One of them is to make these monuments accessible to the greatest number of people, particularly among priority groups, which includes those living far away from institutional culture or with disabilities. The organization also contributes to artistic and cultural education policy, in particular by receiving many school audiences. I found that its mission and priorities corresponded to the simple and strong values of SOLUTYS: respect, solidarity, and commitment.
Gilles: Was it difficult to start the Foundation?
Eric: From the very beginning of the Foundation's creation, I involved all SOLUTYS Group's collaborators in order to create an emulation around the project and to allow everyone to take ownership of it. For example, the SOLUTYS Foundation supports an association founded by one of the SOLUTYS Group employees. The mission of this association, “Cycles et Solidarité”, is to promote greater equality of access to education and schooling for children and students in Southeast Asia. Each year the association focuses its actions on a region of a country in this area of Southeast Asia.
Outside the SOLUTYS Foundation, I have a personal project, also related to the conservation of cultural heritage, in the restoration of the Château de Briord. I want help to ensure that its beauty and history are not diminished and that it will endure from generation to generation.
Gilles: What steps have you taken to ensure consistent community outreach efforts during recent times of crisis?
Eric: Internally, we communicate regularly on the actions we are carrying out, during general assemblies, and on our intranet. When we have an inaugural event with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, we invite our nearby colleagues to the site. We also regularly invite our customers, partners, or anyone who is part of the SOLUTYS ecosystem to participate in our community projects.
Gilles: How do you measure success?
Eric: Our success is measured by the testimonies we receive from our collaborators, partners and clients. When people tell us about a project or an action that we have carried out through the SOLUTYS Foundation, especially years later, it brings real satisfaction. Since we have been working with Centre des Monuments Nationaux, we have had the feeling that we are creating ambassadors for our heritage, and I consider this to be a success and a demonstration of the usefulness of the Foundation. In addition, since we have been working with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, the number of visitors to the sites has increased, more on-site conferences have been organised, and school groups have come in greater numbers, as have more people with disabilities.
Gilles: Have you found it more challenging to make an impact on such a large scale as a smaller company?
Eric: We’ve had partners such as the Centre des Monuments Nationaux involved with our efforts from the outset in different ways. The Centre specifically chose to make the SOLUTYS Foundation one of its sponsors. Its team appreciates the fact that we are committed to their mission for the long term. From a human resources point of view, we do not have a team dedicated to the Foundation. Some people may be surprised to hear that. But it’s true. The people who take care of the SOLUTYS Foundation, including Alicia, have other roles within SOLUTYS Group, so their work with the Foundation is extracurricular in a way. But that’s what makes the Foundation so special. The people volunteering their time to support our projects are doing so because they really care about the Foundation’s mission and the mission of the community organizations we’re supporting. They want to make the world a better place and facilitate that transfer of knowledge between the past and the future and across cultures.
Just look at the positive impact they’re having: