Press release: Europe’s momentum to unleash private resources for public good – European policy makers and foundations aligned to make the necessary steps to foster cross-border philanthropy

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Brussels, 2 October 2020 – On 1 October, the European Day of Foundations and Donors, over 100 key European policy makers and representatives of public benefit foundations and civil society organisations from across Europe gathered in a virtual meeting to discuss the Single Market for Public Good – How Can We Unleash Private Resources for European Solidarity? European policy makers and philanthropy are aligned to use the momentum to foster collaboration and introduce necessary steps to unleash cross-border philanthropy.

The outbreak of coronavirus has demonstrated how fragile our societies are and how much we are in need of solidarity. This year’s unprecedented giving of private resources for public good in Europe of 1.1 bn EUR already by May 2020, has been largely defined by the community’s response to the pandemic and its wider implications, such as emergency healthcare, widening inequalities, the digital divide, the economic fallout and shrinking civil society.

Throughout this crisis, philanthropy has been at the forefront, together with civil society organisations and local communities, fighting the pandemic and its negative impact. At the core of the wide array of philanthropic activities has been the strong sense of European solidarity and collaboration across borders.

“Philanthropy has made solidarity tangible and visible. The philanthropic response to the crisis was tremendous and timely”, stressed Kerstin Jorna, Director General at the DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Philanthropy can bring an important complementary and innovative added value to a more socially, environmentally and economically equal and resilient Europe.

“For the philanthropic sector the COVID-19 crisis carries not only considerable risks but also presents opportunities to protect the social fabric in Europe, enhance solidarity, cross-border cooperation and support public-private initiatives”, said Prof. Joachim Rogall, President and CEO of the Robert Bosch Foundation, one of Europe’s largest public benefit foundations. “I have a dream that there will be one day the European statute for foundations, accepted even in my city of Stuttgart, and that philanthropy will be recognised as an important pillar of democracy”.

Vice President of the European Parliament Nicola Beer built on this and emphasised that philanthropic organisations do not stop at borders, despite the existence of legal barriers to cross-border philanthropy. “We need a Single Market so we can harness the huge power of civil society organisations and philanthropy. Europe is a continent of citizens, and foundations are made by citizens for citizens”, said Beer. “We are currently working within the European Parliament to make better use of the existing freedoms for cross-border philanthropy”. Cross-border solidarity has never been as urgent in Europe as it is today, as the challenges facing our societies remain huge.

For further enquiries see contact details below.

Catherine Lennon, Communications Director, EFC, clennon@efc.be, +32.2.512.8938

Dr. Hanna Stähle, Senior Manager, DAFNE, hanna.staehle@dafne-online.eu, +32.497.57.58.59

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