VERSAILLES PRIZE FOR AMERICAN PHILANTHROPY AWARDED TO EVAN SPIEGEL
Evan Spiegel, founder of the social media messaging app Snapchat, has decided to support the Palace of Versailles after several months of closure and an unprecedented public-health crisis. Catherine Pégard, President of the Palace of Versailles, therefore awarded him the «Versailles Prize for American Philanthropy», which recognises the contributions of American philanthropists, past and present. The first award was presented in 2019, to David Rockefeller.
AN UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS
The public-health crisis forced the Palace of Versailles to remain closed for 262 days and resulted in a significant drop in visitors (2 million visitors in 2020, down from 8.2 million in 2019), which has affected the financial balance of the Public Establishment.
VERSAILLES AND THE UNITED STATES, A SHARED HISTORY
Three centuries of history connect Versailles and the United States – from the American War of Independence right up to the present day – and the Americas have always remained true to this tradition. Until 2020, more than 850,000 Americans a year visited Versailles and its gardens, putting them top of the list of overseas visitors. And for over a century, American patrons have supported Versailles, particularly through difficult times.
Evan Spiegel’s personal donation to the Palace of Versailles is a continuation of the tradition of American philanthropy in France.
The Palace of Versailles established its «Prize for American Philanthropy» in 2019, as part of the celebrations marking the centenary of the signing of the treaty that ended the First World War. The prize recognises the contributions of American philanthropists, past and present. The first award was made to David Rockefeller Jr, in recognition of the role played by his grandfather in the restoration of the palaces of Versailles and Fontainebleau, and Rheims cathedral, in the aftermath of the First World War.
THE PRIZE FOR AMERICAN PHILANTHROPY
This commitment by Evan Spiegel – an American citizen who acquired French nationality in 2020 – is evidence of his passion for French culture and heritage.
« Versailles is also about innovation, artistic creation and scientific discovery […] Evan Spiegel has decided to […] lend us his personal support during this difficult time and uphold Versailles’ reputation throughout the world » declared Catherine Pégard, President of the Établissement public du château, du musée et du domaine national de Versailles.
She therefore awarded the second Versailles Prize for American Philanthropy to Evan Spiegel on 28 June 2021, on the occasion of the Choose France summit, which promotes the country as an attractive place to do business.