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“The Rescue & Recover Fund gives your generosity extra impact”: BNP Paribas triples your donations for Giving Tuesday

2022 has seen multiple upheavals but it is also the year that marked the tenth anniversary of the BNP Paribas Rescue & Recover Fund (RRF). To mark “Giving Tuesday”, which sees donations from BNP Paribas customers and staff made between UTC+1 noon on Monday 28 November and midnight on Tuesday 29 November tripled by the Group, we met Sébastien Baijard, Head of the RRF. He told us about the first decade of this innovative tool and the challenges ahead.

Giving Tuesday: the RRF triples your donations to support refugees!

To mark Giving Tuesday, each individual donation (employee or retired employee of BNP Paribas, customer of the Bank in France) made between UTC+1 noon on Monday 28 November and midnight on Tuesday 29 November through the Rescue & Recover Fund will be tripled – and not doubled! – by BNP Paribas. Since the operating costs of the endowment fund are entirely covered by BNP Paribas, for a donation of €100, a sum of €300 (rather than the usual €200) will be donated to the operation’s NGO partners, namely CARE, MSF and the Red Cross.

If you forgot or lost your login details, write to fondsdedotation [at] bnpparibas (dot) com

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Can you remind us what led to the creation of the Rescue & Recover Fund in 2012? 

The Rescue & Recover Fund – or RRF – stemmed from the desire of employees to help victims of disasters, such as the tsunami in Japan in 2011. In response to such events, a fundraising was organised quickly, supported by the Group, but without any dedicated structure, tool or resources... The BNP Paribas Foundation then centralised donations by cheque, which was really complicated because the emergency efforts absolutely need a proper framework. So, in 2012 we decided to create an endowment fund for emergency fundraising, in the event of a humanitarian disaster. Legally independent of the Group, it benefits from a system whereby donations are fully matched by BNP Paribas – meaning they are effectively doubled. This procedure was unique at the time… and remains so today! 

The RRF currently has 4 partners, 3 of which have been involved from the outset. Can you tell us more about them and how you work together?

Since it was set up, the RRF has chosen to support a small number of partners, to avoid diluting its impact. Our long-standing NGO partners are Doctors Without Borders (or MSF, for “Médecins Sans Frontières”), CARE and the Red Cross, chosen for their complementary action to cover needs from A to Z. In simple terms, the Red Cross intervenes for shelter and emergency responses, MSF for short- and long-term medical care – beyond its direct impacts, a disaster will generally worsen health conditions over time – and CARE for the provision of basic necessities. In ten years, we have set up processes enabling us to usually intervene within 48 hours. Today, we are among the leading funders of emergency responses, because we have set ourselves the goal of disbursing the funds collected within thirty days - this is often done within a fortnight, a speed which institutions, especially state ones, can hardly match. NGOs travel out as soon as the disaster is notified and must therefore advance the costs: it is therefore crucial that they receive the funds very quickly. 

“it was the employees who challenged us: why weren't we intervening?”

You added IFAW as a fourth partner alongside CARE, MSF and the Red Cross?

We signed a partnership in September 2020 with IFAW, that stands for “International Fund for Animal Welfare”. Here again, it was the employees who challenged us, especially during the major fires in Australia. There was a massive impact on the fauna and flora so why didn’t we intervene? IFAW’s work is very complementary to that done by CARE, MSF and the Red Cross. For example, during a climate disaster, IFAW will intervene to help farmers recover their livestock, care for the animals and resume their activity. This allows genuine resilience, by limiting dependence on humanitarian supplies. It’s not something you would think of spontaneously, but IFAW also intervened in Ukraine, to help people who had fled with their pets and found themselves stranded at the border because European and Ukrainian veterinary standards were different. When you have left everything behind, being able to keep your cat or dog can give you a big psychological boost.

How do you see the future of the RRF as it enters its second decade? 

I’ve been at the head of RRF for five years and have witnessed a gradual change in the type of disasters we face. In its early days, the RRF intervened on a seasonal and cyclical basis, for instance, to cover recurrent cyclones; now climate events are becoming increasingly violent, unexpected and common, including in zones which were previously more or less spared. The summer of 2022 left its mark, showing that no-one is immune to climate change, which greatly affects the humanitarian response. We are talking about the first climate refugees and this subject will unfortunately become very prevalent. For the RRF, our challenge is how to remain an innovative tool, capable of helping our NGO partners to adapt so as to respond to increasingly frequent and intense crises? 

“it is common for people who are retiring to ask their colleagues to make donations to the RRF as a leaving gift. Here we are at the heart of the matter: people first. ”

We are publishing this interview on the occasion of Giving Tuesday. Can you tell us more about this initiative?

At the end of each year, we carry out a campaign to appeal for donations on a humanitarian issue that has slipped out of the headlines – what we call a “forgotten crisis”. This year, we are focusing on helping refugees, a BNP Paribas commitment for years. In 2013, when people first began fleeing Syria and Libya, our partners alerted the RRF, which was one of the first funds to raise the alarm. This led to the creation of the BNP Paribas Foundation’s refugee programme. Nine years later, the question is unfortunately still relevant: the last few months have shown us that such a crisis can occur anywhere, even in Europe. In concrete terms, the donations collected by the end of 2022 will allow the Red Cross to help refugees in France, in particular Ukrainians; CARE will intervene in Lebanon; MSF in Bangladesh. We are launching the campaign for Giving Tuesday, the International Day of Generosity: the Group is tripling the donations instead of doubling them – the leverage effect, normally from 1 to 6 in France, becomes 1 to 9! By giving 100 euros, a person taxed in France will only pay 34 euros in the end… but with the contribution of BNP Paribas, 300 euros will go to our partner NGOs. In 2012-2013, the amounts given with matching contributions were around 300,000 to 400,000 euros per year, while today we have high hopes of exceeding 7 million euros by 2022... This gives extra impact to the generosity of donors and especially that of Group employees! 

These notions of generosity and community are at the heart of the RRF model...

That's right: the RRF is above all a tool to foster generosity. We like to say that it allows us to deploy the generosity that unites us and that’s true, this notion that drops of water make an ocean... Our fund is multifaceted, and everyone can get involved. We have a general e-mail address to which all employees can write to share comments or suggestions, and these are really important to us. Beyond the fundraising actions that we organise with RRF, the Group’s entities regularly launch special operations with their staff or their customers. Commercial actions, sporting challenges, development of financial products... At the start of 2018, all this represented just 5% of the fundraising activities, but today it accounts for a third of the total! One last example that is very revealing of this enthusiasm: it is common for people who are retiring or moving to a new entity to ask their colleagues to make donations to the RRF as a leaving gift. Here we are at the heart of the matter, in other words, people first. 

Find Sébastien Baijard on LinkedIn

The Rescue & Recover Fund in 3 figures


partners: CARE, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and IFAW




of field actions financed in 10 years

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