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BNP Paribas launches Dream Up, an international education programme designed to enable 30,000 underprivileged youngsters in 26 countries to pursue an artistic activity over three years


In 2012, the BNP Paribas Foundation began a test phase of this Corporate Philanthropy programme under the name Smart Start.

Running in eight European and four Asian countries, Smart Start provided assistance to 7,000 youngsters over a three-year period (2012-2014). Following the success of the pilot phase, the BNP Paribas Foundation has now decided to make this educational programme the flagship of its international Social Inclusion policy, extending it to 26 countries[1] all over the world under the name “Dream Up”.

BNP Paribas Foundation Chief Executive Jean-Jacques Goron underlines: “Practising an artistic discipline, of whatever kind, enables children and adolescents to become more aware of their own abilities. It’s an excellent way to help them make sense of the world around them and find their place in it. Theatre performance for instance gives them a chance to face the public and experience practical coexistence with others in a collective project that requires both personal involvement and respect for others if it is to succeed. Art is a wonderful means of personal development for these young people.”


This Arts-based education programme will enable more than 30,000 youngsters all over the world to receive training and practice over three school years in such disciplines as music, dance, theatre, circus arts, the plastic arts, photography and video-making.

BNP Paribas staff working in each of the countries where the Group has an establishment have selected some thirty projects run by non-profit organisations. They identified local charities running the most suitable activities, i.e. those which demonstrate a close fit with the aims and objectives of Dream Up. The basic aims of the programme are: to promote equality of opportunity; to offer young people the chance to learn – or further develop their skills in – an artistic discipline; and also to encourage BNP Paribas staff to get involved in the projects on a volunteer basis.

To be eligible for a Dream Up grant, a project must be designed to benefit children or teenagers, 5 to 18 years old, who come from an underprivileged background, live with a specific handicap or are failing in their schooling, and must be running in a town or neighbourhood close to a BNP Paribas Group establishment so as to give local Group staff the opportunity to get involved in the project activities. Jean-Jacques Goron points out: “It’s part of BNP Paribas Foundation policy to provide support to each project for at least three years. We believe that Corporate Philanthropy should take a long-term approach. It takes time to get to know the organisations, find the right ideas and set up the necessary procedures. This is about real partnership.” As with the pilot phase, each of the selected projects will receive a grant of €20,000 per year over three years.


Priority has been given to projects likely to have a positive impact on the youngsters’ schooling, especially in terms of improving their school attendance and helping them to make real progress. All the projects being supported under the Dream Up programme will enable the young participants to learn about and practice one or more Arts activities on a regular basis. They will also put on at least one public showing or performance, such as a video screening, a concert, dance or circus arts performance or festival, in front of their families, friends and loved ones, plus sometimes also artists or professionals in the chosen field.


The projects being supported under Dream Up include, among other initiatives, music lessons culminating in a public performance by children from the Monte Azul favela in Sao Paulo, Brazil; training in understanding visual imagery for French youngsters; singing lessons for Turkish teenagers; and learning to act Shakespearian plays for young South Africans in Johannesburg, but the basic objective is always the same: to open new horizons for underprivileged or marginalised youngsters, encourage them to pursue a dream and build a life for themselves.

The lessons and workshops may take place in school hours, at weekends or during the vacation and may be held at the school or college, on the premises of the charitable organisation running the project, or even in the paediatric department of a hospital. Explains Jean-Jacques Goron: “We’ve given priority to projects that focus on getting the youngsters to open up to arts and culture. To take an example, in Singapore we came across a non-profit called the Little Arts Academy, which offers children multi-disciplinary artistic training. The approach – giving kids the opportunity to ‘try out’ different activities before deciding what they like best and where their talents lie – really appealed to us. We’ll also be supporting, under Dream Up, a San Francisco ballet school project that enables young people threatened with social marginalisation to train in modern dance.”

Almost all the Dream Up projects will commence simultaneously this month.

To view video clips from the Dream Up programme

About the BNP Paribas Foundation

Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for 30 years. It is also encouraging and contributing to the BNP Paribas’ philanthropic policy growth in all parts of the world where the Group does business.

The BNP Paribas Foundation’s activities are aimed at promoting innovative projects dedicated to culture, social inclusion and the environment. It is paying close attention to provide optimal support to its partners, through a long-term commitment. Dialogue, loyal support and a relationship based on trust are the hallmarks of its involvement.

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas has a presence in 75 countries with more than 185,000 employees, including 145,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its two core activities: Retail Banking & Services (comprised of Domestic Markets and International Financial Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across Mediterranean basin countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia-Pacific.


[1] Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Republic of South Africa, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, USA.