25 May 2023

Do good, do it better and do it faster: Philea Forum 2023 inspires & challenges philanthropic community

The window of opportunity is narrowing to deal with the multitude of problems in the world and Europe. The Philea Forum 2023 provided a critical chance for nearly 700 philanthropy and civil society professionals to come together to find new ways of collaborating to find solutions.

“We know there is a lot we need to do, that we need to do it better, and do it faster, but we know that a better tomorrow is possible if we do it together. A Europe we want, for the world we need,” said Delphine Moralis, CEO Philea.

Amid the wide-ranging conversations that took place, several threads and concepts routinely came to the fore:

  1. In the contexts of climate and the war in Ukraine, democracy as an urgent area of action remained at the forefront – not just in two dedicated sessions, but across several others – from discussions on the enabling environment for philanthropy with policymakers, to how creativity and the arts can and should be intrinsic to rethinking and strengthening democracy.
  2. The climate emergency was also a thread throughout the Forum, and 88% of participants surveyed stated that more needed to be done at EU level to address it.
  3. Evolving the relationship between funders and their partners: Participants sought out new ways to engage in participatory grantmaking, address power imbalances, and really listen to partners.
  4. The importance of unrestricted funding: Research shows that foundations are doing this more, and at the opening plenary, when asked what the top priority for philanthropy should be, participants placed “Trust-based giving, participatory approaches and flexible funding” at the top.
  5. And finally, human rights and equality were named as essential elements of solutions to each and every one of the crises Europe and the world are facing now.

Youth participation was key, with a panel of young civil society actors closing the conference with a discussion around their unique experiences as engaged youth, as well as how philanthropy can (and why it should) support youth. The panel was made up of Winnie Asiti of Next Generation Climate Board (Global Greengrants Fund); Anna Bondarenko, Founder and Head, Ukrainian Volunteer Service; Ela Evliyaoğlu, Civil Society Expert, Gençlik Örgütleri Forumu; and Aleksej Leon Gajica, Junior Ambassador to the EU and for the Rights of the Children and Young People, UNICEF.

The 2023 Philea Forum was hosted by the (Croatian) National Foundation for Civil Society Development.

Quotes from some of the speakers at the Forum include:

Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography: “We have just passed through a devastating pandemic and are experiencing war on European soli again. Given the challenges that we face, in an increasingly uncertain world, it is vital that we deliver & leave no-one behind.”

Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General, Council of Europe: “Philanthropy and civil society are more important than ever in (dealing with) the multiple crises in Europe and the world.”

Cvjetana Plavsa-Matic, Director, National Foundation for Civil Society Development – Croatia: “The Philea Forum has been very important to create new opportunities for the development of our sector as well as to contribute to the improvement of philanthropy at national level.”

New publications released:

In the context of the Forum, Philea released two new reports:

For more information, please contact: Angela Pauly.


Angela Pauly
Head of Communications and Events