28 June 2022

New tools for collaboration between the European Union and philanthropy

InvestEU: Exploring ways for the EU and philanthropy to co-invest

The European Commission, together with Philea and EVPA, invited the European foundation sector to an online workshop held on 26 October 2021 to explore new entry-points for collaboration, in particular under the InvestEU Programme. The workshop explored a potential EU co-investment facility with philanthropy, which is set to combine EU and philanthropic capital under the InvestEU Programme. Participants included not only a wide range of Directorates-General of the European Commission (for instance DG ECFIN leading the EC initiative, DG EAC, DG CNECT, DG CLIMA, and DG EMPL), but also representatives from the European Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank, as well as a group of foundations and philanthropy support organisations across the Philea and EVPA networks.

The October 2021 workshop revealed great interest on the part of the different actors in continuing the discussions on the co-investment concept, as well as in developing additional co-funding and market development solutions for strengthening public-private collaboration and stimulating social investment ecosystems across Europe. The discussions stressed the importance of following an ecosystem approach addressing core societal challenges for the EU, which the public sector, philanthropy or the private sector could tackle alone. The case was made for the need to advance catalytic solutions and partnerships around the following core mission areas: (i) equality and inclusion, (ii) media, culture and democracy, and (iii) green transition and related societal transformation.

Social Economy Action Plan: Study on philanthropy

The Social Economy Action Plan (SEAP) was launched by the European Commission on 9 December 2021. The SEAP paves the way for a more enabling environment for philanthropy, as an actor of the Social Economy (SE) in its own right, and as a supporter of the SE. As we reported in our initial analysis of what is in the Social Economy Action Plan (SEAP) for philanthropy, the SEAP announced the launch of a “dedicated co-investment mechanism with foundations and philanthropic organisations” (page 16), as well as a specific study on philanthropy (page 22). A study on philanthropic capital is now being delivered under the European Investment Advisory Hub, and a second phase of the study diving into philanthropic giving is planned. The EU research aims to inform the next steps of how to move towards a Single Market for Philanthropy in the EU by supporting the design of tools to catalyse the efficient allocation of philanthropic resources to meet societal needs.

The European Commission is expected to reveal more information on the study and a broader initiative soon. European Commission DG ECFIN representative Georgia Efremova addressed the philanthropy community at the Philea Forum held at the end of May in Barcelona, alongside the researcher Thomas Venon, who is working on the first stage of the study. Under the working title “EU Good Capital”, Georgia and Thomas presented the study and its main questions and emerging trends based on focus group discussions and deep dive interviews with senior management across a range of European foundations. This first study aims to provide an overview of philanthropic capital in Europe. It will deliver an analysis of the nature and structure of interviewed organisations’ capital, the constraints and the practices of using investments as a mission-delivery tool, as well as the opportunities for accelerating change. This would in turn determine how present and future InvestEU tools could enhance the impact of philanthropic capital by creating replicable precedents and supporting the building of an increasingly efficient market for the allocation of the capital of philanthropic organisations to investments capable of acting as additional and sustainable vehicles for mission delivery. The Good Capital Study will be presented in autumn 2022.

As a representative body of European philanthropy, Philea continues the dialogue with the European Commission, in line with the Philanthropy Advocacy Manifesto, to leverage the impact of private resources for the public good by introducing financial instruments that stimulate co-investments by de-risking mission-related investments of institutional philanthropy.


Hanna Hanses
Policy Manager