Philea Forum 2024: Trust and Philanthropy

Alliance magazine

In an era marked by the ongoing erosion of public trust in established institutions and growing demands for democracy, equality, climate action and social justice, the conference offered a space for philanthropy practitioners to share practical strategies and explore innovative ways to strengthen philanthropy’s role in building trust in democracy, in institutions, and between generations.

Daily conference reports

Day 1: Is philanthropy rock and roll?

Elaine Stabler, Alliance magazine

Under the title of ‘Trust and Philanthropy’, the 2024 Philea Forum sought to answer two pressing questions: how can philanthropic organisations build and maintain trust in the eyes of their beneficiaries? And how can they help quell the rising tide of misinformation?

The opening plenary began with a welcome address from Philea President, Angel Font and CEO of the King Baudouin Foundation, Brieuc Van Damme. Perhaps because of his surroundings, Font was inspired to open the Forum by comparing philanthropy to some of the artists who had once graced the same stage, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana, stating philanthropy ‘can be somewhat rock and roll too.’ Read more…

Day 2: ‘The miracle of Europe’

Amy McGoldrick, Alliance magazine

In beautiful but stormy Ghent, Belgium – sat in the beautiful and ornate theatre room of Viernulvier, I sat and waited for the first session of the day: Safeguarding democratic values: Breaking the silos of climate, gender and anti-racism.

The beauty of my surroundings was enhanced by the history of the building; Viernulvier was originally conceived as the festival and arts centre for the Ghentian labour movement, for the intellectual development of their workers.

This proud history of organising, of the pursuit of art and rights against a backdrop of attacks, all rang true while listening to the speakers on stage. Read more…

Reader’s poll winner

Alliance asked its readers what session they would like to hear about most in a poll. This year it was a tie! Take a look at our conference reports below.

What it means to talk about conflict

Amy McGoldrick, Alliance magazine

This fishbowl session was the only one to be added by the Philea team directly; with all that’s occurring in our time, ‘we strongly felt that we could not have an event on philanthropy and trust without having a conversation on this issue,’ said Delphine Moralis, CEO at Philea.

First to speak was Patricia McIlreavy, President and CEO at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. ‘The scale and frequency of natural hazards is increasing – conflict is often driven by the need for land, economic needs, so the more we are pushing communities into dire straits with natural hazards, the more you’ll see additional conflicts. Read more…

Uncovering foundations’ impact investing sphere

Zibran Choudhury, Alliance magazine

With the direct impact investing market in Europe estimated at €80 billion, there seems to be a opportunity to achieve more impact, and there was huge interest at the forum in the launch of a joint programme by Philea and Impact Europe to help philanthropic organisations incorporate impact investing approaches into their grantmaking. Read more…


Reflections from delegates

Trust is the air that we breathe

Deirdre Treacy, Technological University Dublin

At the closing plenary, there was an insight shared by António Feijó, President of the Board of Trustees at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, that really struck a chord with me. As he reflected on increased political polarisation, he noted:

“The conversation is broken, there’s a breakdown in contact. What we need for the conversation to proceed is trust. Trust is the air we breathe.” Read more…

Building trust and investing in relationship infrastructure for rights movements

Marta Garbarino, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

‘Trust is the currency all philanthropic transactions are based on’ stated Philea CEO Delphine Moralis at the 2024 Forum in Ghent. Her words set a pragmatic tone for three days of dynamic exchanges where foundations, innovators, and experts came together to examine insights, explore solutions, and build valuable connections. Read more…


Trust, interconnectedness, and the climate sector

Alanya Dhalla​​​​, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

I left this year’s Philea forum reflecting on the importance of trust and the challenges of silos within philanthropy and the social sector. Over the course of the forum, sessions and panellists showcased the interconnectedness of our work, sectors, and the world at large, highlighting that our success is intricately intertwined with the success of others. Read more…


Movements are critical for building trust

Ame Trandem, Plastic Solutions Fund

The Plastic Solutions Fund is a new Philea member, and at this, our first Philea Forum, my colleagues and I were excited to dive into the theme of “Trust and Philanthropy.” Trust is at the core of our theory of change and with elections across the continent and beyond, trust made for a timely theme. Read more…


News from the conference

“Societal shift” around philathropists using endowment for positive impact

Philanthropists’ interest in incorportating impact investing, both in grantmaking and their endowment, is growing, according to two philanthropic support organisations.

Impact Europe and Philea (Philanthropy Europe Association) have released new guidance for philathropists looking to diversify. They say they’ve had incresing interest from philathropic organisations wanting to know more about how best to invest for impact with both grantmaking and endownment.

Philea Forum 2025…

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