3 June 2022

European philanthropy community unites to address society’s interconnected and ever-growing challenges

Solidarity and support for Ukraine take centre stage at philanthropy conference in Europe

Brussels, 2 June – Against the backdrop of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and with just 8 years remaining to meet the targets set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more than 700 philanthropy professionals gathered this week in Barcelona for the first-ever Philea Forum, “Philanthropy United – The Time Is Now,” hosted by Philea member “la Caixa” Foundation.

The symbiotic nature of the relationships among climate, health, human rights, conflict, democracy and equality – areas where we are facing our biggest challenges as a global society – emerged as the main thread running through the conference. Along with this, the conference emphasised the critical importance of philanthropy engaging in multi-stakeholder partnerships in order to take a systemic and comprehensive approach to these challenges.  

Throughout the sessions, delegates pointed to the unique role for philanthropy in creating spaces for dialogue and understanding with citizens – and especially with youth – leading to novel channels for engagement of people in their societies. Resurrecting the voice of citizens was seen as key to finding solutions to the interconnected issues philanthropy and governments are wrestling with.  

“In the contexts of Ukraine and the climate crisis, to me this conference was about moving forward with hope and hard work to face these – and all the other challenges we’re up against – together,” said Delphine Moralis, Philea Chief Executive.  

The Forum included a moving plenary session on the war in Ukraine, with Philea members from the country sharing stories of what they are facing, both as individuals and as civil society actors, and how the resilience and solidarity of the Ukrainian people have emerged as a crucial factor in this situation. Philea members reiterated* their strong commitment to support Ukraine and those affected by the war.

“From what I have seen and heard at this conference, there is more than enough innovation and energy to push back against these crises,” said Angel Font, Corporate Director of Research and Health at “la Caixa” Foundation and President of Philea’s Board. “We only need the courage to take more risks, and the humility to work together.” 

Speakers Javier Solana, President of the Scientific Committee, “la Caixa” Foundation; Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, and one of the architects of the Paris Agreement; and António Vitorino, Director General of the United Nations International Organization for Migration, joined many others including youth activists Mariana Reyes and Adam Neda – who urged the sector to rethink how they engage with young people and build new space for collaboration and mutual learning. 

The conference closed with the launch of the #WhenWeUnite campaign, designed to showcase the diversity and breadth of philanthropic work across Europe, and the sector’s potential to play a key role in tackling the challenges the world faces.


Notes to the editor

*Philea, with key partners from the philanthropy sector launched the integrated online portals PhilanthropyForUkraine.eu and NGOforUkraine.eu to better coordinate the efforts, initiatives and calls for donations from the European philanthropy sector and NGO community in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

The Host Committee of the Philea Forum worked with Philea’s Disability Thematic Network, and in particular with Fundación ONCE, to meet key accessibility standards for this conference.

The 2023 Philea Forum will take place in Šibenik, Croatia from 24 to 26 May, 2023.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact Angela Pauly, Head of Communications at Philea: angela.pauly@philea.eu