At the Annual General Meeting in May 2019, the FRI Board of Directors announced two major changes:
- FRI will no longer be making individual donations. The foundation will support projects, not individuals. Personal donations will be the responsibility of clubs or their own foundations, as is already the case.
- FRI wants to move towards greater environmental awareness. To understand this approach, here’s a reflection from the Board of Directors of the Fondation Richelieu-International (CAFRI)
Since the FRI was founded, its Board of Directors has put forward a variety of policies, all aimed at helping children and young people in the French-speaking world.
Whether it’s through donations enabling the purchase of sophisticated equipment for disease screening, through participation in events and various organizations, through donations or through the awarding of individual grants, the aim has always been to support children and young people. Funding came mainly from the clubs, through the “Jean-Joseph Girard” (JJG) and “Cercle Horace-Viau” (CHV) awards. The members of the various clubs also participated in various ways to increase the FRI’s capitalization (personal donations, In Memoriam donations, organization of events, special collections, etc.) Some sums also came from donations made by third parties to the FRI, which are not directly connected to the Richelieu.
Recently, the sums received annually were equal to those donated through scholarships and gifts. The criteria were varied for donations and more specific for scholarships.
After much reflection and the drafting of a five-year strategic plan, it was agreed to retain the original mission of supporting children and young people, but to change the way FRI was perceived and the way it managed the money it collected.
For some time now, the latter has suffered from the fact that the only real donors, with a few exceptions, are the clubs through the JJG and CHV awards. The sums raised were systematically handed over in the form of grants or donations, and generated little growth. Members have repeatedly said that they’re at the end of their rope, that we can’t ask any more of them financially, and we’ve heard them. Our thinking has led us to a new approach, less focused on the individual and more focused on the community, and not just any community, but the community that will succeed us, i.e. youth.
"various policies all geared towards helping children and young people in the French-speaking world".
All this rethinking, all this upheaval, all this deployment of forces involves the most important element for young people: the environment . By focusing on supporting the environment, we’ll be able to ensure a future for our young people. What’s more, our green shift will enable us to forge links with businesses and organizations throughout the French-speaking world that have decided to turn their attention to the environment. We’ll turn them into partners who not only support us wholeheartedly, but who can also help us financially with our environmental initiatives. No one serious or credible doubts climate change and its damaging effects anymore. The biggest companies have gone green, and the trend is irreversible, because scientists are unanimous: there’s no time to lose. The same applies to the Richelieu and its Foundation.
The future lies in reducing our waste, reusing goods that are still good, recycling, composting and more. These are no longer isolated islands or agglomerations of waste floating in our oceans, but continents of plastics and other discarded materials. And to use the term “continent”, you need at least the surface area of the smallest known continent, Oceania!
We’re fortunate to be the first international service club not only to be openly pro-environment, but also to make the environment our top priority. Our mission is to support children and young people, so it’s up to us to act accordingly. In short, we are committed to supporting their health – mental, physical and intellectual – but this automatically involves the environment. How can we leave them anything if we can’t offer them a healthy place to live and develop? By being openly in favor of improving environmental conditions, we’ll be forerunners in the field of service clubs, and we’ll certainly be listened to attentively by organizations, governments, businesses and, of course, the general public.
Our goal at FRI is to triple our capitalization with the help of companies and partners willing to support us in our efforts, and to put forward programs to raise awareness, clean up, revitalize, plant trees, save animals or foraging insects, and so on. To do this, we’ll need the help of all our members to gather contact details of all the organizations likely to support us in our efforts to promote this movement that is as necessary as it is revolutionary.
Taking care of our youth means first and foremost taking care of our planet. To do so, we need your agreement, but above all your support. We don’t just want you to agree with the principle, we want you to take part in the decisions, be involved in the process and be ambassadors for this new philosophy.
Following acceptance of the new guidelines, here are some of the steps that have been put in place.
- Establishment of a new subsidy policy.
- Development of grant eligibility criteria.
- Preparation of a project evaluation grid.
- During this same period, we’ll be devising a strategy to market our new direction.
- Defining and publicizing our new approach, promoting healthy environmental habits and shaping the message we want to convey.
- End the moratorium and organize an initial offering of larger-scale projects in spring 2022.
- Review and modernize FRI’s corporate image to make it easier to identify, while retaining the visceral link with IR
- Production of a corporate video for members to clarify the new direction and propose a clear and unique message
- Create an independent, transactional website to make it easier to collect donations, while maintaining a direct link to the RI website.
Other stages will follow, such as :
- Members of the RI and FRI Boards of Directors will tour the clubs to promote the new orientations and explain how the FRI can help organizations in each region where a Club Richelieu is present.
- FRI will be approaching organizations, businesses and various levels of government with environmental concerns, with a view to helping us finance the projects that come to fruition.
- Plan and develop a major fundraising campaign with the goal of accumulating a minimum of $5 million in capital by 2026.
- The implementation of performance markers to evaluate the success of grants and fund-raising campaigns.
- Assessment of the situation following implementation of the three-year strategic plan, and development of a new strategy.