Funders Forum on Sustainable Cities

This network aims to increase philanthropy’s role and effectiveness in advancing sustainable and inclusive growth in cities; tackling urban poverty, promoting equitable development and opportunities; and strengthening local governance and citizen participation in local decision-making.

GMF Cities – Cities of Tomorrow

The Chicago Commitment ‒ Cities of Tomorrow

DK2020 Climate Initiative – Cities of Tomorrow

Independent of where they are, their size, or even stage of development, cities share a number of core characteristics and face the same fundamental challenges. Cities are also key spaces for philanthropic investment, impact and innovation across all spheres of life. Foundations have the attributes and assets to support the processes, capacities and innovations, both at the local level and across geographic boundaries, that are essential to building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable urban future.



  • Infrastructure needs
  • Community well-being and public safety
  • Good governance and leadership transparency
  • Citizen participation in decision-making
  • Social inclusion
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience



  • Organising peer-learning webinars on examples of successful approaches and methodologies in cities and thematic webinars on the global processes linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Habitat III agenda
  • Compiling a series of case studies on effective philanthropic involvement in cities
  • Maintaining an online sharing and learning platform to discuss common challenges and share useful resources
  • Organising an annual autumn conference reaching a wider network of philanthropic actors and featuring local examples and success stories


Network background

The creation of the Forum in 2011 was one of the key outcomes of the joint Philea-Council on Foundations-WINGS Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative (GPLI).


Relationship with the SDGs

Understanding European philanthropy, and how its work relates to the Sustainable Development Goals, is essential when it comes to finding ways of leveraging existing and potential areas of synergy.

The work of the Philea’s Thematic Networks cover the entire range of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (even if they don’t always refer to them explicitly), which are a key part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The work of the Funders’ Forum on Sustainable Cities touches upon the following SDGs:


Steering Committee

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Fondazione Adriano Olivetti
Fondazione Sviluppo e Crescita CRT
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Relevant Events


Giulia Lombardi
Senior Programme Manager – Climate Collaborations
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