“On topic, off the record”
21 – 22 November, Philanthropy House
The philanthropic sector has been pushed into the public eye of late, mostly due to a poor understanding of the sector. Many are questioning the legitimacy of the sector; whether private money should be used to change the landscape of society or even for political purposes. This has been seen in numerous countries where organisations receiving grants from foreign funders are coming under pressure, with the issue also raised in the European Parliament. This question of legitimacy comes from a number of sources. On the one hand, some believe this money should not benefit from tax breaks and instead governments should decide on where this money should be diverted to. On the other hand, there are some who wish to discourage values that are not aligned with their own and therefore decrease pluralism in society.
It is crucial that the philanthropic sector faces these criticisms to both understand concerns in society and to assist other actors in understanding the importance of the sector. Through Europhilanthopics’ on topic off the record conversations, we will explore in depth these concerns but also promote the added-value of philanthropy to society to those in the room. It will be an opportunity to think about how the sector can promote itself and its importance to the general public.
Raymond Georis Debate: Philanthropy and public policy: legitimate players or interlopers?
The Raymond Georis event this year will take place in the form of an internal reflection of the sector (“entre-nous, chez-nous”). After two decades working in the philanthropic sector, Mr. David Callahan has begun to take a critical look on the legitimacy of philanthropic organisations working in the sphere of public policy and advocacy. At the same time, politicians and media are questioning the sector’s legitimacy. This debate is an opportunity for a peer reflection and discussion on our work and how it projects to other actors in society.
Europhilantopics 2017 will consist of two plenary sessions. One to continue the discussion of the previous evening with external actors, followed by a closed discussion with European commission representatives on impact investing.
Legitimacy of the philanthropic sector: a view from the outside
Recent articles in Politico have cast a critical eye on philanthropic organisations who fund both NGOs and international organisations putting the issues of legitimacy, influence and transparency in the sector under the spotlight. A recent study from the CSO Fundraising and Programmes Network has also painted a very narrow picture of the philanthropic sector, focussing on increased competition between the two with the prediction that philanthropy will occupy the space of CSOs. MEPs have also been critical towards philanthropic funding of CSOs with MEP Sven Giegold calling for more transparency. Each of these sectors will be represented in an interactive panel discussion, “on topic, off the record”.
European financial instruments and philanthropic impact investments
Over the years the European Commission has developed a series of financial instruments, managed by the World Bank. These are aimed to transform EU resources into financial products such as loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-bearing mechanisms to be used to support economically viable projects which promote EU policy objectives. During this off the record discussion we will have the opportunity to understand the purpose of these tools and explore how philanthropic actors could capitilise on them to advance their social impact.
EuroPhilantopics is an annual dialogue which forms an integral part of the EFC’s ongoing work and discussions with policymakers throughout the year.
Building on the relationships and conversations which span several years and making full use of the central location of Philanthropy House in Brussels, the EFC brings together the philanthropic sector and EU policymakers for lively, off the record exchanges and strategic reflections on finding solutions to today’s major challenges.
Recent co-initiatives include the EFC’s European Environmental Funders Group work on economic transition, the Research Forum’s work with the European Political Strategy Centre and Scientific Advice Mechanism High Level Group to the European Commission, and a series of debates and discussions at open events such as the EFC Annual Conference.
Helping our members engage with high level policymakers is an integral part of what the EFC does.
If there is a topic you feel needs to be aired: tell us and we will help make it happen.