Since 1999, the Bernheim Foundation has continued the work of visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist Emile Bernheim, by financing actions which contribute, according to his own will, to "building a society on the scale of man, in which the individual keeps his share both from the point of view of the advantages he can derive from life in society and the responsibilities he understands, and which must be helped to assume. "
In his will, drawn up in 1975, Emile Bernheim decides to create the Foundation which will bear his name and for which he drafts the statutes himself. In 1987, the Bernheim Public Utility Foundation was created, under the chairmanship of Madame Bernheim, which would continue her husband's work until his own death in 1998.
In 1999, the Foundation's Board of Directors was installed, under the chairmanship of Jacques Dopchie, succeeded, in 2004, by Edouard Jakhian and then Françoise Thys-Clément in 2009. Until 2015, the Foundation's strategy was structured around four themes dear to Emile Bernheim: entrepreneurship and ethics, peace and citizenship, culture and training.
For fifteen years, the orientations taken by successive boards of directors have enabled the Bernheim Foundation to support innovative projects, in line with the objectives defined by its founder, while adapting them to the realities of society. The Foundation has thus funded more than a hundred projects carried out by universities, institutions and associations, mainly based in Brussels, for a total amount of nearly 22 million euros.
In 2013, the Board of Directors decided, under the chairmanship of Françoise Thys-Clément, to update the objectives of the Foundation based on a re-reading of Emile Bernheim's vision. Based on the founding themes of professional integration and civic integration, the new strategic plan for 2015-2018 now gives priority to innovative projects for young people aged 12 to 25 in Brussels.
Under the chairmanship of Raymond Vaxelaire, the Board of Directors decided to pursue and consolidate the Brussels strategy for a further period of 4 years, i.e. until 2022.
Because they represent our future, the actions supported by the Bernheim Foundation concern young people. And because Brussels is itself a young region which faces many contemporary challenges, because a third of its population is under 25, because the challenge is to share a common future in the respect for everyone, since 2015 the Bernheim Foundation has decided to make the Brussels Region its scope of action.
Its objective is to support innovative and efficient systems there, offering young people between the ages of 12 and 25 the means to integrate positively into society and to do so to develop their capacities to plan, cooperate and mobilize. the resources of their environment. It is important to equip young people as well as possible so that they can live out their citizenship and find their place in a multicultural society.
The projects selected are aimed at young people, in their social, economic and cultural diversity, with priority given to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and / or living in situations of poverty or precariousness.