Liliane Bettencourt

Liliane Bettencourt is the only child of L’Oreal founder, Eugene Schueller. Her mother passed away when she was just five years old. This certainly made conditions difficult for a young and maturing girl but Bettencourt met life with great success with her father’s aide.

In 1957, she inherited the L’Oreal fortune. This, accompanied with her marriage to the French politician Andre Bettencourt gave her notice. However, Liliane is a private individual and has always made an effort to stay out of the public’s focus.

She is the second richest person in France, one of the largest in the world, and not surprisingly, the richest woman. Though modest, she must uphold some esteem for her successes in life.

One of her biggest achievements is in the creation of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. It was a foundation created in her father’s memory. Its mission is to help initiate support and develop projects within the medical, cultural, and humanitarian areas.

It devotes approximately 60% of its budget in support of medical research. It is extremely active in the effort to treat HIV and AIDS. It also provides awards in the medical arena. The Liliane Bettencourt Life Sciences Award is given to a European researcher of at least 45 years in age, who is well known in his field and shows essential promise in his/her research project.

The Young Researchers’ Award awards up to 14 prizes annually to young researchers involved in life sciences. French laboratories also gain reward for their biochemical research if they are selected. Gain is also obtained through ORVACS which focuses on a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. SOLTHIS is also hugely supported for its ongoing efforts in the research of HIV/AIDS.

In areas of culture, the foundation supports talented artist or craftsmen in an attempt to make known works of great quality.  As an expression for her enjoyment in choral music, the Foundation also awards an annual prize for choir singing. An award is also given to a skilled manual craftsman in recognition of his work which most often goes without notice.

In regards to humanitarian efforts, programs are developed to help children, as well as their parents, with reading and other incentives to accommodate them in a productive life. The efforts made here are a significant indicator in the make up of a woman who is hushed in audience regard. Funding for the foundation is contributed by her and family. Any capital made from programs involved in the foundation, are reinvested in the usage of these programs as well as the development of others.

In respect to this woman, who at first glance had seemed to accomplish so little, I can only say that silence is most honorable.

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