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Die Erste Foundation: Philanthropy as an opportunity for sustainable change

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European conference of public benefit foundations held in Vienna – 400 guests turned Vienna into “capital of philanthropy”

(Vienna, Austria): The annual conference of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) came to a successful close yesterday. For three days, discussions among around 400 representatives of philanthropic foundations and organisations across Europe focused on trends and possible solutions to topical challenges. In addition to several plenary sessions and discussion rounds covering four thematic tracks (Climate, Democracy, Philanthropy, and Society), 17 coffee house talks were held on Tuesday, which took the guests to selected locations in Vienna where public benefit foundations are active. Several themes emerged across the discussions. Numerous participants recognised the critical need for diversity within the sector to bring new ideas and different perspectives to the table. They also called on philanthropic foundations to shift their power through more participatory grantmaking and increased support of local initiatives. Intersectionality as well as adopting an approach that involves a range of partners from different sectors are further trends that will increasingly determine the daily work in the future. Philanthropy needs to walk the talk – time is running out, especially when it comes to climate change.

Delphine Moralis, CEO of the European Foundation Centre since 2020, provided a positive summary of the conference: “Coming out of the lockdown phase of the Covid crisis and meeting face to face for the first time in over two years has given us a real sense of urgency in tackling the issues confronting us – from the climate crisis to societal issues and threats to democracy. At the same time, there has been a palpable sense of hope, of agency over these three days, a sense that by working together we can unleash the full potential of philanthropy at this critical time.”

ERSTE Foundation CEO Boris Marte and conference chair Franz Karl Prüller closed the conference by thanking the guests and all those involved in its organisation. The next European conference of public benefit foundations will be held in Barcelona in 2022. Recordings of the opening plenary (https://youtu.be/lgYa76l0Hkg) and the closing plenary (https://youtu.be/gwvYAhNqGCM) are available online. General information on the event in German and English is available at: https://science.apa.at/medienkooperation/erste-stiftung/. The long version of this text including statements of the four track hosts can be found here: https://www.erstestiftung.org/en/press/philanthropy-as-an-opportunity-for-sustainable-change/, and a picture gallery can be found here: https://www.apa-fotoservice.at/galerie/26911.

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