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The Air Liquide Foundation on the front line

Since 2008, the Air Liquide Foundation has supported several projects in two main areas: scientific research and local development. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it contacted its partners — including research bodies and non-profit organizations — to offer them emergency assistance.

Perspectives on this exceptional mobilization with Professor Pierre Carli (doctor, Medical Director of the Paris SAMU medical emergency services and Volunteer Director of the Air Liquide Foundation) and Bruno Rostaing-Capaillan (shareholder, shareholder representative for the Foundation Project Selection Committee):

Driving research forward

“We were faced with an unknown infectious disease whose target was mainly respiratory” explains Professor Pierre Carli, a doctor, Medical Director of the Paris SAMU medical emergency services, and Volunteer Director of the Air Liquide Foundation. And respiratory diseases are one of the main focuses of the scientific corporate philanthropy supported by the Air Liquide Foundation. Better understanding the virus and its transmission modes, improving patient care and determining long term effects on lungs. There are still many aspects that need further study. “The need for research is tremendous and it was clear that the Air Liquide Foundation had to contribute,” underlines Professor Carli.

Rapid and efficient commitment

In order to select the projects it will support, the Air Liquide Foundation applies a rigorous selection process. The pace of this process was stepped up considerably due to the urgent nature of the crisis, while maintaining high quality standards. The Foundation demonstrated its responsiveness by immediately contacting all of the organizations it supports to discuss their needs facing this crisis, but also by increasing the number of new project selection committee meetings held via video-conference. To date, support for ten research projects focusing on the modes of transmission of the virus, its diagnosis, treatments and care protocols has already been approved, and emergency aid has also been awarded to 21 projects supporting vulnerable populations impacted by the consequences of the pandemic.

In partnership with shareholders

The Foundation’s Project Selection Committee includes a representative from the Shareholders’ Communication Committee (SCC). “Air Liquide provides its shareholders with the opportunity to be an additional driving force,” adds Bruno Rostaing-Capaillan, currently representing shareholders within the Foundation. An inclusive approach which promotes the diversity of the projects financed and underlines, according to Pierre Carli, “the power of collective discussions which help push the agenda of subjects that are ultimately in everyone’s interest.”

Support vulnerable populations in their fight against the pandemic

Among the 21 beneficiaries of the Air Liquide Foundation’s emergency aid package was the Renato Piatti Foundation in Italy, which supports disabled people. Testimony by Maurizio Ferrari, in charge of fundraising and communication:

“The Renato Piatti Foundation manages 16 facilities which welcome almost 500 people with disabilities aged 2 to 80. We support these individuals on a daily basis, and when the pandemic struck it was essential to maintain our activities at as many of our facilities as possible.
In addition to practical organizational challenges, continuing to provide our services meant additional costs to source the necessary protective equipment (masks, hydro-alcoholic gels, etc.), which was a challenge in itself! The Air Liquide Foundation helped us to procure this protective equipment. Their support was a ray of light during this dark period, and a sign of closeness despite the public health measures that kept us apart.”

Article published on September 08, 2020