Established as a cornerstone of business strategy in 1991, LVMH corporate philanthropy benefits the environment, youth, public health, and arts and culture. Beyond philanthropy, LVMH pursues initiatives inspired to help marginalized or vulnerable groups in communities around the world.

While social responsibility has been ingrained in the corporate culture for nearly twenty-five years, the Fondation Louis Vuitton was formed at the request of Bernard Arnault {Chairman and CEO of LVMH} in 2006. The Fondation’s aim: to promote and support contemporary artistic creation. The new museum, designed by the American architect Frank Gehry, is consistent with the policy of art and cultural patronage that LVMH and the Group’s companies have pursued as a business strategy over the past two decades.

Support for the arts and culture figures at the very heart of our business model. Right from the creation of our Group, I made it clear that this is a strategic priority for our development. This commitment embodies the values our Houses all share – savoir-faire, excellence and creativity – and anchors them in their artistic, cultural and social environment.

-Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH

Featured on a recent cover of Architectural Digest, the new museum is itself a masterpiece. Guests arrive via a special, 100%-electric shuttle traveling from a cross street near the Arc de Triomphe. Inside, visitors are treated to 20th century works on loan from collections around the world that established the foundations of modernity, including the first version of Edvard Munsch’s seminal work, The Scream; Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man I; No. 46 by Mark Rothko; Picasso’s Woman with Yellow Hair; and several works by both Mondrian and Kandinsky.

The highlight of the experience was learning about Henri Matisse’s The Dance and The Sorrows of the King alongside two French preschool classes (“las enfants”). Each expansive piece, Dance in oils and Sorrows an assemblage, connects movement and music. Once the lesson was complete, the children and their teacher sang and danced. Matisse would have been delighted. We surely were.

As an execution of Frank Gehry’s unrivaled talent, the facility is layered and inspiring. As a realization of Arnault’s vision for LVMH social responsibility, the museum is inclusive, engaging and has ample “savoir faire”—stocked with art that is in a class by itself. Certainly “on brand” for the group that includes Louis Vuitton, Veuve Clicquot, Celine, Guerlain, and Bvlgari.

If you want to engage with the community as effectively as LVMH, here are a few considerations:

  1. Involve your employees in the planning. As your primary constituency, their participation in strategy development is key.
  2. Develop programs that are consistent with your brand(s). Your social responsibility efforts should be an extension of your for-profit brand promise(s). For LVMH, multiple brands means multiple strategies.
  3. Find interesting ways to connect the local community with your philanthropy. With LVMH, hourly shuttles to the Fondation Louis Vuitton museum are a very intentional way to bring more visitors and to increase awareness of the group’s community work.