New report on community foundations in Europe

28.09.2022 | “Community foundations make an important global to local connection in relation to the SDGs and the climate crisis”

>> Read the full report here 

The European Community Foundation Initiative has released its report on the state of the field in Europe in 2022.

Europe has over 850 community foundations in 22 countries. According to the report, they “are impressive proof of how philanthropy and local action can generate approaches and solutions in a wide range of contexts.” The report documents the evolution of these foundations. It examines the wider European landscape, as well as providing context on domestic developments.

The report defines European community foundations as:

• independent and governed by a board of citizens broadly reflective of the communities they serve;
• seek to build, over time, assets and funds from a wide range of donors, including local citizens, other foundations, businesses, and public bodies;
• accumulate and deploy capital (in various forms – human, financial, physical, intellectual, social and
cultural) to make grants or implement activities that address a wide variety of needs in the locality;
• engage in a range of community leadership and partnership activities, serving as catalysts, convenors,
collaborators and facilitators to solve problems and develop solutions to important community issues.

On the whole, it concludes that the community foundation landscape in Europe is highly diverse, influenced by each country’s unique social and political context. This in turn means they are generally better established in Western Europe than in their Eastern counterparts. The report also recognises the contributions made by community foundations to civil society efforts to alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and how collaboration between different actors can yield positive results.

The Association of German Foundations (Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen) hosts the European Community Foundation Initiative. This Initiative aims to promote the concept across the continent. The BDS has over 4500 members.