The Philanthropy at the Heart of Family Business
On the 22nd of March 2018, at the heart of the Louvre Museum, 20 family business members and owners from different countries were present at the “The Family Business Philanthropy Across Generations” conference, organized by the EDHEC Family Business Centre in partnership with the Louvre Endowment Fund.
Family and Arts
The objective of the event was to learn and share the philanthropy practices in a family business environment. To set the stage for inspiration, the conference stared with a guided tour of the Louvre collections about the family art representations across centuries. The guide’s explanations helped us to learn about the evolution of the family perceptions throughout history, particularly the cross and inter-generational relations, and about the influence of emotions on the family decisions in diverse contexts.
Philanthropy and Family cohesion
Following the guided tour, the first keynote was presented by Igor de Maack manager at DNCA Finance and engaged philanthropist, especially in history and arts. He shared with the participants the philanthropy process he went through, inspired by family values. He also insisted on the fact that “We don’t need money to be philanthropists; we can practice it by giving part of ourselves”. Now he is transmitting this culture to his children so that they perpetuate it to the future generations in his family.
As he puts it, “if my kids are generous, this is an indicator of success for me”.
This part of the education enhances the family cohesion. The last advice that Igor de Maack gave us is to find the right philanthropic project that goes along our values.
For the workshops, the group was divided by 2 and moderated by professionals in family business and philanthropy: Rania Labaki, director of EDHEC Family Business Centre, Florence Brachet, brand heritage and philanthropy expert, Philippe Gaboriau, director of the Louvre Endowment Fund and Axelle Chabert, patronage manager of the Louvre Endowment Fund. The objective of making two groups was to encourage the exchanges so everyone would be able to speak, share good practices and ask questions. One of the key learnings was that philanthropy practices change over time to adapt to different motivations and vary across cultures, depending on the history and geopolitics of the countries and regions.
The Philanthropy transmission
Finally, Rania Labaki presented an academic keynote that highlights the research insights on the topic. She emphasized the role of philanthropy in keeping the family together and and managing the family business wealth which could be seen as a burden of responsibility for the next generation. She also showed the dark side of philanthropy, questioning the necessary alignment between the family and business values. She ended her speech with the importance of the transmission of the philanthropy spirit in family business because “philanthropy is in the hand of the next generations”.