There was record attendance at EFC’s 19th Annual General Assembly (AGA) and Conference, which gathered over 630 participants in Istanbul. Delegates were challenged to consider what role foundations can play in encouraging social, cultural, scientific and technological change by working creatively. With keynote addresses from Mary Robinson, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Avila Kilmurray of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, as well as 31 sessions and 21 pre-conference events, participants had ample opportunity to share innovative ways to tackle common issues and learn from their peers.
This autumn sees the second annual meeting of the Grantmakers East Forum (GEF), which promotes the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This year’s conference will be held from 8 to 10 October in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and will pursue last year’s focus on how people can use democratic mechanisms to make their voices heard. It will also look at the role of culture and philanthropy in encouraging engagement. The European Forum for Philanthropy and Research Funding Stakeholders Conference is also holding its second meeting on 2 December in Milan. This year’s event will focus on ‘Partnerships in Research’.
EFC and its members continue to contribute to the debate on reforming the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime for public-benefit foundations in the European Union. EFC, Donors and Foundations’ Networks in Europe (DAFNE) and the European Charities’ Committee on VAT (ECCVAT) are calling for fair VAT treatment of public-benefit foundations, to allow them to maximize the impact of their work. The European Commission is to hold a public consultation on taxing public bodies beginning in late 2008 which will address this issue. It will be an opportunity for these bodies to make their case to the EU institutions. In the UK alone, charities and foundations are believed to lose over £400 million (€570 million) a year in VAT.