A conversation with Raymond Georis
Foundations have grown in the past 20 – 30 years, compared to where we were when I first started. The convergence of Dafne and the EFC is giving the sector more power, and this is important for Europe. With that power comes responsibility, and these are not easy times, in Europe or around the world. Democracy is going through a difficult time, but the role of foundations is to preserve not only democracy but also the rule of law. They have a crucial role in combatting poverty. Foundations should speak the truth to power, not the truth of power. The covid-19 pandemic has only made this worse – we are in the same storm but not in the same boat, and the two boats are drifting apart.
Perhaps I have always been an optimist, and I am very optimistic about the future. Why? Because we have a new generation of young people who envisage their commitments and career choices in line with social and environmental issues. For them, charity giving implies charity living… they aren’t as greedy as our generation. The Dafne-EFC convergence comes at just the right time when this generation comes to power. They have different values, and as I said before values are defended by foundations. Together you can make miracles.
You are building on the little bricks that we put down in 1989. When the Berlin Wall was being destroyed, we used the bricks to build not another wall but a road.
Advice for the future? It’s important to combine research, knowledge and action. The new organisation can mobilise investment to increase research, advocacy, training and education. It will have more money available than we had in 1989, because you will merge two memberships which will enable you to make cross-sectoral, public-private partnerships, which has previously been lacking and is critically important. As you enlarge your network, you will be in a greater position of leadership, and have the chance to take a stand. As Aristotle taught, justice and equality are the fundamental basis, and this should be the motto of foundations.
Fight for justice and equality.
Raymond Georis was talking to Delphine Moralis, Chief Executive of the EFC.