Interview with Xavier Debendère, Aldus Leaf

8 July 2015

This week we made the interview of Xavier Debendère, the director of Aldus Leaf our new incubate society.


Can you talk to us about your professional career?

My professional experience is rather unusual, since I am a classical violinist and studied art history. I ultimately decided on creating a communication agency at the age of 23 with my wife. At first, our agency specialized in the cultural field; it later expanded in becoming a cultural magazine publishing firm. After fifteen years of activity in a time of recession, I decided to work towards another a field called corporate patronage which interest me and which I had some contact with when working with the agency. I then studied at the Université Catholique de Lille, one of the biggest private universities in France with more than 25,000 students enrolled. The University is known for its curriculum in the field or private and corporate patronage. Afterwards, I was involved in external relations and university project funding, as an adviser for the university president. After having met different people, I decided to return to my previous plan of creating another business; AldusLeaf was created during the summer of 2014. This firm is a logical extension of my previous work experiences, since we work mainly in the field of philanthropic consulting.

What is exactly a philanthropic consulting?

Philanthropy is fast-developing in France, considering the gradual withdrawal of the State from certain fields such as culture or research. However, we were a decade behind in this field compare to English speaking countries. Philanthropic consulting involves trying developing this practice and promoting it. First and foremost, we assist philanthropists, which are rather called sponsors or donors, although the term philanthropy is more general than just sponsoring. Secondly, we advise and guide major players of the philanthropy world such as foundations.

Can you briefly describe your daily job?

The aim is to guide donors and sponsors, both individuals and businesses in their philanthropic initiatives. It consists in presenting them projects in compliance with their area of interest, values, and audience. We work to ensure correct the use of community funds donated and the proper development for supported projects. We have also an advisory role to help in tax matters and help develop tools in the philanthropy field for foundation or endowment funds. Finally, we create a social network grouping together other philanthropists. The important concept of our activitity is to evaluate projects that we present to our customers. We are considered to be a “link” between the project initiators and those who have the means to sponsor.

What made you decide to do business in Cambodia? What goals would you like to achieve in this country?

In many aspects, in Cambodia, the French language and influence still live strong today. For this reason, France still maintains close ties with this country. Moreover, many of our sponsors already support certain local organizations in early childhood care and education. Through negotiation with the Confluences firm, we have decided to organize a field study – by Helene Verrue, incubated at Confluence. This is to evaluate the needs and possibility to build a stronger relationship between these two countries with different cultures, and among philanthropists as well as NGOs. This experience is exhilarating. Hopefully, it will allow us to see our customers support local organizations that we pre-assessed. This job can also allow us to establish a strong foundation for other forms of collaborations between France and Cambodia. AldusLeaf would be thrilled to be part of this initiation.



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Contact of Aldus Leaf in Cambodia : Miss Hélène Verrue,

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