In many ways the 2017 EFC annual conference in Warsaw has been a very moving and mind set changing experience. I met young game changers fighting for civil rights and freedom of speech. I heard women fighting for equal rights. I talked to philanthropy professionals receiving far less applications because citizens are afraid of engaging in civic activities.
I clearly sensed our European values being under pressure. And then we had the US president turning his back to the Paris Climate agreement. The timing of the conference theme was indeed very powerful.
Solidarity – say the word and lots of positive connotations springs to your mind. As concept solidarity is also quite multifaceted, clearly demonstrated by the conference’s spread in sessions and speakers.
Alas, we have discussed populism, gender inequality, migration, economical injustice, indignity, democracy, climate change and invisible walls. Just to mention some of the topics within the broad concept of solidarity.
So now following three intense days in historic Warsaw with my European ‘army’ of philanthropists, how do we proceed? How do we carry the tabs of solidarity high?
How do we bring our new insights and the sense of urgency for solidarity back home and into our daily philanthropic practice and framework?
I think we need to take a deep breath. Actions governed by emotions may be dangerous. As philanthropists we must build our efforts and programs on valid data and insights. Together with the civic society.
There are no quick fixes to solidarity. It’s complex – even within our own insular sector. We must go about it carefully with the right tools for facilitating the demands for a sound solidarity.
After Warsaw we have a common ground to build upon. We all felt a platform emerging. Let’s use our philanthropic power wisely.
As we go about with our daily lives, I am very interested in learning how other foundations plan to move on – both on the strategic and operational level. How do you see solidarity impacting your work?
Tine Wickers is Head of Communications for Nordea-fonden, Denmark.
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