of its actions to build a future that is more respectful and responsible for nature and mankind.
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