Foundations that conduct cross-border work currently face extra charges of over 100 million Euros per year. The actual number of activities that are not carried out due to a lack of proper legislation are unknown.
The European Day of Foundations and Donors, a DAFNE (Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe) initiative promoted by the Spanish Association of Foundations (AEF) in Spain, was celebrated for the first time on Tuesday, the 1st of October. The AEF organized an informative meeting on the Spanish and European foundation sector for this event, with the participation of 70 Spanish foundations.
Rosa Gallego, President of DAFNE and Director of the AEF, thanked the “foundations’ collective effort throughout the continent” in celebrating the first European Day of Foundations and Donors, an important day “to raise awareness about the sector” and its needs.
Gallego conducted a review of the macro figures for the European foundation sector, which currently consists of “110,000 foundations, most of which are public in nature, with approximately 83 billion Euros allocated to their activities each year.” According to Gallego, these figures “demonstrate how the foundation sector is an important economic player, which is experiencing a growth trend in quantitative terms, despite the crisis.” Gallego claims that Europe “has as many foundations as it currently needs” (research and education, social purposes, and health care, among others).
After reviewing the figures, Gallego focused on the main challenges facing the European foundation sector, including the “regulatory proposal of a European Foundation Statute,” presented by the European Commission in 2012, which was a “big step” for the sector. The lack of regulatory instruments such as this Statute generates “extra charges of over 100 million Euros per year,” and it is difficult “to evaluate what does not happen.” In other words, she added, “the number of cross-border activities that are not finally carried out due to the difficulties these foundations must overcome in order to operate in other countries.”
With regard to the Spanish foundation sector, Javier Nadal, President of the AEF, demanded that “provisions for creating a Single Protectorate be met” and that “incentives for legal and physical donors be improved” through modification of the current Sponsorship Law.
The fundaciones.es portal
Daniel Generoso, head of information management for the AEF, is in charge of presenting the evolution of the fundaciones.esportal, which is sponsored by the Mahou San Miguel Foundation. This is the “only complete directory” of Spanish foundations, “with nearly 14,000 registrations,” offering basic sector information, reports by area of activity, and combined, exportable graphics using economic data from the registered foundations. This site is definitively “a homogeneous source that facilitates the easy, effective search for information within the foundation sector.”
Promoted by the AEF, Fundaciones.es is the first online foundation search engine that provides information about this sector to civil society in an easy, organized way. It is also intended to create a self-sufficient community, with the goal of serving as an employment search site, providing information to people interested in collaborating as volunteers and putting them in contact with possible donors, or publishing news related to their activities, among other benefits.
The Spanish Association of Foundations (www.fundaciones.org)is a private, independent association, which has been declared of public interest. The Association currently includes over 1,000 Spanish foundations of various sizes, purposes, and areas of activity (local, provincial, regional, national and international). Its main functions include representing and defending the interests of all Spanish foundations, providing services to associated entities, and expanding and strengthening the foundation sector.
The Spanish foundation sector provides employment for 200,000 people at an approximate expense of 8.5 billion Euros, which accounts for 1% of Spanish GDP. There are over 23 million individual beneficiaries in this sector, which is considered to be independent and sustainable, as over 80% of its revenue is derived from private participation.