Principal areas of the Fund
The Fund has been given three objectives within the priority areas of the Foundation and the interests of our parents, and indeed our own:
‘Childhood should be a joyous experience: a time to play, to laugh, to develop their creative potential. It is very important to ensure for all the best possible start in life, especially for children with special needs as the vulnerable and disadvantaged’
(Queen Mathilde of Belgium, dinner speech for the King Baudouin Foundation in New York, 9 May 2005).
Our parents thought also that good education was the basis for a good life, and that vulnerable children needed special attention to give them equal chances.
‘Culture is what remains, when everything else is forgotten’.
(Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian foreign minister and co-founder of the European Economic Community, precursor of the European Union, 1899-1972).
Our parents had multiple cultural interests. While father was an avid reader, mother sang in a choir in her youth and enjoyed concerts and opera well into her 90’s. A poem was read at home every evening.
‘We never really thought about Europe as a home, a shelter … Europe is a certain idea of ‘der Mensch’, the person… Each person counts. This is the core value of our great civilization, worthy of protection. This is Europe’s message to the world’.
(Herman Count Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, on receiving the Charlemagne Prize, Aachen, 29 May 2014).
Our parents saw their youth disturbed by the second world war, and believed in an open, democratic society in a more integrated and collaborative Europe, and a renaissance of Africa.
Origin of the Fund
There are many needs in our society which require the generosity of citizens and corporations, such as disadvantaged children, protection of cultural heritage, or promotion of fundamental rights. These are the three principal areas the Fund works in.
In addition to funding out of its own means, donations are always helpful to increase its capabilities to support projects in these areas, in both Europe and Africa.
Project proposals are welcome according to the selected priority.
How can one express gratitude for the love and encouragement received from one’s parents? In many ways, for sure. But there comes a time when Alighieri Dante’s observation, in The Inferno, becomes true:
‘There is no greater pain than to remember in bad days, how happy life was in good days.’
Since the earliest civilisations, art has become one way to remember those admired or loved, or both. Keeping their ideals alive is fundamental to remembering. The world which they enjoyed and to which they made their contributions benefits considerably.
Therefore we drew on the opportunity offered by the King Baudouin Foundation of Belgium to establish a permanent Fund which we named after our parents, Joseph Schepers (1922-1962) and Germaine Lijnen (1921 – 2015).
(by Jozef Tysmans, © private collection)
(by Malou Swinnen, © private collection)