Brussels, April 11th, 2023 – Chemins d’avenirs wins the fifth edition of the Degroof Petercam Foundation award. Based in France, Chemins d’avenirs is a non-profit enabling equal career opportunities for young people in rural and sparsely populated areas. As the 2023 laureate, the initiative benefits from a grant of one million euros, spread over five years, as well as access to the Foundation's expertise and network. Alongside Chemins d’avenirs, the Foundation is also rewarding three other projects with a 50,000 euros grant each: Banlieues Santé, Territoires Zéro Chômeurs de Longue Durée and Make.org.
Founded fifteen years ago, the Degroof Petercam Foundation believes in a sustainable and inclusive society where everyone has a chance to thrive through employment. The Foundation supports social leaders inventing new ways of tackling employment issues. Each year, the Foundation selects and supports an innovative social project that demonstrates a true transformative potential to change the employment system. The Foundation's award consists of a one million euro grant and personalized follow-up over five years. The Degroof Petercam Foundation is one of the ten largest foundations in Belgium.
Chemins d’avenirs is the 2023 winner of the award. Founded in 2016, the French non-profit organization tackles territorial divides and their consequences, a growing concern in European countries. Via an innovative way of reaching out and giving youth from rural areas support and recognition, the organization allows them to build a civic, academic, and professional journey that is in line with their aspirations. In France alone, 65% of youth, which corresponds to 10 million young people under the age of 20, live in rural and sparsely populated areas. Those territories are commonly socially and economically fragile, making employment one of the main challenges. Chemins d’avenirs’ goal is to drive a system change on two levels. First, it accompanies young people from rural areas to reach their full potential through a mentoring program. To date, they supported 5,000 youngsters spread all over France. Second, it combines scientific research with an advocacy strategy to influence public authorities, the education system and corporations on this issue.
Salomé Berlioux, Founder of Chemins d’avenirs:
“We are honored to be the winning association of the Degroof Petercam Foundation Award this year. There are few of us chosen after this demanding selection process and our predecessors are real models of inspiration. Beyond honoring us, this distinction, above all, obliges us. Since 2016, Chemins d'avenirs has been fighting day after day against territorial divides and their consequences on young people in rural areas and small towns. On their life projects, their orientation, their employability... The problem we have chosen to tackle is multifactorial. It is rooted in the beliefs and habits of everyone. To be up to the challenge, we must therefore bring about a system change. A change in mentalities and practices, at all levels. The support of the Degroof Petercam Foundation will allow us to accelerate this systemic approach, with means and ambition worthy of the needs of young people in rural areas and small towns. We are happy and proud to continue to take up this challenge with the support of the Foundation.”
Silvia Steisel, Managing Director of Degroof Petercam Foundation:
“This year again we received more than 60 applications for the award. We are thrilled to witness so many social initiatives and are honored they want to partner with us. We are delighted to offer this year our financial and human support to Chemins d’avenirs, a social initiative with whom we share values and vision of a fairer and more inclusive society.”
To mark its 15th anniversary, the Foundation has decided to open the award at European level.
Xavier Van Campenhout, Chairman of the Degroof Petercam Foundation:
“We have learned a lot the last 5 years through the DPF Award and realized that innovation for employment is very rich across Europe. As a Brussels-based foundation, and with the belief that social innovation can have European ambitions, we will open the Award to Europe as from this year. This evolution comes along with the opening of a new program, a “Do Tank”, mixing research on employment issues and a “lab” to develop solutions accordingly, in Belgium.”
The Degroof Petercam Foundation is awarding its prize for the fifth consecutive year. Previous winners are Activ’Action (2022), Ticket for Change (2021), Bayes Impact (2020) and DUO for a JOB (2019). The support of the Foundation has enabled these initiatives to develop and expand in Belgium and beyond. The Foundation used to operate in Belgium, France and Luxembourg but will as from 2023 open its main program to EU countries.
About the Degroof Petercam Foundation
The Degroof Petercam Foundation supports social innovations for employment by focusing on three main areas: the skills of tomorrow, entrepreneurship and accessibility to employment. The Foundation selects one project each year and grants one million euros over five years. In addition to its main mission in favor of employment, the Degroof Petercam Foundation is also committed to promoting philanthropy within the group Degroof Petercam and among its employees through participative social engagement programs such as volunteering, sponsorship campaigns, etc.
For more information, follow the LinkedIn page.
About Chemins d’avenirs
Chemins d'avenirs is a French NGO founded in 2016 to enable the 10 million young people in rural and sparsely populated areas to have as many opportunities to express their potential as young people in big cities. Chemins d'avenirs’ strategy and actions rely on two complementary pillars:
- A grassroots action to support secondary school pupils and students in sparsely populated areas. The support program allows them to build a civic, academic, and professional journey in line with their aspirations.
- An advocacy action at a nationwide level to highlight the rural and sparsely populated areas youth, provoke a global mindset shift on their condition and the creation of specific all-equal-opportunity public policies.
For more information, visit the website.