Major European philanthropy conference comes to Belfast with support from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland

600 delegates are preparing to visit Belfast for a major philanthropic investment conference, taking place from 6-8 June.

Belfast beat off stiff competition from a number of key European cities to host the 23rd European Foundation Centre Annual Conference, which has not had a UK venue for almost 20 years. The conference has been supported by a number of local and national Trusts and Foundations.

The theme of the conference is the role of philanthropy in achieving peace through social justice, as it was revealed by the Association of Charitable Foundations that peacebuilding in Northern Ireland has benefitted from £175 million in philanthropic grants.

A platform of high-profile speakers has been arranged, including Jeff Raikes, CEO of the world’s largest philanthropic organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

John R. Healy, Conference Host Committee Chair and Chairman, Philanthropy Ireland said; “Belfast has emerged from thirty years of conflict to establish itself as an exciting destination.

“The city provides the perfect location for lively discussions on how philanthropy can help divided communities resolve their differences.

“The conference will explore the social justice approach to philanthropy and its relevance to divided societies.

“Foundations active in Northern Ireland over the last three decades have learnt that grant-making has the greatest impact when it is focused on those who are most marginalized and those who advocate for social change”.

Looking ahead to the conference Avila Kilmurray, Director of The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, said “The conference will use Belfast’s historic backdrop to explore global peace and social justice issues.

“Innovative conference sessions and inspiring site visits will enable delegates to understand how a former conflict zone can move from a violent past to a vibrant present and they will learn how foundations can play a key role in supporting this process.

“A key area for debate will be how to evaluate philanthropy’s impact in times of austerity.

“There are daily reminders of how the current financial crisis is having a devastating effect on the economic, social and political stability of our society. That makes it all the more important that foundations understand their own impact.”

Other world class speakers joining Jeff Raikes include celebrated South African judge and human rights activist Albie Sachs. Providing a local focus, Jackie Redpath, CEO Greater Shankill Partnership and Geraldine McAteer, CEO West Belfast Partnership, will share their experiences of working to secure peace through social justice and how foundations supported their efforts.

The conference will be the essential meeting place for foundation professionals from Europe and around the world to share experiences and to debate peace and social justice and other pressing philanthropic topics Sessions on risk-taking in philanthropy; a role for foundations in the Israel/Palestine conflict; how foundations can introduce to their work a focus on gender; and the opportunities for philanthropy to address climate change issues will all take place during the three day conference.

For more information on the conference please click here

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