On 1. October 2019, we are celebrating the European Day of Foundations and Donors to showcase the role foundations play in European societies for the benefit of all of us. The Europe-wide photo project FOCUS: Philanthropy, initially launched by the Russian Donors Forum, sheds light on foundations’ everyday work and how they empower those most vulnerable and marginalised.
European philanthropy is as diverse as European society. There are over 147,000 foundations in Europe today that provide annually € 60 bn to organisations and projects. Foundations and donors work with local communities to rebuild trust, provide access to art by maintaining museums and exhibitions, support homeless people and help them find their own voice and their place in society, provide scholarships to young people, engage in challenges that are neither trendy nor popular.
Foundations complement the work done by the welfare state. This is the reason why, in many European countries, foundations and charitable organisations enjoy tax benefits. In a recent study, SwissFoundations and PWC found out that foundations contribute more to society as compared to the foregone taxes: ‘Based on absolute figures, the break-even point is reached after 214 days. From this point forward, the grants provided by the foundation permanently exceed tax losses’.
Philanthropy as we see it is about empowerment. Empowerment of those who are in need. Empowerment of people whose voices are unheard or marginalised. Empowerment of vulnerable communities. These are the stories of FOCUS: Philanthropy project. Initially launched by the Russian Donors Forum and now supported by DAFNE and its wider network, it shows the diversity of European philanthropy and its contribution to society.
On 1. October 2019, Foundations and national associations across Europe raise public awareness about philanthropy by organising conferences, barcamps, happenings, debates and media campaigns at local, national and international levels.
Join the online conversation on social media using the hashtag #October1Europe and following @DafneHQ.
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Events happening around Europe include:
- Austria – Austrian Foundations Association is celebrating the European Day of Foundations and Donors by organising its annual conference, this year’s theme is: ‘Together We can Achieve more! How Philanthropic Cooperation Culture Can Strengthen the Austrian Education Sector’. See here the programme of the conference and announced speakers. The First Austrian Philanthropy Prize will be awarded at the end of the conference.
- Belgium – Debate ‘Single Market for Philanthropy: Helping Unlock the Potential for Public Good across Europe’ in the European Parliament, hosted by Vice-President Nicola Beer, MEP. Together with EFC, DAFNE invites to join the discussion on how philanthropy can tackle rising inequality, provide space for innovation, help overcome social and political divisions and connect with people and their real needs. For more information go here.
- Bulgaria – Bulgarian Donors Forum will announce the results of its annual study on Philanthropy in Bulgaria.
- France – French Foundation Centre mobilises more than 800 representatives of foundations and associations as well as political leaders at the Théâtre du Châtelet on 30. September 2019 at 4 p.m at the event titled “Exceptional Mobilisation of Foundations in Favour of the General Interest.” The evening seeks to raise the voices of funds, foundations and their beneficiaries in order to demonstrate the challenges posed by the government’s desire to lower the rate of tax exemption of corporate donations. More information can be found here. For the occasion of the European Day of Foundations and Donors, other events are organised by foundations in the region.
- Germany – Association of German Foundations is organising a wide range of events in the House of Philanthropy in Berlin, inviting foundations, donors and interested public to mark the European Day of Foundations and Donors by submitting projects online and joining the discussion in Berlin as well as in social media under the hashtag #TagderStiftungen. The events are organised under the main theme ‘for each other, with each other’. Further information can be found here.
- Italy – Italian associations ACRI and ASSIFERO have launched a nation-wide media campaign under the hashtag #quantocambia to provide insights into what philanthropy is changing in people’s everyday lives.
- Liechtenstein – Association of Liechtenstein Charitable Foundations is inviting foundations and interested public to join the discussion at the techno park Vaduz. Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein will provide a keynote speech ‘Sustainable Actions and Investments’. Please follow this link for more information about the event and how to register.
- Portugal – Portuguese Foundation Centre will announce the video project ‘Testimonies of the Work of Foundations’ on the 1. October 2019 and spread 2-minute videos until the end of the year on Facebook and YouTube.
- Spain – #Somosfundaciones is a hashtag introduced by the Spanish Association of Foundations to raise public awareness about philanthropy’s contribution to Spanish society.