22nd Conference of the European Foundation Centre in Caiscais

5/30/2011 - Networks

From May 26-28, the Annual General Assembly of the European Foundation Centre brought together 600 delegates from Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa for three intense days of plenary meetings, workshops and roundtable discussions. Participants emphasized the fundamental role of the philanthropic sector in social and societal innovation, reflecting the core mission of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation: the development of models that make change possible.

Welcomed by Emílio Rui Vilar of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and European Foundation Centre (EFC) Chair, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations actively participated in discussions on social innovation, with a special focus on the environment. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands spoke with enthusiasm of the Maldives’ pledge to become carbon neutral by 2020. The Edmond de Rothschild Group is particularly committed to helping the Maldives Government reach this goal.

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations also raised the issue of cross-cultural dialogue and social entrepreneurship − key areas of action for the Foundations − in discussions on political and social innovation. The philanthropic sector has become a testing ground for practical solutions to the social challenges facing society today. In recognition of her work in the context of the Arab Spring, for example, Bassma Kodmani, Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative, was awarded the Mercator Fund’s Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy in Europe.

The Acumen Fund , a longstanding partner of the Foundations, presented its “ecosystem” project, which supports development through electricity access in the Bihar region of India. The Foundations highlighted the importance of mobilizing social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and the local business community as a prerequisite to making these innovative initiatives a sustainable and integrated component of the local socio-economic fabric. The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations support this exchange among the key actors of every Foundation project − particularly in India − alongside other major partners.

Attendees’ interest in our message attests to the strong presence of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations worldwide, and provided an opportunity to increase awareness about the Foundation’s commitment to a strategic and innovative brand of philanthropy.