European Foundation Centre – Improving foundation human resources practice across Europe

For the last few years, Fondazione Cariplo and the European Foundation Centre (EFC) have been working to develop learning opportunities for foundation staff, recognizing that boosting the skills of foundation professionals in Europe is vital for a thriving sector.

This partnership originally came about as we had the sense that foundation professionals do their jobs well, but lack adequate opportunities to understand what other professionals with similar jobs are doing. Likewise, many learned their jobs by ‘doing’, but had not been formally introduced to approaches and tools that could make their work processes more efficient.

Having identified these gaps in the European foundation landscape, among other initiatives, TIEPOLO (Tailormade International Exchange Programme Offering Learning Opportunities) was conceived and launched. Through TIEPOLO, staff of EFC member organizations are placed with other members that have corresponding interests and expertise for short learning visits. The first year of the programme saw 15 Tiepolists sent across Europe and beyond, and has also offered an initial glimpse into human resource management in European foundations.

Using TIEPOLO and the experiences of the Tiepolists as a launching point, we are now keen to take discussions around the development of human resources in European foundations one step further. As such we are organizing a TIEPOLO Knowledge Sharing Meeting on 20 June at the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation in Barcelona. The goal of the day will be to strengthen the building of a human resource development strategy for European foundations. Our hope is that, in the long run, high-quality human resource practices will become embedded in the way that European foundations do business.

For more information
Contact Wendy Richardson at

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