Established in 1971, the Adrienne & Pierre Sommer Foundation is a French non-profit organization that provides funding for HAI programs, research, and learning at healthcare, social service, educational, and correctional institutions throughout France.
History and mission
Industrialists from northeastern France, Pierre Sommer (1909-2002) and his wife, Adrienne (1902-2003) shared two passions: people and animals. In 1971, they brought these interests together by creating the Foundation that bears their name and dedicating it to the development of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and human-animal interaction (HAI).
The Foundation’s current mission is threefold. Pursuing the founders’ initial goal of raising children’s awareness of animals, the A & P Sommer Foundation designs and distributes learning materials to French schools and educational programs. It also provides funding for child-oriented exhibits, workshops, and special events.
The Foundation’s second mission is to support animal-assisted interventions in social welfare and healthcare sectors. Indeed, involving animals can effectively enhance therapies and programs for handicapped children and adults, troubled youth, dependent seniors, and even prisoners and prison staff. To this end, the Foundation provides public and private establishments with funding for approximately 60 initiatives every year, for a total of 700 since 2003.
The Foundation’s third mission is to further HAI research and knowledge. It does so though research grants, academic awards, and national and international conferences.
The A & P Sommer Foundation is financially independent and has operated under the auspices of the Fondation de France, the country’s leading umbrella for philanthropic organizations, since 1984.