27 September 2019

European Parliament to debate ways to unlock philanthropy’s potential for public good


Brussels, 26 September 2019 – On 1 October MEPs and key stakeholders will gather at the European Parliament to debate how to release philanthropy’s untapped potential for public good across Europe. The debate, entitled “Single Market for Philanthropy ‒ Helping unlock the potential for public good across Europe”, will be hosted by European Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer and co-organised by the Philanthropy Advocacy initiative and the Renew Europe Group of the European Parliament. The event takes place on the European Day of Foundations and Donors, a day when foundations and national associations of donors across Europe raise public awareness about philanthropy.

The more than 147,000 foundations in Europe today provide €60 billion annually to organisations and projects across Europe. In a recent study, SwissFoundations and PWC found that foundations’ contribution to society amounts to more than the tax benefits they receive, and this within the first year of the creation of a foundation.

“We want to start a new conversation about what philanthropy can contribute to the European Union’s welfare,” says Nicola Beer. “There is so much untapped potential when it comes to foundations and civil society organisations – let us unlock it all together.”

The debate will focus on how philanthropy can support European values and how the sector can partner with key stakeholders to tackle rising inequality, provide space for innovation, help overcome social and political divisions, and connect with people and their real needs. Laurent Thieule of Project FC Kraainem in Belgium, and Stefania Coni of Fondazione CRT based in Italy, will present case studies to illustrate the diversity and important complementary role of philanthropy, and how it acts as a tool for citizens to contribute to the public good in Europe. Short keynote speeches looking at the topic from different perspectives will be given, followed by interventions by commentators:


  • Sven Giegold, Member of the European Parliament
  • Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Director General DG ECFIN, European Commission
  • Ludwig Forrest, King Baudouin Foundation


  • Sergey Lagodinsky, MEP, Greens, Germany
  • Ionut Sibian, Member of the EESC
  • Felix Oldenburg, CEO, German Association of Foundations
  • Felix Fernández-Shaw, Director DG DEVCO, European Commission

Foundations and donors provide expertise; support research and innovation; and use their independence and agility to provide strategic interventions for the public good. Often they engage in challenges that are neither trendy nor popular. At the local level, they work with communities to rebuild trust, providing support in a range of areas. Some examples include access to art through maintaining museums and exhibitions; support to homeless people and helping them find their own voice and place in society; scholarships to young people irrespective of their background and their parents’ income; and local environmental projects, to name a few.

Should you wish to attend the European Parliament event, please contact the DAFNE-EFC Philanthropy Advocacy secretariat: max.abendroth@dafne-online.eu or hsurmatz@efc.be, or register here.

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Links: More information on the “Single Market for Philanthropy ‒ Helping unlock the potential for public good across Europe”, event

European Philanthropy Manifesto – Private resources for public good

About Philanthropy Advocacy

The DAFNE and EFC joint advocacy project Philanthropy Advocacy acts as a monitoring, legal analysis and policy engagement hub for European philanthropy. Its main objective is to shape the national, European and international legislative environment by implementing the European advocacy roadmap for a Single Market for Philanthropy. www.philanthropyadvocacy.eu

About Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE)


DAFNE is Europe’s only network of donors and foundations associations. DAFNE is a leading voice of European donors and foundations with 30 member associations and a collective membership of more than 10,000 donors, foundations and grant-makers. DAFNE underpins individual activities of its members by encouraging dialogue and collaboration between the national associations. DAFNE is a member of WINGS, an associate partner of OECD netFWD and an active supporter of #NextPhilanthropy. DAFNE and the EFC jointly lead the Philanthropy Advocacy project.


About the European Foundation Centre (EFC)

As a leading platform for philanthropy in Europe, the EFC works to strengthen the sector and make the case for institutional philanthropy as a formidable means of effecting change. We believe institutional philanthropy has a unique, crucial and timely role to play in meeting the critical challenges societies face. More people and causes benefit from institutional philanthropy than ever before, from eradicating deadly diseases and making the world’s populations healthier to combating climate change and fighting for global human rights and equality. Working in close collaboration with our members, a dynamic network of strategically-minded philanthropic organisations from more than 30 countries, we:

  • Foster peer-learning by surfacing expertise and experience embedded in the sector
  • Enhance collaboration by connecting people for inspiration and joint action
  • Represent philanthropy for favourable policy and regulatory environments
  • Build a solid evidence base through knowledge and intelligence
  • Raise the visibility of philanthropy’s value and impact

The EFC and DAFNE jointly lead the Philanthropy Advocacy project.



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

Max von Abendroth, Executive Director, DAFNE, max.abendroth@dafne-online.eu, +32.494.50.51.79