Fonds 1818 recently hosted the second biennial Rien van Gendt Lecture, in Den Haag, which saw Aart de Geus, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann Stiftung, deliver a speech on ”Can Philanthropy Save Democracy?

Mr de Geus’ talk sought to elicit the role philanthropy can play in supporting democratic societies and the freedoms they enjoy, along with how philanthropy can support those not enjoying such concepts, such as the victims of autocracy and populism. The lecture built upon some of the themes and concepts laid out in the inaugural lecture, by Mr van Gendt himself in 2016, such as the shrinking space of civil society, and sought to provide answers to how philanthropy can weather the increased scrutiny and political opposition it is facing in the present day.

To read the full speech: Rien van Gendt Lecture 2018: Aart de Geus, ”Can Philanthropy Save Democracy?

The lecture follows on from the inaugural one in 2016, which saw Mr van Gendt talking about ”Funds and society – sliding panels”, a lecture that delved into the changing roles of foundations in society, the factors that are influencing philanthropy’s changing relationship with society and the importance of partnerships.

The lecture series is a biennial event with a new speaker chosen every year to deliver a lecture on the broad social significance of philanthropy, and is a celebration of Mr van Gendt contribution to the philanthropic sector throughout his years of work in the sector. This work includes serving as architect of the EFC Principles of Good Practice, being the first Chair of the EFC Nomination Committee, and culminated in being awarded the EFC Compass Prize 2013.

For more information on the inaugural lecture, visit: Rien van Gendt Lecture 2016 – Foundations and Society: Sliding Panels.