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European Foundation Centre


The European Foundation Centre is an association of foundations and corporate funders with members from around Europe and the world.

Our European and global perspective on foundations and the landscape they inhabit gives us a “helicopter view” that presents a unique opportunity for us as an organisation, hand in hand with our members, to reflect on, understand, engage with and together strengthen the environment for foundations.

Today the EFC represents more than 200 members and is staffed by a committed team whose goal it is to support them, both individually and collectively, in their work to foster positive social change in Europe and beyond.

The EFC policy department works to analyse trends and issues within the sector and explore the wider context in which foundations operate, which affect them and the communities they serve. We analyse EU policy and regulatory frameworks in order to promote issues and influence policy from this perspective. We connect our members to diverse networks and sources of expertise and facilitate their exposure to new intelligence and provocative thinking on the issues they are grappling with.

Our resource centre, both online as an e-service and onsite at the EFC’s offices at Philanthropy House in Brussels, is a hub of information on philanthropy and the myriad areas foundations are involved in. Going beyond mere data gathering, our resource team harvests intelligence on our membership, their activities and areas of interest and makes this information available to our members upon request.

Our Thematic Networks bring like-minded funders together to break out of silos and inspire new thinking, providing a platform for peer-learning, collaboration, incubation of new ideas, issue-based policy work and for spotting emerging issues in their field. Forty percent of the EFC’s membership is active in one or more Thematic Networks. As such, the Thematic Networks offer a key entry point and space for EFC members to act within the larger European and global philanthropic frameworks on the issues they care about.

The EFC Disability Thematic Network has been active since 2009 and responds to the need for better understanding and monitoring of the implementation of the United Nation Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD). This ground-breaking and legally binding treaty produced a paradigm shift from tackling disability as a health issue to a mainstream human rights topic. Within this context, in 2010 a group of foundations set up a working group to discuss, learn and share experiences on different aspects of disability. One of the most successful outcomes of this working group has been a pilot project fostering accessibility in historical cities, making sure at the same time that both the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of the historical heritage are protected and preserved. The League of Historical and Accessible Cities (LHAC) project has inspired the STRING project as the accessible itineraries in Turin, Avila and Sozopol were designed under the LHAC project.