“Trust Matters – A lever to deliver better social justice outcomes”

To amplify and continue the dialogue on trust, migration and the future of the European project after the event, we have teamed up with Debating Europe to launch a new debate entitled:

How can we put trust back into politics?’ Join the conversation


At first glance, one might wonder how a conversation revolving around such a large and multifaceted concept as “trust” could deliver actionable, concrete ideas on how to tackle the challenges facing Europe today. Challenges like economic inequality, radicalisation of youth, the migrant crisis. But EuroPhilantopics – a one-day meeting bringing together some 150 delegates from philanthropy, government, cultural institutions and NGOs – did just that.

Using the springboard of “trust” the various organisations and institutions represented seemed inspired to frame their work in new and creative ways, to communicate what they do and what they are passionate about in terms of a concept that resonates on a deep and human level. And this framework of trust seemed to give delegates a more meaningful understanding of the policy and operational implications around these issues.

This deeper understanding was nurtured by the holistic nature of the meeting, which brought together such a variety of actors working on these issues from different angles: Policymakers, artists, foundations, NGOs, and a theatre group all brought their views and experience to create a unique whole. New ideas emerged and new connections were made, paving the way to novel solutions, to new hope and optimism that things can change and are changing.

A thread running throughout the sessions was the importance of the local and community level for affecting real change. From the success story of Syrian communities pulling together to go on with life despite the war around them, to a Croatian who set up a cooperative bank owned by the community, to the European Commission embracing a bottom-up approach with community-led local development initiatives, to Muslim communities in France outpacing the government when it comes to prevention of youth radicalisation – delegates heard again and again about the potential and power of leveraging the local.

Another theme popping up throughout the day was how there seems to be a serious shift happening in how people and institutions are looking at capital markets. Delegates discussed new and powerful examples of foundations aligning their endowment investments with their philanthropic missions. They heard about how shareholders in major companies are leveraging trust to inspire these companies to change their business practices for positive social change. Speakers talked about the momentum building for new financial instruments that marry financial and social return.

These are just some of the themes that delegates touched on at the meeting. Read on for detailed reports of the opening session, three breakout sessions, and the closing plenary. You can also find a separate report on the Raymond Georis Lecture, an annual event given this year on the eve of the EuroPhilantopics meeting by Bassma Kodmani, co-founder and Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative. This Lecture pays tribute to the vision of Mr Raymond Georis, who has dedicated, and continues to dedicate, his career to the European project and the goal of building long-lasting infrastructures for cooperation within the European philanthropic and civil society communities.