Merci is a place created in March 2009 in the heart of the historic district of Haut-Marais. Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, founders of BONPOINT the children's fashion label, realized that Paris lacked a place which would bring together the best of the world of fashion, of design, of household goods with welcome refreshment areas.
A business established in the heart of its region and of its country, Merci has already created more than 70 permanent jobs. Merci is, moreover, very pleased to act as a developer or launch-pad to the young designers who, thanks to this sounding-board, can make themselves known to the many customers and international personalities who visit Merci.
Merci is a commercial enterprise "like any other company" founded by shareholders "unlike any other shareholders". The founders decided that the proceeds of this investment would serve to fund an endowment paying for educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.
Bernard and Marie France Cohen wanted to say MERCI to life, MERCI to the talents and to the designers who made this success possible. It is this success which makes their generosity possible.
In 2013, Marie-France Cohen passed on the torch.
The current Merci team has kept up the commitment and the founders’ original dream by contributing year on year to the foundation.
Thanks to our clients who make this project possible.
The endowment fund
The Merci endowment fund was created to finance acts of humanitarian development, particularly in the field of education.
The endowment fund is supported by the profits generated by Merci, by gifts from the Cohen family as well as by outside donors. More than 300,000€ have already been contributed to the fund.
This original idea of entrepreneurial philanthropy is founded on the idea of creating, here in France, a business which, thanks to its success, allows it to guarantee the regular and perennial financing of projects supported by the fund from its subsidies.
To ensure good results for its projects, the fund rely on the experience of specialists in human intervention in hostile situations. ABC Domino is an organization subject to Loi 1901 whose aim is to improve the living conditions of people in extreme conditions, particularly in educational areas (more information on www.abcdomino.org).
The first actions were undertaken from 2010 onwards:
• 2010/2011 : a payment of 35,000€ for the reconstruction and the costs of running the school at Ankilimivony (280 children have been received since the start of the September 2011 term)
• 2012 : the funding (90,000€) of the construction of three buildings in the schools at Ankilimivony, Ankilibory and Ambola, intended to become school canteens in partnership with PAM (World Feeding Programme) organisation, dependent on the UN.
• 2013: The endowment fund raised over 64,000 €, including Merci’s contribution of 47,000 €, for the construction of a primary school in the village of Beltisaka, an embroidery workshop in the Ambola school and a vegetable garden in the Ankilimivony school.
Since the end of 2014, 1000 children receive a well-balanced daily meal in an adapted setting and 1750 children have been enrolled in school. Merci’s contribution in 2014 was 84,023 € out of 135,000 € invested into the endowment fund.
However, its main ambition, in the medium term, remains to make every effort to integrate education into the heart of this micro-region in southwestern Madagascar.