Participants selected for the EFC Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia – Europe 2021

Participants selected for the EFC Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia – Europe 2021

A group of 20 philanthropy professionals from Russia and Europe have been selected for the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia- Europe 2021, an EFC exchange programme aiming to enable participants to explore what’s next in philanthropy and learn from some of their most innovative peer organisations.

“I look forward to meeting and welcoming new fellows to the PLP community, which continues to thrive and expand in terms of geographical and topical diversity. In uncertain times, the opportunity to come together, exchange practices, thoughts and concerns and learn together is of critical importance. We may be adapting to the ‘new normal’, but supportive learning and sharing within our community are perennial values.”– Delphine Moralis, EFC Chief Executive.

“Experience has shown that our participants establish strong professional contacts with each other that develop beyond the programme. This is one of the important results we strive for. After all, it is the constant process of communication and experience transfer that helps today’s NGO leaders stay one step ahead. Like the first group of participants in 2019, the group selected for this year’s exchange programme consists of bright professionals from Russia and Europe. We are sure that they will find many points of contact and get intellectual and emotional charge from communication and open dialogue with colleagues from the non-profit sector.” – 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. This second 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

Participants from Russia

Participants from Europe

“Our Goals” initiative publishes indicators for measuring SDG progress in Denmark

The “Our Goals” initiative has presented the results of a comprehensive process spanning over 11 months, 23 debates and workshops, a dedicated digital collaboration platform, 52 experts and the processing more than 6,000 inputs from corporations, organisations and citizens to share 197 indicators for measuring the progress towards the SDGs in Denmark.

The initiative started in 2019 by the 2030 Panel and the Danish national statistics agency, Statistics Denmark, set out to make the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals more Danish, more local, more tangible to society and help to outline a more sustainable future for Denmark. The 197 indicators are the result of this process and the instigators of the initiative “hope that the indicators will inform policy-making on a national level and indeed inspire other countries to develop their own local indicators.”

The initiative was conducted in collaboration with EFC members Lundbeck Fonden, Nordea-Fonden and Realdania, alongside other foundations in Denmark, including the Danish Industry Foundation, Ramboll Fonden and Spar Nord Fonden.

Find out more.

Thanks and best wishes to Maria Orejas who leaves the EFC for an exciting new venture

After 11 amazing years at the EFC our Policy and Programmes Director Maria Orejas-Chantelot is taking up an exciting new challenge and as a result will leave the EFC at the end of this year.

Maria has been a building block for the EFC and has significantly contributed to our strategy, growth and development, and in particular the evolution of our critical policy and programme work which is without doubt the lifeblood of the EFC.

It is upon her legacy that we will continue to build and develop our networks, peer-learning communities, policy and knowledge portfolio. We would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank Maria for her invaluable contribution and loyalty.

While we are excited that she will be embarking on a new professional challenge and at the same time staying in the philanthropy family, we very much regret losing such a valued colleague and leader. It is a testament to her that she leaves behind such a strong and committed policy and programmes team who will continue to deliver the high level of quality that members have known under her leadership.

Maria, on behalf of all of us at the EFC, we all wish you the very best in both your personal and professional life, and hope to see you back at Philanthropy House soon!

Europhilantopics 2020: Challenging times – How can philanthropy stay ahead of the curve?

The twin global crises of COVID-19 and the climate emergency topped the agenda at the EFC’s annual Europhilantopics meeting, which brought together philanthropy representatives from EFC member organisations and policymakers from 14 -15 December. During the conference, participants explored philanthropy’s key roles, both short and long term, in tackling these crises, and how multi-stakeholder collaboration is emerging as an essential pathway toward solutions.

Though 2020 has been a grim year, “It is equally a story of commitment, shared experience and hope,” said Delphine Moralis, Chief Executive of the European Foundation Centre, in her opening remarks. She stressed that because the COVID-19 and climate crises disproportionately affect the vulnerable, “In this context, we need philanthropy to be at its best.”

Day 1 focused on the COVID-19 crisis, which has meant that philanthropy has had to adapt to new ways of working and embrace new approaches to programme implementation and grantmaking. The discussions made clear that philanthropy has risen to the challenge with flexibility and agility, pulling out all the stops to meet the moment. As in many sectors, the pandemic has been a catalyst for new solutions in the philanthropy sector. Throughout the debates, collaboration surfaced time and again as a key component to tackling the crisis collaboration within foundations, among foundations, with grantees and with public authorities at local, regional, national and European level.

Speakers delved into specific aspects of philanthropic responses to the COVID-19 crisis in a session moderated by Rien van Gendt, Director of Van Gendt Philanthropy Services:

Breakout sessions on each of these areas allowed for more intimate, in-depth discussion.

A session on policy, moderated by Felix Oldenburg, Chair of Dafne, looked at how philanthropic action for European solidarity in the recovery phase can be unleashed. Policymakers and foundation representatives showed an eagerness on both sides to strengthen strategic collaboration.

In the keynote address, Manuela Geleng, Director at DG Employ, European Commission, said we are at a turning point where our societies and economies must become digital, green and socially just. Social economy actors including foundations have a key role to play for this to happen. The Social Economy Action Plan envisaged for 2021 wants to promote social economy and to help overcome existing barriers to cross-border action of social economy actors. She acknowledged that foundations come in as funders of social economy actors but also as social economy actors in their own right. Speakers at the session added further perspectives on the policy question:

The Dafne-EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative is aiming for a Single Market for Philanthropy, and urges policymakers to:

The day wrapped up with a call to “Imagine Philanthropy for Europe”. André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, noted how surprisingly few foundations in Europe have a European purpose. While the EU has moved toward ever closer integration over the past 70 years, philanthropy has not kept up. To solve the challenges we face, ones that do not respect borders, philanthropy needs a more European outlook.

The climate emergency was on the agenda for Day 2 of the conference. Across the discussions, it was clear that climate needs to be mainstreamed in all foundations do, but social justice likewise must be mainstreamed into the climate agenda. Another critical point is that climate must not be politicised, and philanthropy can play an awareness-raising and bridging role to help ensure this does not happen.

Jon Cracknell, Director of the JMG Foundation, kicked off the discussion with preliminary results of the 5th edition of the mapping “Environmental funding by European foundations”, set to be released in 2021. The results showed areas that are well-funded and those that need more attention. Cracknell offered four focus points for foundations wanting to get more involved in the climate field: thematic issues, geography, approach and values.

Speakers showcased the diversity of Philanthropic responses to the climate emergency and outlined strategies for engaging in the field:

In a session on EU policy around climate, Jacob Werksman, Principal Adviser at DG Climate Action, European Commission, outlined the European Green Deal and its policy implications across the range of EU competences. The EU is keen to make sure that actions at EU level and global level are appealing at the local level, as that is where so much change is needed. As such, policies need to not only deliver top-level goals, but also achieve local-level benefits.

Lars Grotewold, Director of the Centre for Climate Change at Mercator Stiftung, and Linda McAvan, Executive Director of European Relations at the European Climate Foundation, delved into the ways in which philanthropy can and should work with the EU on climate. They stressed how the change over the last decade in attitudes at the EU and among the public has opened up a rich opportunity to engage in new collaborations and scale existing efforts in this field. Grotewold emphasised the importance of seeing climate not as an environmental emergency but a societal one. McAvan pointed to the policy space as a key area for philanthropic engagement to ensure climate policies are socially just.

Breakout sessions allowed for more in-depth discussion on climate and philanthropy around how to enter the field, scaling impact, leadership strategies, and forging partnerships.

Carlos Moedas, former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and current trustee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, concluded the day’s debates by stressing the European origins of the COVID-19 vaccines that are now being deployed, and encouraging participants to be more assertive about Europe as a leader, both in the pandemic and in the climate crisis. He called for a move from the multilateralism that we have known for 70 years, which has reached its limits of effectiveness, to a “polylateralism” which brings the diverse array of stakeholders, not just governments, to the table to jointly solve problems. Philanthropy has a key role to play in bridging the gaps between stakeholders. Politicians, for example, want to engage with civil society, but do not know how. Philanthropy can show the way.


“Giving civil society the right response” – new report by the Charities Aid Foundation

Seen from today, the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for quite some time. In recent months, the relationship between governments and civil society has evolved quite a lot under the influence of the coronavirus. All too often, governments tend to look at civil society organisations merely as service providers and sometimes as channels for distributing public and private funds. Yet with the COVID-19 crisis, civil society took up some new roles.  The sector proved once again its flexibility and, in many places, became a crucial partner in emergency situations. In addition, civil society continued to play its traditional role of strengthening the social and economic fabric of our societies. How have governments responded to this? What does this mean for the rebuilding efforts?

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) raises these issues in their newly published report “Giving civil society the right response”. The report provides a snapshot of policy practices from around the world. It builds on extensive research and roundtables. These include Philanthropy Advocacy’s analysis of European emergency measures, as well as a roundtable co-hosted in July 2020 by CAF, Dafne, EFC and WINGS. This roundtable was an important occasion for Philanthropy Advocacy to draw attention to the European dimension of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CAF report identifies lessons and recommendations across the following four areas:

  1. government support for civil society and working in partnership,
  2. government support to unlock giving,
  3. the wider operating environment for civil society and civic space,
  4. the role of infrastructure in affecting policy change.

Philanthropy Advocacy warmly welcomes this report and its recommendations on how governments can best support civil society and which incentives should be in place for unlocking philanthropy’s full potential. In our view, the report gives policymakers, local authorities, and organisations on the ground an important tool for improving their collaboration and efficiency, thus helping all of us to “build back better”

End of year video message and interview with Angel Font and Delphine Moralis

EFC Chair Angel Font and Chief Executive Delphine Moralis gave their thoughts on what has been a challenging but watershed year for philanthropy and the EFC, and look ahead to the path ahead in 2021, during a recent interview with Charles Keidan, Executive Editor of Alliance magazine.

The full in-depth interview is available below.

End of year message and thank you from EFC staff (5 mins)

Full in-depth interview (20 mins)

Dafne and EFC launch new edition of foundation law country profiles

Philanthropy Advocacy, the joint Dafne and EFC initiative, has launched the 5th edition of the “The Legal Environment for Philanthropy in Europe”. This mapping consists of country profiles detailing the legal and fiscal environment for philanthropy and foundations in each EU Member State. The profiles cover aspects ranging from establishment, to registration, to tax treatment of both donors and foundations. The EFC published the first edition of these profiles in 2002. This 5th edition is the first to be published under the joint Philanthropy Advocacy initiative.

At the launch event on 10 December, Oonagh Breen of University College Dublin moderated as foundation practitioners and legal experts outlined the many ways this mapping has been and can be used when it comes to advocating for a better legal and fiscal environment for foundations across Europe. The profiles allow for comparisons across the Member States, highlighting good practice and areas for improvement in certain countries. National associations of foundations and philanthropic actors are using these comparisons in their discussions with national-level policymakers.

A major discussion point at the launch event was cross-border philanthropy and the barriers to this that are still present, despite landmark European Court of Justice cases which have been decided in favour of the free flow of philanthropic capital across European borders. National experts presented the current state of play in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain and also referred to Luxembourg as a good example to promote in this regard. Foreign funding restrictions in Hungary were flagged as being in conflict with EU law.

The first half of 2021 will see more profiles added on countries outside of the EU. Philanthropy Advocacy will also publish an update, based on the 2020 mapping, of the 2015 EFC publication “Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe”.

Visit Philanthropy Advocacy to download the 2020 profiles

Banner photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

A warm EFC welcome to our newest members!

The EFC welcomes its latest members and affiliates to its worldwide network of philanthropic organisations! To find out more on EFC membership and what it can provide visit here.

Our new members:

Arcadia Philanthropic Trust – UK

The Arcadia Philanthropic Trust was born in 2002 and is a family trust with active, living donors that supports work to preserve endangered cultural heritage, protect endangered ecosystems, and promote access to knowledge.

The aim of the organisation is to defend the complexity of human culture and the natural world, so that coming generations can build a vibrant, resilient and green future. Arcadia makes grants proactively and takes an evidence-based approach to its work.

Laudes Foundation – Switzerland

The Laudes Foundation is an independent foundation launched in 2020 and part of the Brenninkmeijer family enterprise.

Although independent from the COFRA businesses and the family’s other private philanthropic activities, the Laudes Foundation learns from its past and present experiences. In particular, the foundation will advance the industry-changing work of the C&A Foundation, and build on the experience of its flagship initiative, Fashion for Good.

Laudes’ mission is to transform the global economic system and the way it defines value.

Patrick Gaspard to step down as President of Open Society Foundations and be replaced by Mark Malloch-Brown

Open Society Foundations has announced that Patrick Gaspard will step down as President and be replaced by Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN deputy Secretary-General and UK Minister of State for Africa and Asia, on 1 January 2021.

Patrick Gaspard, President of OSF for the past 3 years, announced his intention to step down to the staff of the organisation on the 4 December, alongside introducing his successor, Mark Malloch-Brown. Mr Malloch-Brown has a been a longstanding member of the Open Society Global Board, and has prior experience working in government’s, NGOs, business, and with the philanthropic sector.

Find out more.


European Cultural Foundation and Allianz Kulturstiftung publish report on need for philanthropic engagement with European matters 

The European Cultural Foundation and Allianz Kulturstiftung have published a report “Imagine Philanthropy for Europe” assessing the need for philanthropy to engage much more forcefully with European matters.

Produced by Wider Sense, the report provides insights into philanthropic engagement for Europe, based upon a literature review and 20 interviews with cultural activists, policy makers, academic experts, leading foundation staff and representatives of philanthropic umbrella organisations. The conclusions present a set of ideas about how to move philanthropy with a European purpose forward.

Find out more.

We use cookies in order improve your browsing experience on, not to collect personal information. By continuing to use the site, you agree that that is OK. You can read more about our privacy policy here.