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a micro-donation project to help the homeless

Published on

4 Sep 2020

It was during a PIR (Project Innovation Research) carried out in the second year that the project to directly help the homeless by providing them with financial aid was born. Today Tirelires d’Avenir allows to finance allowances for young people in situation of family rupture in the street.

Co-created by Benoit Floquet, then an engineering student at ISAE-SUPAERO, Tirelires d’Avenir received an entrepreneurship grant from the Foundation in 2019.


Tirelires d’Avenir is a project of micro-donations to finance allowances for young people in a situation of family breakdown on the street. This should help to secure their future in conjunction with psycho-social support offered by our partner associations.

The story began with the “Research Innovation Project” (PIR), conducted during my second year at ISAE-SUPAERO. The goal was to directly help the homeless by providing them with financial assistance. During my end-of-year internship at Polytechnique, I decided to relaunch this project, which had been put on hold during my year of study. During a coaching program at Makesense, I met Louis who later became my partner. His project was about micro-donations in restaurants to finance associations.

So the Tirelires d’Avenir project was born in July 2019 after meeting my partner Louis. We conducted a deep field exploration between July and November 2019. In December we started the legal structuring of our project, in January/February we formalized our first partnerships and in March we started our activity despite the beginning of the confinement.
Finally, we found ourselves around a common cause: mobilization and citizen engagement to address homelessness. This is why we went directly to the field for several months to meet with street people, associations, communities and citizens.


We made a major discovery: of the 150,000 homeless people in France, 40% of them have been through the Child Protection system. However, when these young people come of age, they can no longer benefit from it. There is then no more state-led support or real financial aid. These people are therefore faced with a situation of great fragility between the ages of 18 and 25, the age at which it is possible to obtain the RSA.

From then on, our goal was not to treat the symptoms of homelessness, but to get to the root of the problem. We have chosen to find an innovative way of financing in order not to depend on subsidies or even the tax exemption system. Thus, the micro-donation system has been selected with partner restaurants. The system works at the time of payment of the bill, at this moment the customers have the choice to make a donation of a few cents for our association.

Afterwards, a decisive meeting took place with LE REFUGE. It is an association that helps young LGBT people between 18 and 25 years old by offering them accommodation solutions. The St. Louis County Council and I met with their youth and their social workers. We worked together to validate our financial aid project to support these young people aged 18 to 25.

The partnership with Le REFUGE was formalized during our meeting with Nicolas NOGUIER, founder of the association. Very supportive and involved in our project, we work together to set up the selection and follow-up processes of the young people with the social workers of the association. At the same time, Louis and I take care of raising the necessary funds to finance the allowances while the Refuge manages the psycho-social support of our beneficiaries. This allowance is intended to get young people out of emergency situations by providing them with financial security to help them focus on their life plans.


At the restaurant level, canvassing began in September. We approached the Big Mamma group, which has set up a micro-donation system in one of their restaurants. These exchanges allowed us to validate the feasibility of our project in the specific context of the restaurant industry. Later in December, the first Imago Restoration Partner was found. This restaurant agreed to join our project and to be the laboratory. This will allow us to test several aspects of our solution and make some adjustments afterwards.

We also met with the CEO of Tiller System, a start-up that has implemented a touch-sensitive cash register system combined with accounting management in the restaurant world. He was seduced by our project and decided to help set up the micro-donation in the many restaurants using his technological solution. In particular, he would like to start with our partner Imago.

In parallel with our progress on the modalities of the distribution of the allowance and the collection in restaurants, several meetings took place, bringing credibility to our project. We have obtained, for example, the support of Elina Dumont and Lyes Louffok, two recognized and mediatized activists in child protection.

From January the project started to really take life. Thanks to the support of the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation, we were able to finance the creation of our legal statutes with the FINACOOP firm, which specializes in legal support for SSE structures. We also launched the creation of our graphic charter which allowed us to launch the communication on our networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) as well as on our website.

Once the structure was declared to the prefecture, we were able to sign the partnership with the LE REFUGE Foundation, which allowed us to have a renowned actor on our side and thus to gain credibility. In the wake of this, we signed a second partnership agreement with a major player in child protection, the LES APPRENTIS D’AUTEUIL Foundation.


With so much good news, we entered March with a lot of confidence. And then the Covid epidemic happened… It’s simple, the lockdown fell the week we were to both launch the collection at our first restaurant and organize the first selection committee to determine which REFUGE youth we would financially support. We had thought for several weeks with the restaurant IMAGO to integrate our communication in their restaurant… We had also mobilized several experts from the social world to participate in our committee… All that fell through in a week…

Following this big stop in the launch of our activity, we took a few days to rethink the project during the time of confinement. First of all, we made an inventory of the needs of the young people of the REFUGE. They were all housed, fed thanks to the help of the Food Bank and above all they had no expenses to finance since all their projects were stopped. We were not in a hurry to finance these young people which gave us all the more means to think about an alternative for the collection. Indeed, with the restaurants closed, we simply did not have any more partners to approach. We hesitated to turn to online fundraising for a short while but, in view of the multiplication of these to help the health care workers, we thought it was better not to compete with the health care effort. Above all, we wanted to keep the collection system close to what we want to set up with the restaurants. That’s why we decided to canvass food businesses that remained open during the lockdown.

In April we succeeded in setting up a first partnership with the farmer’s store LES SAISONNIERS. This store sells products from local and peasant agriculture. We made this choice firstly because we know the founder and secondly because this type of business is interesting. Indeed, the people who come to shop in this type of store are already aware of the importance of responsible consumption and we therefore felt that customers would be more interested in our project. This hypothesis proved to be true since from the very first month of collection and despite communication materials made with the means at hand (the printing houses were all closed during the confinement) we managed to collect more than 350 micro-donations! Moreover, we took the time to talk with some of the customers and we felt a real interest in the Tirelires d’Avenir project. Most of them were not aware of the issue and were touched by the stories of the young people we work with. For those of them who were already familiar with the situation, they appreciated the fact that they could make a gesture towards these young people in the simplest of ways: by doing their shopping!


A first beneficiary

Also during the month of April, we came to the aid of our first young beneficiary. This was possible thanks to the reserve fund that we set up with the grant from the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation. Indeed, in April we were just starting to collect micro-donations and without this grant we would not have been able to respond to this urgent request from the Auteuil Apprentices. The youth we helped was in a high-risk situation. In the middle of a confinement, Sacha, 22 years old, student in Bac Pro Cuisine, is threatened to be put on the street by his host if he does not pay the rent. Normally, he does odd jobs on weekends to pay the rent, but with the confinement, he has no income. We gave him a 200€/month aid during the two months of confinement so that Sacha could pay his rent and stay focused on his future.

At the end of April, in order to anticipate the release from confinement and the emergency that the young people of the Refuge would have to face, we organized our first selection committee by videoconference. We were able to bring together several experts in the social sector. In particular, we had the director of La Touline, a program that accompanies ASE graduates between the ages of 18 and 25, a social worker specializing in child protection, a person who has worked for the DAS and is now a social affairs advisor for the Ile-de-France region, a person who works in a professional reintegration company, and finally a former REFUGE youth. The jury’s mission was to evaluate the situation of the 4 young people using a grid and criteria that we had developed beforehand. At the end of this jury, we decided to help the 4 young people so much their situation requires a support of our part.
We have paid the first aids in May. For example, we supported two young people who had significant medical expenses to pay and who were not yet attached to a complementary health plan. Getting healthy has helped motivate them to look for work. The first one got a permanent job and the second one is on her way to find a job! We also supported a young person in the purchase of his professional equipment which allowed him to start his activity and thus to receive an income! The last person assisted was awaiting his asylum application. We provided her with assistance to support herself while she waits for her refugee status, which allows her to work legally. We received the good news later (in June): his status was accepted!


Acting for a better world

I have been working full time on the TIRELIRES D’AVENIR project for ten months now and I am convinced that I have had the best year of my life. During my studies at ISAE-SUPAERO I started to be aware of the issues of our society and it is really during my internship that I started to act. I have organized numerous food distributions, I helped a homeless person get off the street and I have set up an association to fight against the causes of homelessness. I am certain that I have found my path, that of a committed entrepreneur who uses his skills to build a better world. I am also touched by the fact that I have inspired a lot of people around me, whether it is to give me a hand, to join me in my different projects or to ask for my experience to help them set up their own project.

I met a lot of people during this wonderful year, the meetings that will have the most impact on me are those with the street people. I learned how resilient they were and how resilient I need to be. That’s why no matter what happens with Shoots of the Future, I know I’ll be working on other positive impact projects.