European Values - Promoting Solidarity at a Time of Austerity. What Role can Philanthropy Play?

A summary report based on discussions at a convening in Brussels, Belgium, October 7-8, 2014

This report presents a summary of the discussions that took place at a convening organized in Brussels on Oct 7-8, 2014 by the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace (PSJP).  The event was arranged in collaboration with the Network of European Foundations and the Even’s Foundation (Antwerp) and was  entitled “European Values - Promoting Solidarity at a Time of Austerity. What Role can Philanthropy Play?” The convening brought together a small group of individuals, from foundations and networks of foundations in Europe, interested in looking analytically at the underlying problems, reflecting on different approaches to tackling the problems and seeking to make a greater impact on the current difficult environment.

The meeting was conceived and designed based on findings of a survey carried out by the Working Group in 2013- 2014, which pointed to “a lack of effective tools among European Foundations to manage the complexity of what is needed to address change, to tackle the EU system, to strengthen civil society, or to mobilize populations to engage with these issues.” The survey further revealed a “strong sense of powerlessness among respondents, … in the sense that they feel alone with too few resources to tackle the depths of the problems properly. People complain of the lack of a widespread vision about what could be different.”

Against this backdrop, the convening offered the opportunity “to explore the ground and open the space for honest conversation” on the context in Europe today and discuss the role of foundations and effective ways of working to make a greater impact on the Europe’s current problems.

The objectives of this report are to present:

  • the analysis emerging from the discussions about the context in Europe and what it means for philanthropy
  • emerging ideas about effective strategies for philanthropy in the current context
  • ideas emerging from the practitioners about what’s needed to advance the conversation and thinking in philanthropy in addressing the current challenges

It is hoped that this report will provoke multiple and diverse responses, from philanthropy, to the opportunities presented in the current crisis.

SUMMARY REPORT-Europe 2014.pdf3.62 MB