Q.1 Why did the Chagnon family create the Foundation ?
Q.2 Why does the Foundation concentrate on preventing poverty by focusing on educational success and childhood development?
Q.3 Why so much interest in mobilizing local and regional actors?
Q.4 What does the Foundation do outside of its partnerships with the government?
Q.5 What have been the Foundation's major acquisitions in terms of knowledge during its first decade of activity? 

Q.1   Why did the Chagnon family create the Foundation?

The Chagnon family's history of social engagement and involvement in volunteer work goes back to the 1960s, with André Chagnon's participation in several charitable organizations, including the Kiwanis Club, Terre-des-Jeunes and Portage. During his time at Vidéotron, André Chagnon also initiated an employment program for people with disabilities and lent his support to many other initiatives, primarily in the areas of education, health, the arts and sports. These many commitments exemplify the values and motivations that eventually led the family to create the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation.

In October 2000, following the transfer of Groupe Vidéotron ltée, André Chagnon, his wife Lucie and their five children decided to devote their time, energy and money to the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation as a way of "giving back" to the people of Quebec. To do so, the family injected $1.4 billion(1) to support a long-term project centred on the prevention of poverty, as the Chagnon family is convinced that poverty is not an inevitability that we are powerless to change.

(1) This figure represents close to 78% of the family's assets.  Learn more



Q.2   Why does the Foundation concentrate on preventing poverty by focusing on educational success and childhood development?

The Foundation's early years were devoted to research and development. A large number of diverse projects led to a decision on the Foundation's orientation and objectives in 2006: preventive intervention from the youngest possible age to improve overall childhood development and educational success.

Educational success is one of the most effective factors for preventing poverty over the long term. In fact, according to recent studies supported by several Quebec actors in the field, educational success is a powerful determinant of income, employment, health, quality of children's education and overall societal development. Since educational success depends on a very wide range of factors(1), the Foundation decided to concentrate its efforts on childhood development from the youngest possible age: ensuring children get a good start in school, encouraging student retention, social participation and healthy lifestyle habits.

The Foundation believes firmly in the importance of promoting the role of parents and families in the overall development of their children in order to encourage their active participation right from birth. Public awareness must also be increased to ensure that childhood development becomes a priority in our society.

Several government, community and philanthropic organizations are working hard to help people who live in poverty. In its role as a philanthropic organization, the Foundation has the possibility and the capacity of making a "complementary" contribution to the field of prevention, as it receives less funding from governments or donations from the public or other philanthropic organizations. 

(1) Factors include social inequality and living conditions, early childhood development, and the personal, family, educational, community and social factors that exist throughout a child's academic career. For more information on this topic, see Forging ahead, in the movement for student retention and academic success in Québec,  pp. 4-6.

 Learn more



Q.3  Why so much interest in mobilizing local and regional actors?

The physical, psychological, cognitive, social and affective development of a child is a very complex undertaking. A single action focused on a specific developmental aspect cannot solve all problems, one intervention alone cannot have an effect on all factors or be universally applied in all milieus.

Consultations throughout Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad have enabled the Foundation to identify the most promising approaches to preventing poverty. They have also shown that social change is often the result of local initiatives(1), which in turn is the most effective way to achieve the most complex objectives.

This approach is most effective when local actors become involved in identifying issues and finding solutions, helping individuals who are involved with children on a daily basis create conditions that are favourable to their development. Local actors include parents (the first educators of their children), educators, teachers, institutions, community organizations, elected representatives, and all decision-makers and stakeholders in various sectors of society. That is why the Foundation invests in consolidating the efforts of local and regional actors, developing their leadership and sharing knowledge. The Foundation considers its philanthropic role is to support these actors.

(1) Examples in the province of Quebec include the creation of Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSCs) and Centres de la petite enfance (CPEs).



Q.4   What does the Foundation do outside of its partnerships with the governement?

The Foundation also supports activities and tools intended to raise awareness of parents (Naître et grandir: a website, magazine and communications campaign) and of the Quebec society in general.

It also provides support to other initiatives:  

  • Projects that  give a voice to the people that are most affected by poverty, including Projet AVEC from the Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté or the Sommet des jeunes in cooperation with the Regroupement des Organismes Autonomes Jeunesse du Québec;
  • Activities that encourage dialogue on questions related to the Foundation's mission (example: Rendez-vous stratégique on "Les inégalités sociales, un choix de société ?" organized by the Institut du Nouveau Monde [INM])­
  • Studies that monitor the development of certain indicators of educational success, such as the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Childhood Development (QLSCD) conducted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec;
  • Innovation projects and support of mobilization efforts, such as Communagir, an organization that accompanies Quebec communities who want to make the changes they consider to be essential for their collective development.


Q.5   What did the Foundation learn during its first decade of activity?

The Foundation has been pursuing its mission of preventing poverty since the year 2000. We are extremely proud of the efforts that have been made and the progress that has been achieved with all our partners in promoting concerted preventive action for the benefit of the children of Quebec and their families.

After its first twelve years of operation, the Foundation reflected on its philanthropic accomplishments. This exercise was supported by various people within the Foundation, and assisted by actors from the research, community and government sectors. Here are a few of our observations:

The validity of the Foundation's fundamental orientations was confirmed:

  • The mission to prevent poverty, targeting educational success as a key factor in preventing poverty was considered to be pertinent by the vast majority of partners and actors.
  • Actions to promote educational success must go beyond individual factors to include living conditions and their determining factors.
  • The strategy that encourages individuals' and communities' ability to act was seen as an approach to be preserved and consolidated.
  • Approaches that promote intersector cooperation and the mobilization of partners should also be maintained and consolidated.

Certain experiences have led us to exchange with various partners and make adjustments to ensure that everything corresponds with the objectives of all parties involved. A few examples:

  • Partnerships with the government represent an innovative approach that is constantly evolving. The concept of bringing groups together from different sectors of society (citizens, parents, institutions, communities, philanthropic organizations, etc.) to tackle complex issues is an emerging idea in Quebec. We must remain open to improving, innovating, breaking down silos and combining our efforts. 
  • The juxtaposition, at the local level, of the planning and support processes related to each of the organizations created with the government (Avenir d'enfants, Québec en Forme and Réunir Réussir) has led to some confusion, a certain amount of duplication, and programs that are incompatible with integrated approaches that have repercussions on certain living conditions. This situation may have given the impression of excessive control. We must therefore strengthen our cohesion and the complementarity of our efforts and investments.
  • Even if evaluation is an invaluable tool for identifying what is working well and what is working less well, it is not easy to precisely evaluate the effects that our support has had in such complex areas as the prevention of poverty, childhood development and educational success. The classic scientific evaluation models or those borrowed from business are inadequate. Furthermore, the Foundation plays a philanthropic role that is complementary to the actions of several different actors (government, civil society, organizations, etc.) at various levels. In this context, it has adopted an evaluation approach that reflects the reality of communities and philanthropic organizations so that it will become a useful tool that is less and less perceived as a surveillance tool or a mechanism for accountability.

In short, the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation continues to evolve within its philanthropic and complementary role with the firm conviction that by combining the efforts of all sectors of our society in a spirit of openness and continuous learning, it will bring together the necessary conditions allowing all Quebec children to succeed in school and in life.


We believe

"We believe" is a short video that uses images to illustrate our constantly renewed desire to prevent poverty for the good of future generations in Quebec.