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Philanthropy in Europe

Capital, work, and goods enjoy freedom of movement within Europe, but the public cannot yet benefit from the same when it comes to investments. The processes of globalization, internationalization, and economic concentration have led to a situation where more and more philanthropists (both private individuals and legal persons) have capital available to them in different countries that they contribute to a foundation’s assets.

This is true for philanthropists located in Europe as well as for multinational corporations and wealthy private individuals from outside of the European Union who intend to get involved in issues affecting the common good in EU member states or other European countries. In so doing, global corporations headquartered in the United States in particular are following a practice familiar in the US; namely, they are proving themselves to be good corporate citizens by getting involved in the company’s key business locations in Europe as well.

At this point, there are major hurdles when it comes to transnational European philanthropy benefiting the European common good. Contributions to the expressly European common good cannot be organized in a single legal form with one central location. This being the case, 25 leading experts from all over Europe have developed a proposal for a new European legal form, the European foundation. The purpose of this additional option is to simplify both cross-border philanthropy and donations at the EU level as well as pan-European philanthropy.


Project start date: December 1, 1998

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