The health of the planet is tied inextricably to the health of those living on it. Philanthropy has been mitigating the effects of Covid-19 while at the same time keeping focus on the other critical challenges we all face, from the climate crisis to rising social injustice and inequality, all of which have been aggravated by the pandemic.

The European Foundation Centre‘s Conference in Vienna will represent the first time that our membership will be able to come together as one for more than two years. We never imagined that could happen, but since the last EFC conference in Paris in 2019, what was previously unimaginable has become reality, and the previously impossible has become possible.

The official conference invitation video won a Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award 2019.

So how can philanthropy build on the momentum of the innovations of the past two years to help accelerate real sustainable change, not in the distant future, but right here and now? With no vaccine for the climate crisis, and no herd immunity for inequality, the conference will look at ways for philanthropy to help catalyse a more holistic response to the vast challenges that still lie ahead. The event will take shape via four interwoven strands – Climate, Democracy, Philanthropy and Society – each moderated by an expert who is widely recognised in the field, and will consider the four underlying themes of culture, digital agenda, education and civic engagement.

The EFC’s annual conference gives members the chance to meet with professionals and representatives from philanthropy, corporates, NGOs, EU and multilateral institutions, think tanks and the media. Participants share, learn and explore together new ideas and approaches to tackling the urgent challenges of our times, forging connections that last well beyond the conference.

The event is held in a different European city each year, rotating back to Brussels regularly to give delegates a chance to engage in the EFC’s ongoing advocacy work with the EU institutions and policymakers.


Vienna is hosting the conference for the first time with ERSTE Foundation chairing the Programme Committee as well as the Host Committee. The conference will need to adapt to the ‘new normal’, so things will be done a little differently this year. The EFC Conference 2021 will take place from 18-20 October 2021 on a smaller scale than usual.

For the programme and more details of the conference please visit the EFC Conference page.

Since more than 30 years, the conference addresses societal issues that are relevant to the future of Europe and the world at large, such as inequality, social injustice, and inclusive and participatory societies. Each year an overarching theme is chosen that provides a lens through which to view current issues as well as the various areas in which philanthropy works – from gender to ageing to urban development to research, to name just a few.

Previous themes:

Cover picture: Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna, Austria