3 Questions for Bérangère Pagès
General Delegate for the IFM Foundation

Bérangère Pagès, General Delegate for the IFM Foundation, has set up an emergency fund to help the Institut Français de la Mode students facing financial problems during the current health crisis. She gives us an overview of the Foundation’s role and its programs. 

When was the Foundation established and what were its objectives? 

We’re a young foundation, created in December 2018 under the patronage of the Fondation de France. Our primary mission is to help the IFM finance scholarships for students who would not otherwise be able to access our training. Thanks to the money we’ve collected, 30% of the students in IFM programs have benefited from these grants. That’s a relatively high percentage compared to other schools. This year’s aid budget was €817,000, while the preceding year’s was €760,000. And next fall our goal is to make €1,050,000 available to the school. Our second objective is to finance research and teaching chairs on topics that are important for the school. For example, Kering finances a Chair on Sustainability, and Première Vision finances one on trends in the mass-retail economy. This gives the school visibility on the principle topics concerning design, management, and savoir-faire in the fashion industry. And finally, we collect funds to further innovation and entrepreneurship within the school. 

Are you now seeing an increased need to support students? 

Of course! And our Foundation’s role, beyond its ongoing project calendar, is also to be active in crisis situations, such as the ongoing pandemic. We believed it was necessary and urgent to help students who had lost part of their revenue for daily expenses. So we created an Emergency Fund. To obtain this assistance, each applicant, grant recipient or not, was required to submit a dossier. We received around 100 applications which were reviewed by a Commission for Distributing Emergency Funds set up for this purpose. The Foundation’s business partners, IFM Alumni, and different Federations – including the Fédération Française du Prêt-à-Porter Féminin – all got involved. Thanks to the impressive campaign the FFPAPF directed to its members, €16,300 were collected, and I extend my warmest thanks! As of today, the Foundation has raised a total of €60,000, letting us help 80 students each with an average of €670 over a two-month period. We intend to continue this assistance as long as the students are experiencing financial difficulties. 

What types of fundraising campaigns do you carry out? 

As I mentioned, we’re a Foundation under the direction of the Fondation de France. This identity means that we can’t call upon the general public for contributions. We contact businesses and individual donors with a personalised approach on a one-to-one basis to collect funds for the Foundation’s major missions. The businesses who join the Foundation all share the same desire to help the IFM develop. Of course, we also enjoy a long history of support from leading brands such as Chanel, Hermès, LVMH, and Kering. We give all our business partners the priority in contacting students – their potential recruits – and the teachers in the school. We make their brand visible on all the IFM’s communication tools, including an eye-catching kakemono with their logos at the school’s entrance! And finally, our role is to energize and motivate our community of partners. Given the context, we were unfortunately unable to host our annual meeting at the end of 2020, but we hope to get together this fall. Our group currently includes 22 donors. And we maintain close relationships with each one, especially since the IFM is the only fashion school with a Foundation. We hope, of course, to expand this circle; and that’s a real challenge, but it’s an exciting one!