Europa Nostra promotes a European Philanthropy Coalition for Culture and Cultural Heritage at Philea Forum in Barcelona

In the context of the very first Philea Forum – a converged event of the European Foundation Centre and DAFNE – Europa Nostra, in partnership with the European Cultural Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, organised a session entitled “Towards a Philanthropy Coalition for Culture and Cultural Heritage in Europe” on 31 May in Barcelona, Spain. The Philea Forum, hosted by “la Caixa” Foundation, took place from 30 May to 1 June. The forum was placed under the theme “Philanthropy United – The Time is Now” with its three main pillars: “One planet, One health”, “United in Diversity” and “Culture & Creativity”.

The event was moderated by Cristina Loglio, responsible for European Policies on Culture at the Touring Club Italiano, a Member Organisation of Europa Nostra, and gathered three expert speakers: André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, Miguel Magalhães, Director of Gulbenkian Culture Programme at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and Carola Carazzone, Vice-President of Philea and Secretary General of Assifero.

At a time of multiple challenges across Europe, this session aimed at sharing the vision, joining forces and taking a step forward to ensure a viable sustainable future for our shared cultural heritage, thereby unlocking its full potential for peace-building and dialogue, climate action, social cohesion and well-being as well as a thriving economy, with the ultimate ambition to launch a Philanthropy Coalition for Culture and Cultural Heritage in Europe.

In her introduction, Cristina Loglio recalled the recent philanthropic emergency responses and solidarity initiatives with Ukraine – such as the European Culture of Solidarity Fund Ukraine edition of the European Cultural Foundation, and the Heritage Solidarity Fellowship for Ukraine launched jointly by Europa Nostra and the Global Heritage Fund , in partnership with ALIPH. She emphasised that these initiatives demonstrate that philanthropy with a European purpose is possible and beneficial while the cultural and heritage ecosystem still lacks proper and diversified funding mechanisms and no legal framework exists to allow the development of a genuine European philanthropic market.

To illustrate the added value of investing in cultural heritage with a European purpose, Manon Richard, EU Project Officer at Europa Nostra, presented initiatives awarded the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards that were (partly) supported by private foundations, such as The Portal of Glory, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and The Ambulance for Monuments, Romania.

The engaging discussions started with André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, who called for matching funds between philanthropy and the EU. “It is difficult to admit that philanthropy is behind the curve. Going to the European level is not a competition but a combination of funding sources,” he stated.

Miguel Magalhães, Director of Gulbenkian Culture Programme, explained how the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is supporting heritage and contemporary creation as well as the new challenges the foundation is facing. “We need to reinvent and use tools to innovate the philanthropic ecosystem in Europe while engaging local communities,” he said.

Carola Carazzone, Vice-President of Philea and Secretary General of Assifero, presented the Philanthropy Coalition for Climate by Philea: a pledge by 528 foundations globally to mobilise the philanthropy ecosystem in Europe and address the climate crisis as a societal and cross-cutting issue. She also called on other foundations to “look at culture and cultural heritage not as a separate or stand-alone issue, but as a relevant sector for any philanthropic organisation in Europe for bringing communities back together.”

In between the interventions, participants were invited to co-reflect and exchange on the following questions: “How is your philanthropic organisation supporting culture and cultural heritage (at national or European level)?”; “What are the new challenges in your philanthropic organisation for culture and cultural heritage?”; and “What can your philanthropic organisation do to go cultural?”.

Building on several recent initiatives on funding for cultural heritage, such as the Foundations4Heritage meetinggs, the workshop on complementary sources of funding for cultural heritage, the Cultural Deal for Europe and the roundtable discussion “Mobilising the transformative power of European Foundations for the benefit of Cultural Heritage”, this session further engaged foundations in using the power of culture and heritage for building a peaceful, sustainable and beautiful future for our societies, communities, and our Europe.

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