The Alma Fund, a multifaceted charitable commitment
"We had always conducted projects in a personal capacity, but then at a certain moment, we wanted to have more impact. The idea of a Fund managed by the King Baudouin Foundation seemed to us the ideal manner of having a much greater impact.” This was what led the founders of the Alma Fund to put into practice their philanthropic commitment, which provides significant benefit to projects relating to health, heritage and, more recently, the environment.
"From the very beginning, we have always tried to conduct positive activities in society”, explains the Alma Fund’s founders, a Franco-Romanian couple, who have lived for many years in Belgium. “Professional circumstances led us to take part in the launch of a start-up devoted to the creation of medical imaging software, directed by people who cared about others and with a considerable interest in health. One day, the founder of this start-up asked us for help in creating a centre for research in neuroscience that would be attached to the Saint Anne Hospital in Paris.”
With this specific project, the couple saw an opportunity to go further in their philanthropic work. “We asked ourselves how we could go further in supporting the hospital project and an advisor recommended us to contact the King Baudouin Foundation. It went really well. We were enchanted by how well they listened to us, they were so humane, and the procedures were so easy. Everything is simple and straightforward.” The fund, given the name of ‘Alma’ (the ‘soul’ in Spanish), was set up under the Foundation’s auspices in 2017.
The Alma Fund’s first project saw the light of day with its participation in the setting up of the centre for neuroscience research as part of GHU (University Hospital Group) Paris, Neuro Sainte Anne – a première in France.
The partnership saw the provision of an IRM 3T appliance for use by the GHU Paris teams. “This high-tech equipment has as its vocation to facilitate the development of research in psychiatric pathologies and clinical neuroscience” says the GHU of Paris. “Several exploratory axes have been identified, including the diagnosis and prognosis of cerebral tumours, the functional reorganization of the brain in cases of focal cerebral lesions, as well as the study of the mechanisms of depression.” All of which will provide new perspectives regarding the analysis of certain properties of the nervous system that are either unknown at present or have been little studied.
"Our support focuses on the establishment of technical and rigorous infrastructures that are necessary at the research centre”, commented one of the Alma Fund’s founders. A contribution that is lauded by GHU Paris: “This project is part of a rigorous legal framework regarding the technical plans and the quality and management of risk, but also in terms of data protection. It came to fruition thanks to Fund managed by the King Baudouin Foundation and its very significant financial contribution.”
A crypt and bee protection
However, this couple of philanthropists is not at a loss for other fields of interest! They decided to get involved in saving heritage elements of a small village in the Rhône Alps region of France. “At the moment, we are going ahead with our fund on a project to conserve an 11th century crypt located under the choir of the church, which is a listed monument that has been the subject of a study by the organization Monuments de France. Numerous frescos, dating from the Carolingian period decorate the walls of the crypt. This type of fresco is rare and so we are really intent on helping to safeguard the crypt, which is rather unique in Europe.”
The project is a long-term one, in which the President of the Alma Fund is involved. “He is someone who is as passionate as we are and in whom we have total confidence. His presence is an additional guarantee that enables us to ensure that our fund’s activities are really effective.”
The highly active Alma Fund also plans to get involved with bee preservation activities. “Bees play an essential role in the lives of numerous species of animals and plants, but today they are unfortunately threatened with extinction”, say the philanthropists. “We are currently working on a project to participate in the distribution of the film Etre avec les Abeilles (Being with the bees), which has just been completed, with the idea of informing as many people as possible about the importance of bees, the factors that jeopardise their health … and to raise awareness of the fact that each and every one of us can act to ensure their well-being.”
Who says that philanthropy has to be limited to a single good cause?
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