The Fund has been given three objectives within the priority areas of the Foundation and the interests of our parents, and indeed our own:
I. Their Fund will provide support to projects and initiatives for the education, health and social integration of children who grow up in precarious circumstances or who suffer from physical or mental restriction.
‘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 also thought that good education was the basis for a good life, and that vulnerable children needed special attention to give them equal chances.
II. Their Fund aims to protect, conserve and value cultural heritage, in particular the visual arts, with a focus on painting, drawing and photography; literature, with a focus on poetry; and music, with a focus on opera and similar musical expressions.
‘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.
III. Their Fund will help projects and initiatives which aim to improve and adapt to society’s evolution, those forms of governance which focus on the Common Good, as developed in Europe since Enlightenment, namely democracy, civil and human rights, and a socially corrected market economy.
‘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.
The Fund will draw on its entire means in Belgium, our home country, and in Europe, our civilization.
A share is reserved for Africa, in line with the King Baudouin Foundation’s scope and Belgian’s historic links, and because mother and we acquired deep affection for it when living there in winter time.