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The SNCF Foundation

All across France, the SNCF Foundation is helping young people build their own futures. With an annual budget of €3 million, the Foundation supports over 600 association projects selected through a network of 23 regional representatives.


Connection: Supporting young people

At the heart of corporate life

Helping others is part of SNCF’s history. Our employees have a long tradition of volunteering with associations and playing an active role in community life, and we share this deep commitment every day. Our values—responsibility, outreach, innovation—inspired us to create the SNCF Foundation in 1995, and our tradition of civic responsibility and support for young people has been its driving force ever since.

Each year the Foundation uses its €3 million budget to back over 600 partnership projects that support young people and help them become independent through knowledge, dialogue, initiative and tolerance. For participants, these projects are a source of new relationships, dialogue and shared responsibility. For SNCF Group and all of our subsidiaries, they are an opportunity to work together toward a common goal.

The SNCF Foundation ecosystem

Every year, the SNCF Foundation supports over 600 associations throughout France, thanks to a regional ecosystem built around:

  • three core projects: Entre les lignes to fight illiteracy; Vivre ensemble en partageant nos différences to help young people open up to others; and Coups de cœur solidaires to encourage SNCF employees to volunteer for their local associations.
  • 19 multi-year partnerships with major networks of associations, including the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the French national literacy agency ANLCI in Lyon, and the Entreprendre pour apprendre federation, present in many regions throughout France.

At the heart of regional life

The SNCF Foundation works in partnership with a robust network of associations, local projects, educators, teachers, elected officials and other stakeholders. In addition, 23 regional representatives act on the Foundation’s behalf, providing local leadership for Entre les lignes, our literacy campaign, and Coups de cœur solidaires, an initiative that encourages SNCF employees to volunteer for their local associations. Finally, the Foundation supports our skill-sharing programme, which allows employees to donate their professional expertise to good causes during working hours.

SNCF CEO Guillaume Pepy: An introduction to the SNCF Foundation

Independence: Fighting for literacy

Illiteracy remains a very real problem for society, affecting some 7% of the population in France, or about 2.5 million people ages 18 to 65. That’s less than the 9% reported in 2005—but still far too many. Which is why the SNCF Foundation is France’s leading literacy donor, investing €1 million annually and supporting 900 projects over the past six years. We renew our commitment to this cause every year, continuing our partnership with the French national literacy agency ANLCI and adding new projects in local communities. Promoting literacy gets children off to a good start by teaching them to love words from the very beginning.

Our literacy programme, Entre les lignes, issues nationwide calls for projects and supports associations that teach students to love words and numbers. In just two years, the SNCF Foundation has created a number of multi-year partnerships and provided funding to 377 association projects across France. Recipients include Quand les livres relient, a group that raises awareness of the importance of reading aloud among a wide range of volunteers and professionals in 18 French regions. Thanks to its efforts, over 150,000 children, teens and families read graphic novels and cartoon books aloud together every year.

SNCF Foundation: A leader in France’s fight against illiteracy

Openness: Fostering respectful co-existence

When people begin spending time together and get out into the community, they learn to celebrate differences—between men and women, between generations and between cultures. The experience enriches each individual and creates a sense of belonging for all, which is why the SNCF Foundation is working with associations that promote outreach. In Paris, for example, young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods are learning about classical music by playing together in an orchestra as part of Démos, a joint project with Cité de la musique. In just four years, some 450 children from around the Paris region have spent time together exploring the classics, and today the Démos youth orchestra has a new goal: recruit 1,000 young people and bring its music of hope to every corner of France.

The Foundation also involves SNCF’s subsidiaries in its programmes, promoting teamwork and a sense of community. Companies across the Group responded to a challenge from the charity SLL (Sète Lorient London), which uses horseback riding to teach disadvantaged French and British youth to develop social skills. As part of SLL’s Caravan of Hope, the young people rode 2,000 km from the Camargue region of France to the UK, where their horses were donated to centres working with disabled youngsters. Eurostar, SNCF Brittany and the SNCF Foundation joined forces in a cross-border partnership that helped make the 2,000-km journey possible.

Initiative: mobility-related entrepreneurship

At SNCF, travel is what we do, and we’re working hard to generate ideas that will create the mobilities of tomorrow—which is why the SNCF Foundation helps young people create businesses that make travel easier.

Over its long history, the Foundation has built a powerful network of regional partners to identify and support associations that give young people a good start in life—including Entreprendre pour Apprendre (EPA), a federation of non-profits with a mini-business programme designed to foster an entrepreneurial mentality in teens. In 2013 both EPA and the SNCF Foundation awarded prizes to E-Nov, a group of teen entrepreneurs who are promoting green mobility with an innovative new stand for bicycles and scooters.

Commitment: Sharing our skills

At SNCF, we encourage our employees to contribute to their communities, and under the Foundation’s skill-sharing programme, SNCF personnel can donate up to 10 days of work time each year to a good cause. This innovative programme was a natural next step, since the connection between our business and the association world benefits both our employees and their chosen associations. “The SNCF Foundation provides financial support to associations, and our skill-sharing programme goes even further by contributing the expertise of employees from 150 different lines of work,” says SNCF CEO Guillaume Pepy. “Skill-sharing is fast becoming a Group project.” Between now and 2016, up to 1,000 SNCF volunteers can contribute their skills to one of our 50 partner associations, or help a young person succeed in business or in school.

Consider Oliver: he works in SNCF’s Purchasing Division and volunteers with a French non-profit,  contributing his IT expertise and helping the organization expand its Intranet. “My colleagues at SNCF are very interested when I tell them about it, and if the programme grows, it could create a lot of connections within the Group.”

Learn more about our skill-sharing programme