Brussels, 20 February 2018Inspired by the European Year of Culture, this year’s European Foundation Centre conference will feature a series of topical sessions, exciting exhibitions and thought-provoking visits on the theme of “Culture Matters: connecting citizens, uniting communities”. Taking place in Brussels from 29 May until 31 May, the EFC’s 29th Annual General Assembly and Conference, will convene more than 600 philanthropic leaders and representatives from foundations, not-for profit organisations, academia and policymakers. It offers a unique opportunity for philanthropic actors from around the world to hear high-level speakers speak about current topics and trends and to meet with their peers, exchange know-how and experience, test new ideas, and form partnerships.

Our cultural heritage is a legacy that should be preserved and celebrated,” said Massimo Lapucci, Chair of the EFC and Secretary General, Fondazione CRT, a foundation well known for its work in the preservation and promotion of artistic heritage and cultural activities. “Philanthropy has a unique and important role to play in ensuring that culture is both an asset to be enjoyed now, and appreciated in the future.”

Culture is about shared experience, bringing different people together to share a common interest and creating personal connections to societies, communities, identities and most importantly to other people. “Brussels is the perfect location for this year’s event focusing on culture,” said Luc Luyten, Conference Chair and Chairman of the Belgian Federation of Philanthropic Foundations. “As the de facto capital of Europe, this international city, synonymous with diversity, has a unique atmosphere in which cultures mix and mingle together. Brussels is a city that embodies the importance of this year’s theme, connecting citizens and uniting communities.”

The three conference plenaries and over thirty sessions, addressing different aspects of culture, will feature a number of keynote speakers including the inspiring Jenny Sealey, artistic director at Graeae and Lemn Sissay, author, poet and broadcaster. Moderators include Katherine Watson, Director of the European Cultural Foundation and Vice Chair of the EFC and Jacki Davis, journalist, editor and Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre think tank and Member of their Governing Board.

A unique and integral part of the conference is the “Walk and Talk” networking sessions during which delegates will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the soul of the city by discovering Brussels’ historical and contemporary culture by visiting various neighbourhoods, projects, iconic buildings and museums.

In addition to the many cultural activities and visits taking place, EFC member, the King Baudouin Foundation and other major European foundations are organising an exhibition in one of Belgium’s largest museums, the Musée du Cinquantenaire. It will display a selection of works of art highlighting philanthropy’s crucial efforts in the preservation and maintenance of cultural heritage.

The EFC will also host an exhibition in Philanthropy House. Showcasing its members’ diverse projects, the exhibition will display examples of restored buildings, parks, roads and museums that have improved social spaces, enhancing the lives of citizens.

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About the Conference

The EFC’s Conference is the largest international conference in philanthropy, engaging the European and global philanthropy sector to grapple with deep societal issues that are relevant to the future of Europe and the world at large, such as inequality, social injustice, and inclusive and participatory societies. This year the theme is Culture Matters: connecting citizens & uniting communities”.

The conference offers a unique opportunity for over 600 heads and senior managers of major philanthropic organisations from across Europe and the world to meet with their peers, exchange know-how and experience, test new ideas, and form partnerships. Delegates benefit from the experience and insights of top-level keynote speakers who frame current topics and trends, and open up debate on institutional philanthropy’s role in these issues.

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About the European Foundations Centre

The European Foundation Centre (EFC) is the platform of institutional philanthropy with a focus on Europe, but also with an eye to the global philanthropic landscape. It is a network of foundations and philanthropic institutions committed to the development and promotion of institutional philanthropy in Europe and globally.

With the aim of being the voice of institutional philanthropy in Europe, the EFC promotes and communicates the value of institutional philanthropy to society thus contributing to an environment in which philanthropy can flourish. It serves as a hub of sector exchange and intelligence, to help its members increase the impact of their added value in society. 

The Conference Committee of the EFC’s 2018 Annual Conference

The success of the conference depends on the vital contribution of the EFC’s members and other foundations in the host country. The Committee comprises representatives from Europe’s most prominent foundations and philanthropic organisations: Luc Luyten (Conference Chair) – Belgian Federation of Philanthropic Foundations, Dawn Austwick – Big Lottery Fund, Stefania Coni – Fondazione CRT, Rui Esgaio – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Adriana Esmeijer – Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Corinna Hörst – German Marshall Fund of the United States, Seçil Kınay – Vehbi Koç Foundation, Ignasi Miró Borràs– Fundación Bancaria “la Caixa”, Stefan Schäfers – King Baudouin Foundation, Michael Schwarz– Stiftung Mercator, Anna Talasniemi – Kone Foundation, Frédéric Théret – Fondation de France and Max von Abendroth – DAFNE.  

Press contacts

Participation in the conference is complimentary for the media. If you would like to receive accreditation for the conference and/or interview one of the conference speakers, the conference chair or the EFC’s Board or Chief Executive please contact:

Catherine Lennon  |  EFC  |  tel.: +32.2.512.8938  |  mob.: +32 485.66.05.98  |  email: