PARIS — As French luxury group Kering celebrates its 60th anniversary, its charitable arm revealed Wednesday that it is extending the scope of its actions to combating violence against children.
Created in 2008, the Kering Foundation has focused on fighting violence against women. During this time it has supported 1 million women survivors and 100 organizations around the world.
“In 2008, we knew that to protect women from violence, we needed to also protect their children. Over the course of our 15 years of action, we have also learned that protecting and caring for children is a fundamental lever for preventing violence in adulthood,” Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault said in a statement.
“Today, it seems natural, and, above all, necessary to commit ourselves to focusing on both levels in order to strengthen our impact. More than ever, this area of intervention and those who work in it need major support to break not only the taboo surrounding this issue, but also the cycle of intergenerational violence,” added Pinault, who is also chairman of the Kering Foundation.
At an event in Paris on Tuesday, the executive thanked partner nongovernmental organizations and cultural institutions for their ongoing support. “The responsibility of large groups like Kering must not and cannot end at the final line of their balance sheet. As large groups, we have an extraordinary influence and that is why we must be part of the solutions to the major problems of our society,” he said.
The foundation cited figures suggesting that sexual violence against children and incest, like gender-based violence, are extremely widespread, affecting all cultures and social classes. According to the World Health Organization, one in five women and one in 10 men have been sexually abused in their lifetime. In 80 percent of cases, incest is involved, it said.
The foundation started supporting children affected by abuse in 2019. It’s already working with La Maison des Femmes, an intake program that is part of the French hospital system which serves women in Paris and surrounding areas, and Face à l’Inceste, a French child protection association dedicated to combating incest.
It has also partnered with the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and its Project DOT (Dream, Own, Tell), which deals with sexual violence against teenagers from marginalized communities.
In parallel, Kering said it was changing the status of its corporate foundation to an endowment fund, a move designed to give it and its brands — which include Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga — greater flexibility to raise and allocate funds.
Balenciaga and the Kering Foundation revealed in February they had joined forces with the National Children’s Alliance for a three-year program. Balenciaga last week sponsored a billboard in New York City’s Times Square to bring awareness to the U.S.-based association.
The partnership came on the heels of the advertising scandal in late 2022 that saw the French fashion house, creatives involved in the visuals and even its famous fans engulfed in a wave of outrage.