"The best path is the one that’s not there because we are in the process of creating it."
Craig D. Lounsbrough

About us

Who is Demeter?

In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of agriculture and harvest and the mother of Persephone.

When Hades, King of the Dead, kidnaps Persephone to become his wife, Demeter goes searching for her and forgets the Earth´s crops.

When Zeus realizes that a famine is threatening mortals, he decides that Persephone would spend the six arable months on Earth, together with her mother, and the remaining six months with her husband. Hence, the cycle of seasons is born in Greek mythology.

Demeter teaches humans how to sow and to harvest by giving them the tools to do so.

What is our purpose?

Our Mission:

  • Contribute to the professionalization of humanitarian action using the best networks, tools and know-hows.
  • Help build a culture of efficiency and autonomy in the use of available resources.
  • Sponsor the emergence and use of innovative – often tech-based – approaches, targeting stable socio-economic integration – especially when those solutions enable the creation of employment and permanent social (re-)integration.

Our Goals:

  • Assist NGOs and social enterprises or their programs with access to the best networks, tools and know-hows in order to ultimately improve their financial autonomy.
  • Test innovative solutions through pilot programs and build sustainable social models.
  • Promote long-term societal impact through clear and actionable objectives and impact measurement.

Where are we heading to?

The role of humanitarian and social action has expanded and now includes all the responsibilities of a strategic partner in both the economic and the “social-impact related” aspects.

Faced with ever-growing demands from their environment, NGOs and more recently social enterprises must make drastic changes to their historic ways to operate and now require:

  • Leadership professionalization,
  • Innovative tools for results generation, scalability, and measurement,
  • Encouragement of risk-taking, leading to investment-prone culture.

This transformation is urgent as donors and financial backers - now better informed and more involved – act increasingly as true “social investors” demanding an efficient use and the optimization of their financial contributions, together with a measurable and concrete impact assessment.

After almost 30 years, Demeter’s founding vision remains valid:

What is our focus?

Among many current social challenges, Demeter foundation has chosen to focus its efforts on:

  • The fight against exclusion and vulnerability through community-led initiatives.
  • The development of innovative – often tech-based – economic tools in order to create long-lasting solutions for the society.

Essential keys for the implementation of a mechanism allowing social leaders to:

  • Professionalize their operations and make the best use of their resources.
  • Improve the financing toolkit at their disposal to reach higher level of autonomy.
  • Sponsor pilot programs to test solutions quickly through field experimentation.

Meet our team

Founder’s Representatives

Demeter´s founders are active participants in the business and financial communities.

The founders share a commitment to help realize innovative social and economic initiatives and ensure their sustainability by improving their financial self-sufficiency.

Point of contact: Pascal Vinarnic / Ha-My Nguyen

Qualified Experts

Demeter works jointly with qualified experts in Demeter’s areas of intervention to guide the foundation in the selection and accompaniment of the sponsored programs.

Fondation de France brings access to unvaluable expertise in the fields of Demeter’s action.

Point of contact: Clara Schoumann

Moreover, Demeter wishes to thank all its past and current members and strategic partners for their collaboration, often times informal, but always enriching, and for the numerous cooperation programs developed, brought or supported jointly since the creation of the foundation.

  • “I am very fond of the creativity, the dynamism and open mind philosophy of Demeter and its ability to shake up traditional institutions”. Brigitte C.
  • “I'm an economist at University Paris Nanterre interested in evaluating the impacts of social programs and public policies”. Benjamin M.
  • “Philanthropy is a must”. Mireille K.
  • “In order to receive, first you must give”. Pascal V.
  • “There is no progress without risk, and I am inspired to work with Demeter in giving social entrepreneurs an opportunity to test their innovative solutions and create change”. Ha-My N.
  • “Eager to explore innovative philanthropic solutions with Fondation Demeter team”. Jean L.
  • “L'autre ne nous est pas dû” (The other is not indebted to us)”. Nathalie C.
  • “Fondation Demeter is a philanthropic actor that has always known how to build relations with partners based on the crucial sharing of expertise and finds innovative solutions to address general interest issues”. Clara S.
  • “La « Venture Philanthropy » ? Un des débouchés honorables pour le neo libéralisme en perte de main invisible et de sens du bien commun”. (La Philanthropie de Risque ? One of the honourable outputs for Neoliberalism after having lost its invisible hand and sense of common good)”. Nicolas R.

Which ecosystem do we work with?

Collaborating With Global Networks of Social Entrepreneurs

Sourcing, developing, investing, and accompanying sponsored programs with a carefully selected community of partners is part of Demeter’s philosophy.

Even with decades of experiences and dozens of sponsored initiatives, we remain convinced that by collaborating with other organizations who also share our beliefs, we can achieve better and more tangible results:

  • Access the best opportunities
  • Cooperate in evaluating their funding requirements and their strategy
  • Improve their governance
  • Bring non-financial support

Working as a community with many partners help Demeter better support social, human, economic, strategic solutions.

Knowing and sharing best practices is critical to deploy them quickly and effectively. This is one of the main reasons behind the emergence of regional, national, pan-European, global networks with like-minded partners of all origins (foundations, corporates, public authorities, impact investors, etc.). Working together with different networks brings together considerable access, know-how, innovation, influence, funding, capabilities. Some of the trusted networks who share our belief in collaborative management for delivering social solutions are indicated below.

With them, we aim at changing society’s vision about the economic integration of vulnerable communities.

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