Stepping into tomorrow: European Day of Foundations and Donors 2021
October 1st marks the European Day of Foundations and Donors – #October1Europe – a day when the European philanthropy sector comes together for a common goal: to showcase the role it plays in supporting European societies to the benefit of all of us, raise public awareness about philanthropy, and encourage more giving and civic action. Philanthropy has a unique potential to catalyse meaningful transformations, across communities both globally and locally.
This year’s theme, “Stepping into tomorrow,” shines a light on how philanthropy invests in the societies of tomorrow and what it needs to ensure it is fit for purpose in helping solve long-term global challenges. What will the future look like for the next generations? Will we be able to live in harmony with the planet? Will the generations to come have access to clean water and air? Will we be able to mobilise resources to overcome rising inequalities? With huge crises such as climate on the agenda, the future needs to start now.
European philanthropy is as diverse as European society. There are over 147,000 foundations in Europe today that provide annually €60 billion to organisations and projects. They are stepping up and investing their resources, both monetary and human, into shaping a brighter tomorrow. Foundations’ independence allows them to embrace a long-term vision and bring sustainability to the projects that they support. However, philanthropy with a European purpose remains unchartered territory.
It is with the above in mind we and Allianz Kulturstiftung for Europe commissioned Wider Sense to publish the study ‘Imagine Philanthropy for Europe’. With this study we invite philanthropists to step up their game. For as our director wrote: “The main barrier to philanthropic engagement for Europe seems to be the lack of European belief and purpose among philanthropists, among foundation board members, among foundation staff. There are also legal, fiscal, language and other barriers to committing foundation money to European purpose but these have been identified as rather secondary in the study… So it is high time for foundations to gear up their European action, get more political, and explore new funding avenues connecting private and public resources for Europe.”
One of the ways in which the European Cultural Foundation reacted to the Corona pandemic was launching the Culture of Solidarity Fund “to support cross-border cultural initiatives of solidarity in times of uncertainty and lockdown.” After five application windows we have supported almost 100 projects from 24 different European countries. On this page you can access interviews with the grantees and get acquainted with their work for the many futures of Europe.
We see this Culture of Solidarity Fund as our contribution to a new Cultural Deal for Europe, a transversal, overarching framework that should demonstrate the EU’s political commitment to place culture at the heart of the European project.
For it is culture that brings us together. It is at the basis of the European project and determines the future of our societies. The gravity of the Covid-19 crisis proved again that culture is not a luxury, but a necessity to build cohesive, equal, sustainable and free societies. A Cultural Deal for Europe is a call from a wider European cultural community to acknowledge the pivotal role of culture in shaping the future of our lives. You can endorse the campaign here.