Next exhibition to visit Philanthropy House announced – SIGNs of CHANGE by SIGN Network

Next exhibition to visit Philanthropy House announced – SIGNs of CHANGE by SIGN Network

The next exhibition to be displayed in Philanthropy House will be SIGNs of CHANGE by the SIGN Network, created in celebration of their 10th anniversary and will be on display from 2 October to 30 November, 2019.

SIGNS of CHANGE has been created to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the SouthEast European Indigenous Grantmakers Network (SIGN), and highlights many of the networks biggest achievements and milestones throughout their 10 year history of operation. The exhibition will feature images, case studies and more telling the story of many initiatives and projects carried out by the network in the region.

The network consists of foundations and philanthropic organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia who partnered together to amplify and improve the development of philanthropy, civil society and cross sector partnerships in the southeastern Europe region.

The exhibition will be opened by an event on 8 October featuring presentations and discussions on the achievements and milestones of the network and will provide the opportunity to meet many of the people behind the network and to learn more about the work it carries out.

The exhibition is open to the public free of charge, Monday to Friday, 9:00-17:30.

For more information on exhibitions in Philanthropy House.

EU Supranational Risk Assessment partially lowers risk rating for NPOs

In July this year, the EU published its 2019 Supranational Risk Assessment (SNRA). Philanthropy Advocacy, a joint initiative of DAFNE and the EFC, and its joint Legal Affairs Committee as well as other NPO partners were pleased to see that the assessment lowered the terrorism financing and money laundering risk in 3 out of 4 NPO scenarios compared to the 2017 risk assessment (read the press release, which contains links to relevant documents).

The NPO sector is not mentioned in the press release but is mentioned in the summary report under point 2.1.5. “Collection and transfers of funds through non-profit organisations”. The report covers the categories of non-profit organisations defined in the Recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force. The risk scenario in the report is linked to non-profit organisations’ collection and transfers of funds to partners/beneficiaries both within and outside of the Union. The report acknowledges that a risk analysis from a threat perspective is complicated due to the diversity of the sector. The report considers that, “ ‘Expressive non-profit organisations’ present some vulnerability because they may be infiltrated by criminal or terrorist organisations that can hide the beneficial ownership making the traceability of the collection of funds less easy.” It also states that, “some types of ‘Service non-profit organisations’ are more directly vulnerable due to the intrinsic nature of their activity” (due to the fact they may involve funding to and from conflict areas or third countries identified by the Commission as presenting strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/terrorist financing regimes).

The report also states that, “Nonprofit organisations are vitally important for providing humanitarian assistance around the world.” The report recalls that regulated financial service providers may be reluctant to engage with certain non-profit organisations in order to de-risk and that this could lead to financial exclusion or rejected customers turning to underground banking or transfer services instead. Finally, the Commission announced in the report that it will launch still in 2019 a call for proposals for a preparatory project on capacity building, programmatic development and communication in the context of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Even though the threat rating has been lowered in 3 out of 4 scenarios, DAFNE-EFC Philanthropy Advocacy is still worried that the risk rating with regard to the threat of NPOs for terrorism financing abuse remains at level 3 (significant), despite the fact that the wording of the actual rating in the annex of the report acknowledges that, “NPOs have been infiltrated only in very few cases and that generally more specific knowledge is needed to access funds collected or transferred by NPOs to finance terrorist activities.”  As stated on earlier occasions we fear that such a rating may give governments an excuse to further close down NPOs’ operating space and should according to our own assessment be also put at a lower level for the following reasons:

We are however happy with the fact that the EC report recalls the concern about bank de-risking and the call on governments to engage the NPO sector in national risk assessments and in the development of mitigation measures in the SNRA. The sector is now reaching out to the EC to see how to discuss follow up actions, in particular the new EU activity pipeline and also the organisation of a suggested EU level multi-stakeholder dialogue. We are also eager to understand how the new Commission under President von der Leyen will address the issue.

Below are the mitigating measures that the EC report suggests regarding these issues:

1) For the European Commission

2) For competent authorities

For more information, please contact the Philanthropy Advocacy secretariat via Hanna Surmatz.



Abstract from SNRA Annex: NPO RISK RATING: 3 out of 4 ratings are lowered compared to the 2017 report but the 2019 report keeps terrorism financing threat at “significant” level 3, see also


Terrorism Financing  THREAT: The NPO landscape is very diverse. Although NPOs have been infiltrated only in very few cases and that generally more specific knowledge is needed to access funds collected or transferred by NPOs to finance terrorist activities the level of threat for TF is considered as significant (level 3).  

For NPOs receiving institutional funding, among others by the EU or Member States in charge of the management of EU funds, the level of threat is considered as less significant (level 1).

Money Laundering THREAT: In that context, the level of threat for ML is considered as moderately significant (level 2).    

Terrorism Financing  VULNERABILITY: The risk exposure of the NPOs is impacted by the intrinsic nature of their activities, and various degree of risk awareness exist. The applicable legal and tax frameworks and national practices are diverse but appear to provide controls and checks while the specific setup of the humanitarian sector described above should be acknowledged. In that context, the level of TF vulnerability is considered as moderately significant (level 2). 

For NPOs receiving institutional funding, among others by the EU or Member States in charge of the management of EU funds, the level of threat is considered as less significant (level 1).

Money Laundering Vulnerability: In that context, the level of vulnerability for ML is considered as moderately significant (level 2).   For NPOs receiving institutional funding, among others by the EU or Member States in charge of the management of EU funds, the level of vulnerability is also considered as less significant (level 1).

Philanthropy sector and NPO coalition engage with Financial Action Task Force

The philanthropic sector, represented by Hanna Surmatz from the EFC on behalf of the wider philanthropic infrastructure (WINGs), engaged with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) about the latest international money laundering and terrorism financing policy at its 2019 Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF) meeting, which took place in Vienna in May.

The PSCF meeting was chaired by the current President of the FATF, Marshall Billingslea from the United States, with over 300 private sector representatives, including from the financial sector; civil society,  including philanthropy; and FATF members and observers. The philanthropic sector holds one of the four seats on the PSCF allocated to the NPO coalition who were invited to attend the entire two days.

A number of additional Global NPO Coalition members from across the world attended a specific FATF NPO consultation session on a new Terrorist Financing (TF) Risk Assessment Guidance, which the FATF has in the meantime published, making strong and relevant contributions to the topic. The Global NPO Coalition submitted joint written comments to the FATF immediately after the PSCF on this Guidance, and these were taken into account in its preparation. Given that governments often do not know how to move ahead with a national risk assessment, and in particular the assessment of NPO related risks, the development of more detailed guidance was welcomed by the sector. Efforts to stress the need for outreach and participation and the need to take existing measures into account when assessing the risk are included in the now published guidance. The NPO coalition is now working on more in-depth comments on the published guidance.

The PSCF is the annual opportunity for the philanthropic sector and other private sector representatives to engage with the FATF and its members on policy around anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Over recent years the security agenda has been one of governments’ motivations to restrict the operating space of NPOs and philanthropy, and it is therefore important to engage with FATF as the key international policy setter. At the Forum meeting we were able to share NPO and philanthropy sector views and concerns.

In light of recent incidents related to money-laundering schemes, offshore or financial centre leaks, as well as terrorist attacks, FATF wants to further strengthen overall “effectiveness” in the context of the implementation of money laundering and terrorism financing measures. One session looked at how this policy potentially could combat corruption.

At the Forum, FATF reviewed its responses to new financial and technological developments. FATF amendments of the FATF Recommendations in October 2018 made clear that AML/CFT obligations apply to virtual asset activities and related providers, according to an interpretative Note to Recommendation 15 on new technologies and the Guidance paper published in June 2019. FATF is also developing guidance on the use of digital identity for the purposes of conducting customer due diligence.

Regarding the application of new technologies in the context of AML/CFT (machine learning, data mining, and artificial intelligence), participants exchanged views and concerns on how public authorities and the private sector use this new technology to manage financial crime risk. In all these three discussions concerns were raised by the NPO sector that the application of these new technologies must take privacy rights and wider human rights into account while also mentioning that virtual assets/block chain technology can potentially be a tool for safe cross-border philanthropy actions and investments.

Apart from a specific session on NPO risk assessment guidance, another parallel session looked at the Risk Based Approach on the Legal Profession, Accountants and Trust and Corporate Service Providers – Three separate but generally consistent Guidance documents are being produced and they will replace the 2008 Guidance for these professions.

Regarding best practices on beneficial ownership, which aims to ensure that legal persons are not being misused for ML/TF, FATF wants to promote best practice in this area and ensure that information on beneficial ownership is available to competent authorities. FATF wants to promote EU and EU Member States’ policy in this regard since it is more advanced compared to other countries. The NPO sector raised concerns around balancing the needs of information sharing, data protection and global interaction on information sharing, in regards to the issue of beneficial ownership.

The NPO coalition on FATF is the key actor for current and future NPO engagement with FATF and other policymakers. Over recent years NPO coalition members also worked on financial inclusion and bank-de-risking issues: Members of the Global NPO Coalition were in Tokyo for the Civil Society 20 (C20) Summit in April, carrying on advocacy efforts to flag the issue of financial access difficulties (de-risking) for non-profit organisations ahead of the G20 Summit in Osaka in June. Coalition members then organised an event on the sidelines of the G20 in Osaka in June, which took the form of a dialogue between the FATF, the World Bank, the banking sector, and Japanese and international NPOs on issues of financial access. For more on the event, including what the key FATF messages were for the Coalition, visit the NPO coalition website.

Another WINGs webinar on the issue is in the pipeline. Should you have any further questions, visit the FATF NPO coalition website or contact Hanna Surmatz.

The EFC currently holds the seat on behalf of the philanthropy sector at the FATF PSCF and is a member of the FATF NPO coalition core group. The EFC’s work around FATF is encompassed in the joint DAFNE-EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative.

Open letter to new Commission and Parliament calls for protection of EU values and civil society

The Active Citizens Fund has released an open letter calling on EU decision-makers to protect European values as outlined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty, with a specific call to protect the space for civil society, which has come under pressure in recent years.

The “Open Letter for the New European Commission and European Parliament – Our Expectations from the New EU” consolidates the messages coming out of the International Civil Society Forum held in Bucharest in June and organised by the Active Citizens Fund.  The conference brought together 200 participants from across Europe. DAFNE-EFC Philanthropy Advocacy and King Baudouin Foundation contributed to the event and presented Philanthropy Advocacy’s Philanthropy Manifesto.

DAFNE and EFC welcome this open letter and look forward to continued collaboration with civil society actors in protecting and building civil society.

Read the full letter.

European Cultural Foundation launch second round of Democracy Needs Imagination grants call

The European Cultural Foundation is launching a second round of grants calls for the Democracy Needs Imagination programme, following the first round that took place in the run up to the European Parliamentary elections in May.

As we approach the final months of 2019, the possibility of further democratic unrest in the European Union still remains and the European Cultural Foundation wishes to support the people who are working in support of European values, through the Democracy Needs Imagination grants programme. The programme is open to applications from anyone working at a local, national or transnational level, alone or as part of a larger organisation who is utilising their imagination to make European unity stronger, better, resilient and future proof.

The deadline for applications is 27 September, 2019.

For further information or to apply.

20 participants selected to take part in the EFC Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia- Europe 2019

20 participants from Russia and Europe have been selected to take part in the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia- Europe 2019, a new EFC exchange programme aiming to enable participants to explore what’s next in philanthropy and learn from some of their most innovative peer organisations.

“Selecting the 2019 fellows was a difficult task because so many of the applicants are doing amazing work addressing the most pressing problems our societies face. We look forward to welcoming the fellows of PLP: Russia-Europe 2019 and helping them to amplify their ideas and build new exciting partnerships,” – Gerry Salole, EFC Chief Executive.

“We consider a dialogue about the philanthropy future between leaders from different countries as an important contribution to shaping the strategic vision of the non-profit sector. The state of philanthropy tomorrow depends on initiatives and actions by real people today. This is why is the joint discussion of challenges, theories and contexts allows to critically explore processes defining the current philanthropy landscape and future trends. We are very glad that the exchange program caused interest from philanthropy professionals representing different countries and very diverse organisations. We hope that Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe will become for them a source of new ideas and interesting partnerships.” – Oksana Oracheva, General Director, Vladimir Potanin Foundation

The tailor-made programme  will encourage fruitful connections between Russian and European philanthropic practitioners and improve their global competences. The first edition of the exchange will focus on the question of how philanthropic organisations can co-create, learn, adapt and scale lasting solutions to societal challenges.

The programme is funded by Vladimir Potanin Foundation and implemented by the EFC. Learn more about the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe

The 20 participants are:


Anastasia Lozhkina, Director of Development and Fundraising, Foundation “Arifmetika Dobra”

Anna Skorobogatova, CEO, Hospice Charity Fund VERA

Elena Abrosimova, Board Member, Centre of the Development of the Legal Clinics

Ilya Chukalin, CEO, Presidential Grants Foundation

Irina Pavlova, Deputy Strategy Executive, Fund “Our Future”

Kristina Zakurdaeva, Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors, Foundation for Cancer Research Support

Larisa Buchelnikova, CEO, Family to Children

Snezhana Frantsuzova, Head of Marketing, Partnership of Community Foundations

Tatiana Burieva, Deputy Director for Development and External Affairs, Arkhangelsk Centre of Social Technologies “Garant”

Veronica Misiutina, Director, Skolkovo Business School



Cassie Robinson, Head of Digital Grant Making, The National Lottery Community Fund

Danijela Šavrljuga Todorović, Head of Support Programme Department, Kultura Nova Foundation

David Evans, Chief, Global Philanthropy, United Nations Children’s Fund

Elke Kristoffersen, Head of Partnerships & Foundations Relations, Centre for Fine Arts, BOZAR

Jenny Peachey, Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

Joseph  Le Marchand, Philanthropy Adviser, Fondation de l’Orangerie

Maria Gutiérrez Domènech, Strategy and Internal Communication Department, “la Caixa” Foundation

Marta Lazarowicz, Head of Evaluation and Programme Analyses Unit, Foundation for Polish Science

Secil Kinay Yilmaz, Special Projects Manager, Vehbi Koç Foundation

Volker Then, Managing Director, Centre for Social Investment

Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation joins the EFC

The EFC is delighted to welcome The Nessling Foundation, founded in 1972, which awards funding for scientific research promoting environmental protection, and for the communication and implementation of research knowledge.

This support is aimed at five main areas related to environmental protection:

Tor Nessling was one of the pioneers of the Finnish motor industry. Until his death in 1971 he served as managing director and chairman of the board of Oy Suomen Autoteollisuus Ab (Finnish Motors Ltd.). With no children of their own, Tor Nessling and his wife Greta Maj wished that their estate should be used in the promotion of Finnish science and culture. The charter establishing the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation was signed by Greta Maj Nessling in July 1972 and the foundation began its work of furthering environmental protection in 1976.

Visit their profile

Villum Fonden launch new grants programme for interdisciplinary data-driven research

EFC members, Villum Fonden have launched a new grants programme to support research projects involving collaboration between computer science and other academic fields.

The new programme, titled the Villum Synergy Programme, will provide DKK 50 million annually to research projects, with the stated focus of driving new advances through the combination of computer science research with research in other fields. The programme will make two types of grants to interdisciplinary research. The first is an initiation project grant, intended for new, two-year collaborations while the second type is for full project grants, and intended for established and mature collaborations undertaking research projects lasting between three and five years.

The application deadline for the first programme grants is 10 October 2019.

Villum Fonden is one of the two constituent parts of the VELUX Foundations, alongside the Velux Fonden.

For more information on the Villum Synergy Programme.

Fondazione CRT, Compagnia di San Paolo, the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and Techstars launch first acceleration programme in Europe dedicated to smart mobility

EFC Members Fondazione CRT and Compagnia di San Paolo, along with the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and Techstars, have launched Techstars Smart Mobility Accelerator, the first acceleration programme in Europe dedicated to smart mobility.

The programme will last three years and will take place within OGR Tech, the new hub dedicated to innovation at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR) in Turin, previously renovated by Fondazione CRT .

The focus will be on smart mobility and in particular on the themes of autonomous driving, logistics, infrastructure and smart cities. Furthermore, in line with the commitment of the partners to the circular economy, the business models and technologies enabling the transformation of the circular economy will be prioritised in the final selection.

The programme is the second project undertaken by the partnership announced in early June 2019 between Techstars, Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione CRT and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center to promote the development of Turin as an international ecosystem for innovation and a model of successful innovation in Italy and in Europe, particularly through the OGR Tech, the new innovation hub. The partnership, which saw a first successful event in June at the Techstars Start Up Week powered by OGR, will continue in September with the OGR Techstars Summit, an event that will bring the Techstars network to Turin.

The Managing Director will be Martin Olczyk, Managing Director of previous Techstars acceleration programs, an expert in the world of innovation and startups with particular reference to early stage technological investments.

Fondazione CRT, Compagnia di Sanpaolo and the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center will support the initiative through their network, resources and expertise to create opportunities for economic development and growth thanks to innovation.

We are in the middle of a mobility revolution, and smart mobility is a new and revolutionary way of thinking about how human beings, data and goods get around in a cleaner, safer, cheaper, more efficient and convenient way,” said Martin Olczyk. “Turin has developed a thriving startup scene in the last few years, and with the support of Institutions, successful entrepreneurs and corporations focused on innovation, there is a unique level #GiveFirst culture throughout the community that makes this an ideal locale for this program. We are excited to help founders, entrepreneurs, and startups build successful and impactful businesses right here in Turin”.

Applications are open until 13 October, and the programme will take place from January to April next year. Interested startups can collect more information at the following link:

“The place where operations professionals can speak their language and be completely understood” – Operations Professionals Network summer meeting 2019

The EFC’s Operations Professionals Network (OPN) held its summer meeting on 8-9 July 2019 in Philanthropy House, Brussels, to open up discussions and dialogue on topical operational issues impacting the HR, IT, finance and legal functions of philanthropic organisations across Europe.

OPN is a network of 13 international grantmaking foundations, that creates a safe space for shared learning on key operational matters and has been described by participants as ”the place where operations professionals can speak their language and be completely understood.”

Mehran Gul, Project Lead, Digital Transformation of Industries at the World Economic Forum, kicked off the opening plenary on the complexities and opportunities brought by digital transformation. OPN members had the opportunity to discuss why digital transformation goes beyond digital technology, drivers and bottlenecks, as well as the singularities that make it differ from other change processes.

The programme featured a wealth of topical exchanges among the OPN subgroups (COOs, HR, IT, Finance and Legal) on a range of operational topics including process management, risk assessment and management, business intelligence, cyber-security and onboarding. Participants exchanged best practices from their foundations and shared and planned together, potential solutions to common challenges.

The closing plenary took the form of a town hall meeting that brought together the entire OPN community to reflect upon what the network has achieved in the 4 years it has been operational and participants reaffirmed their commitment and desire to lift each other up and drive operational excellence in their organisations.

OPN members will stay in touch through regular calls and webinar in the lead up to the autumn meeting, which will take place in Lisbon on December 2-3 hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

For more information on OPN, please contact Stefanos Oikonomou.


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