Goodbye to Carlo Borzaga.

3 March 2024

Prof. Carlo Borzaga, honorary president of Euricse and world-renown expert on the social economy, passed away after a serious illness at the age of 75. Considered a beacon in the landscape of cooperation and social economy, he is recognized as one of the “fathers” of the most significant italian laws on social cooperation and organized volunteering. In early 2023 he was granted the honorary title of Commendatore dell’Ordine “Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” from the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella. It is a very prestigious title, intended for those who have distinguished themselves for special merits towards the nation in the fields of letters, arts and economy. The painful news of his passing was announced by his family.

Trento, march 3rd,2024


Throughout his prolific career as a researcher, lecturer and social entrepreneur, Carlo Borzaga has been a distinguished presence in the national and international public debate. Combining thought and action, he has embodied and continues to personify a public figure dedicated to issues of considerable importance to the development of our country. His perspective combined academic rigor with a deep commitment to social activism.

Mario Diani, current president of Euricse since 2022, remembers him this way: «With the passing of Carlo Borzaga,  we have not only lost the world-renowned economist who helped bring the issues of social enterprise and social economy to the center of international debate. We have lost the social entrepreneur, the inspirer of public policies and legislative innovations, the visionary who never gave up the idea that the third sector, volunteerism, and cooperation could change the world in which we live. But above all, we have lost a wonderful person who will remain in the hearts of all who knew him».

The friends and colleagues of Euricse are mourning their founder, mentor and friend.  «We will miss his passion, dedication, profound knowledge, moral rigor and the humanity with which he treated all the people that he worked with. Our most sincere condolences go to his wife Carla, his children Anna and Matteo, and his entire family».


Who was Carlo Borzaga

Born in 1948, Carlo Borzaga graduated in Sociology in 1972 from the University of Trento, where he then served as professor from 1976 to 2021. A full professor of Political Economy since 2001, he was Dean of the then Faculty of Economics between 2003 and 2006, and later deputy dean of the Department of Sociology and Social Research in the three-year period 2015-2018. At the Faculty of Economics, he was also director of the Institute for Nonprofit Business Development Studies (ISSAN) from 1997 to 2009. Later, he started the Euricse FoundationEuropean Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, which he led as president until May 2022. This institution stands out as one of the leading European and international study and research centers focusing on social economy and cooperation issues. He contributed to the creation of the IRIS network, which associates the main Italian actors, including researchers and institutions, studying and working on social enterprises.

Carlo Borzaga’s name is well known even beyond his field of work: he is generally recognized as one of the leading and most committed scholars of cooperation and the Third Sector, having published hundreds of essays, publications and academic articles concerning the subject of the labor market, social and cooperative enterprises, and welfare systems. In addition to studying and promoting cooperative economics, he has also put theory into practice, helping to found and support numerous organizations, including Villa Sant’Ignazio in Trento, one of the first cooperatives engaged in social work, which he led for nine years.

Borzaga also took an active part in the establishment of Federsolidarietà, the National Federation of Social Cooperatives, and the National Consortium of Social Cooperation – CGM, of which he was a director. From 1989 to 1993 he assumed the presidency of the Trentino Consortium of Social Cooperation Consolida, and in 1996 he founded the first university master’s degree program in Italy in Management of Social Enterprises, still active today, thanks to which more than 450 young recent graduates have found employment in the nonprofit sector.

As a scholar and expert, Prof. Borzaga has carried out intense legislative consulting activities at the national level, so much so that he is counted among the “fathers” of the most important laws on social cooperation,  above all l. 381/91. He worked alongside the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies for Law 68/1999 on the right to work of the disabled, and with the Government on Law 155/2006 on social enterprise, and the Ministry of Labor for the drafting of Delegated Law 117/2017, the so-called reform of the Third Sector.

Locally, he contributed to drafting the Trentino Alto Adige regional law on cooperation and social solidarity (l.r. 24/1988), and other laws on the regulation of interventions to prevent and remove social exclusino (l.r. 35/1983) and for the promotion and development of cooperation (l.p 15/1988).

He was also among the founders of the Italian Association of Labour Economists (AIEL) and has collaborated in various capacities and on several occasions on issues related to the social economy with the European Commission, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It is difficult to summarize in a few lines Carlo Borzaga’s long research and civic commitment, as well as the scientific value of his contributions, which have substantially fostered the development of political and practical reflections on cooperatives, social enterprises and welfare systems. His multiple motivations, together with the intellectual and human generosity with which he consistently inspired friends, colleagues and collaborators, constitute fundamental elements of his personality.


The funeral of Carlo Borzaga will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. in Trento Cathedral. For those wishing to express their condolences, messages can be sent to Carlo’s family, whose residence is located at vicolo dei Gaudenti 8, 38122 Trento, Italy. 

The family kindly asks that you avoid sending flowers and, instead, consider donations to the Nemo Center in Trento or the Living in Hospice Association.