In Paris, grand opening of a philanthropic laboratory

The Philanthro Lab, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.

A unique place in the world

Thursday, September 30, Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, Valérie Pécresse, president of the Ile-de-France regional council, both candidates for the 2022 presidential election, and Gabriel Attal, government spokesperson, have an appointment at the 15, rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5e district of Paris. The reason for this three-way meeting? The inauguration of a unique place in France and in the world: the Philanthro-Lab. Billionaire having made his fortune as a real estate developer, Philippe Journo bought the Hôtel de la Bûcherie as part of the international Réinventer Paris competition, launched by the City in November 2014, to make it a space entirely devoted to the promotion of philanthropy .

An old school of surgery

Oh XIVe century, Parisians came to the port aux bûches, on the banks of the Seine (hence the name of the street), to obtain firewood. “Tradition wanted the Parisians to bring their spoiled meat at the same time, which was then boiled and salted on the spot to be given to the poor.” We thought it was the philanthropy of the Middle Ages, let’s invent that of the XXIe century “, explains Philippe Journo. Three centuries later, the Hôtel de la Bûcherie will become, by its proximity to the Hôtel-Dieu and Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, the first school of surgery, where the first dissection courses were held in Paris. In order to preserve the soul of the building and make it modern, Philippe Journo is embarking on a major renovation. On the ground floor, the room of columns gives access to the rotunda, still overhung with entablatures on which are carved the symbols of medicine.

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A founder sensitized to donation

Born in Tunisia to a father who was a small merchant and a mother who was a teacher, Philippe Journo embarked on entrepreneurship with 500,000 francs loaned by his parents. In 1989, the Compagnie de Phalsbourg was born. He made the suburbs and outskirts of cities his hobbyhorse, and specializes in particular in the design of shopping centers. Very early on, he swears to have been sensitized to philanthropy. “My sister is blind. So I understood very young the importance of these ladies who, on a voluntary basis, came to read law books to her so that she could learn and become a teacher.. » It is accompanied by his wife, Karine Journo, that the businessman is developing this new project. Originally from Nice, his wife has, since her childhood, donated her time to various causes. For her, “In France, the donation is not yet anchored in the general state of mind”.

A social projects incubator

“Philanthropy is helping without expecting anything in return. It is different from sponsorship, which only encompasses the financial aspect ”, assures Philippe Journo. Despite the health crisis, it welcomes the first batch of residents in September 2020. “The Philanthro-Lab provided us with courses on taxation, governance, digital communication …”, says Agnès Cossolini, founder and general delegate of Ikigaï – an association working for the inclusion in society of children with autism -, who benefited from the program. For other players who wish to take advantage of the environment, a coworking formula is also available, with a wide range of infrastructures (offices, meeting rooms, media studio, library, etc.).