Philanthropy has pioneers in France, and Marie-Stéphane Maradeix is one of them, since, for the past 25 years, she has experimented with every single aspect of a sector which did not even exist when she left school.
Having been immersed in public interest since she was a child – doing scouting and volunteer work for the Red Cross – she was encouraged by her father to go into sales, « so as to do whatever she wanted ». And what she wanted was to work in the humanitarian sector. « If you stay in that field more than 5 or 6 years, you’ll lose out », one of her teachers warned her. But rather than losing, she strove to gain experience, to structure her profession and help it gain visibility.
For her last internship, she chose ICOSI, an NGO specialised in socio-economic challenges. For three months, she coordinated a self-help project for women in Guadeloupe.
ICOSI sponsored her on an experimental international programme in the United States, about philanthropic studies, led by Lester Salamon, Jimmy Carter’s advisor on social matters, and inventor of the ‘’third sector’’. « I had total freedom all through that high level academic year, where I was in contact with every American foundation. »
I need the freedom you get from original pathways, with their risks and their trip-wires. Then it is up to me to explore, give structure, make professional, visible, and sharable new emergent practices.
When she got back in 1989, she sent her thesis, ‘’American NGO’s in Sub-Saharan Africa’’, to Antoine Vaccaro, the father of modern fundraising, ex-director of development for the NGO ‘’Médecins du Monde’’. She joined the association as Head of the Programme for Sponsoring Children, then of the Education Section. In between time, her thesis was published. « I was 25, I became well-known because of the book, I had a job in a fabulous NGO. I was living the dream! » At the same time, with three classmates, she created Educadev, an NGO dedicated to education in countries in the southern hemisphere.
But in 1991, the Gulf war weakened Médecins du monde, who reorganised, limiting their activity to their medical work.
The French Ministry for Social Affairs entrusted Marie-Stéphane Maradeix with the technical assistance role for the European programme NOW (New Opportunities for Women). « I was sorry that experience had come to an end: a wonderful cause, on a European level, with a high degree of autonomy… »
Third period of unemployment in 1995. « Despite all the times when I had doubts, I was still sure about what I had to do. »
Her experience of European projects enabled her to be recruited by the French Union of Private Teaching Establishments in agriculture, amongst which the ‘’Apprentis d’Auteuil’’, who asked her in 1998 to create the Sponsorship service of their Foundation.
Essec Business School then asked her to co-pilot their first fund-raising campaign. For five years, she implemented her American methodology successfully. Then, in 2007, the famous ‘’Ecole Polytechnique’’ asked her to do the same: € 32 million was raised in less than five years, from big donors, private individuals, and alumni. «That was an extraordinary experience, with the pure spirit of Science, of modest researchers, and of the warm and dedicated military environment… »
In 2010, her classmate Philippe-Loïc Jacob was involved in the creation of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, named after the founder of Danone. The following year, he proposed Marie-Stéphane Maradeix as Delegate General. After ten years fund-raising, she now switched to managing, with a team of seven, a big French distributive foundation, working in sustainable food projects, and citizen art, and which is also a sponsor of EMLYON. « I would be really happy if the Foundation also became a key player in assessment of the social impact of projects. »
Now having numerous pilot projects and several mandates in representational bodies in her field, she strives to connect generosity with performance every day.
EM Lyon: Programme Grande Ecole 1987 / Msc in Management Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC Date de parution : 01/06/15