Futures Philanthropy

Futures Philanthropy is an invitation to philanthropy to think about tomorrow, today, and embark on a pathway towards regenerative societies. Our vision is a diverse, future-fit European philanthropy that rises to the challenges of our times and continues asking relevant questions.  

Why futures thinking and philanthropy?

In fostering long-term thinking, the idea of the future becomes a tool and a process to shape present decisions. Each philanthropy practitioner and organisation follow a unique path. Some try new learning methods, create long-term strategies and granting mechanisms, and involve communities and youth in decision-making. Futures thinking empowers us to challenge dominant images of the future by imagining alternative scenarios, and amplifying our sense of agency through the belief that today’s choices can shape tomorrow’s realities. 

Futures thinking and foresight can enable philanthropy to live up to its potential of being forward-looking, risk-taking, and innovative. By developing a futures culture, philanthropy can stay open and flexible and expand its toolbox with new, non-linear strategies and practices to embrace complexity and uncertainty as a feature of our times.

Futures Philanthropy: Anticipation for the Common Good

Start your futures journey with “Futures Philanthropy: Anticipation for the Common Good”, a practical guide for foundation leaders, board members, philanthropy infrastructure practitioners, donors, advisors, philanthropy researchers and civil society professionals.  

Created with the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, it offers insights on how to embed a futures mindset and apply futures tools, how to navigate the contours of an ever-changing landscape, evaluate current and future risks and opportunities, and get inspired by existing futures practices in the field. 

Futures Philanthropy activities

Through the Future Philanthropy initiative, we collectively create futures literacy, offering research and opportunities for collaboration and learning to bolster the relevance, legitimacy, and impact of European philanthropy.   

Learning and applying knowledge to philanthropic and civil society context

  • We co-create and share futures literacy, knowledge, skills and tools, to encourage practitioners to apply futures thinking to their contexts, spanning strategy, investments, grant and programme design, partnerships and innovation.
  • Through the Futures Philanthropy Gathering of Leaders, we provide a space for peer-learning and collective action towards regenerative society.

Collaborating and acting together

  • Our Futures Philanthropy Community of Practice brings together CEOs, board members, heads of strategy and learning, foresight specialists, researchers and programme managers of philanthropic foundations and philanthropy networks.
  • We use foresight and futures thinking to create scenarios, collaborate and act at an ecosystem level.

Co-creating evidence and inspiring the field

  • Through the ThinkLab sessions (our “kitchen of foresight”) we co-create evidence and anticipate the key drivers of change impacting European philanthropy.
  • We bring visibility to inspiring futures-oriented philanthropic practices and share the learnings through case studies.

How to get involved

We cannot predict the future, but we can reflect on critical uncertainties and blind spots, identify crucial blockers and enablers of social change, keep asking questions, and imagine the future together.

Share insights with us by filling our survey and explore potential pathways for collaboration!

Our partners


Hanna Stähle
Head of Foresight and Innovation
Alina Shenfeldt
Programme Manager – Membership and Foresight
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