At the European Foundation Centre 2019 Annual Conference, I speak to delegates to capture their reflections so far.
What is the currently philanthropy landscape in Italy, and what brings you to the EFC?
Fondazione Lang Italia is a Philanthropy Advisor, and a Study Center on Strategic Philanthropy. We are very keen on data and trends in philanthropy, in order to engage more UNHWI and corporates on this issue.
In terms of the landscape, in Italy we have at least 6,451 foundations (grantmaking, operating and community foundations). Grantmaking foundations are 20 per cent of these, and there are 88 banking foundations. Donations from all Italian foundations comes to around €1.5 billion. Within the third sector more broadly, this reaches €67 billion (4.3 per cent PIL), and we have at least 300,000 non-profit organisations.
What have been the highlights of the conference so far?
We are living in such times where national and international policies and crises are reshaping the political landscape. We are witnessing big threats to democracies, and backlash over our freedoms.
Philanthropy and civil society, now more than ever, needs to set the tone to face these global challenges and to be aware of their fundamental role – and their responsibility – in defending, fostering and nourishing innovation and social change towards a more inclusive, collaborative and sustainably society.
How do you think we should address the threats of freedom of speech and freedom of press in the age of “fake news”?
Obviously the media play a fundamental role, as they have the means to share knowledge, to inform and spread the truth. Especially when and where freedom of speech is at stake, the press should take a stand and keep its work inspired by, and aligned with, values such as ethics, independency, investigative journalism, transparency and quality.
A well-informed civil society is a necessary condition to protect our democracies, our freedoms and thus fighting inequalities and enable social change and improvement.
How do you think philanthropy can encourage new forms of solidarity and inclusion?
We think philanthropy can be leading force on this issue for different reasons – foundations are able to work together in order to make effective social change. This is the case in particular now that they use a strategic tool, knowing as the ‘Theory of Change’, more often, which aligns them immediately and helps them to measure their social impact.
It’s the 30th anniversary of the EFC – how has the EFC impacted you our your organisation’s practice?
Our practice in terms of executive education on strategic philanthropy, our Philanthropy Day and as philanthropy advisors has created a more blended value thanks to the EFC. Grantmaking and impact investing are now both relevant in our space, investors and funders are now used to staying at the same roundtable and our network of foundations abroad becomes more and more relevant.
Amy McGoldrick is Marketing and Advertising Officer at Alliance magazine