Alliance

Debate sparked between MEPs and philanthropists on Idea of single market philanthropy

Members of European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee discussed creating a European space for donors and fostering cross-border giving. The debate was entitled 'Single Market for Philanthropy – Helping unlock the potential for public good across Europe' and saw the emergence of a cross-party alliance between Greens, Renew, EPP and S&D. To create a European space for donors, MEPs Sven Giegold and Sergey Lagodinsky discussed a potential proposal for a 29th regime of a 'European public benefit statute'. Regulatory tax barriers, affecting cross-border philanthropy within the EU, currently undermine this. The Romanian Council Presidency issued an EESC opinion on Philanthropy, calling on the EU to promote organised philanthropy, and asking for elimination of barriers within the internal market.

Reflections on legal barriers to cross-border #philanthropy in Europe

The European Union has rules implementing a single market for for-profit activities while nonprofit, philanthropic activities lack any comparable system. There is increasingly a 'closing space' for civil society organizations engaged in cross-border activities. The legal barriers to cross-border philanthropy represent complex issues in Europe, especially since they reflect the larger division over the extent of European integration and union. Addressing them therefore requires diligence, creativity, and an appreciation of the larger political context. The European organizations have all of these characteristics.
It is their efforts that have led to growing support for philanthropy, as demonstrated most recently by the European Philanthropy Manifesto and the European Economic and Social Committee’s opinion on 'European philanthropy: an untapped potential'.

Wealthy #philanthropists call on themselves to pay more tax

A group of wealthy Americans have written an open letter to the 2020 presidential candidates in support of a wealth tax. The letter is signed by 20 individuals including philanthropist George Soros, Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes, Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Blue Haven Initiative co-founders Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons. The group outlined six key reasons why they are in favour of a wealth tax, including using it to fight climate crisis, boosting the economy, improving public health and strengthening freedom and democracy. While the letter refers to arguments against a wealth tax, the signatories claim these are mostly technical and often overstated. The letter further shows that polls indicate that higher taxes for the wealthy is politically popular.

UNHCR unveils Refugee #Zakat Fund

The United Nations Refugee Agency has launched a new global structure that transforms UNHCR’s existing Zakat programme into a global fund. UNHCR unveiled its 'UNHCR Zakat Program: 2019 Launch Report', which shows that global Zakat giving stands at $76 billion worldwide, and could potentially reach an amount as high as $356 billion. According to Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s Head of Private Sector Partnerships, it was inevitable for the Zakat program to evolve into a structure that better appeals to the global Islamic finance industry. The Fund allows UNHCR to be even more transparent. The decision to restructure the Zakat program into the global Refugee Zakat Fund is due to the high donor turnout UNHCR has witnessed in the past years.

How interfaith #philanthropy can minimize violence in the name of religion

Religion-based philanthropy entails sharing and assistance activities conducted without discrimination between ethnicity, religion or race. In Indonesia it is increasingly common for philanthropic agencies to collaborate and develop interfaith partnerships to carry out humanitarian missions in conflict and disaster areas. For example, The Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation assists the community of pesantren and builds housing for Muara Angke residents, who are predominantly Muslim. The catholic Karina Foundation develops emergency response and disaster risk reduction programs. Islamic Philanthropy Institutions such as Dompet Dhuafa, Lazismu, Rumah Zakat, PKPU, Aksi Cepat Tanggap, Wahid Institute, also work together and readily help non-Muslim communities. Interfaith philanthropy is especially important in the current environment in which the unity of Indonesia is under attack by religious separatists. Many institutions collaborate on running programs. Through collaboration, suspicion can be minimized and the programs can be run optimally.

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