Based on the belief that democratic governance is one of the fundamental values on which Europe is constructed, this field of action seeks to support democracy in Europe and in the world.

Civitates- A Philanthropic Initiative for Democracy and Solidarity in Europe

Civitates has been established within NEF in 2017 by a consortium of 16 foundations committed to upholding democratic values in Europe. It believes in European democracies, where all citizens have the opportunity to access information, make their voices heard, organise, mobilise and engage fully in the democratic processes.

To achieve this vision, Civitates strengthens the capacity of civil society to play its indispensable role in shaping vibrant and open European democracies that work for all.

Civitates works on two sub funds, focussing on EU member states and EFTA countries:

  • The first aims at strengthening civil society by empowering its actors to respond to challenges related to the shrinking space for civil society, collectively and more effectively.
  • The second focuses on helping to build a free public discourse based on facts, independent analysis and a plurality of views. To this end, Civitates will coordinate expertise from civil society actors and share it as widely as possible so that citizens are made aware of the impact of digitalization on public discourse and adequate action can be taken to address any identified challenge.

Fikra-Tunisia Joint Fund

Fikra is a pooled fund initiated by NEF and chaired by the Foundation de France. Immediately after the Arab Spring, many European donors expressed an interest in actively contributing to the democratic transition of Tunisia. By establishing Fikra, the Tunisia Joint Fund, foundations support community development initiatives that contribute to the societal transition.  Fikra, which means ‘idea’ in Arabic, has supported 76 community development projects with grants since the first call in June 2013.

European Fund for the Balkans

The European Fund for the Balkans is a joint initiative of European foundations that envisions, runs and supports initiatives aimed at strengthening democracy, fostering European integration and affirming the role of the Western Balkans in addressing Europe’s emerging challenges. It is chaired by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The programme‘s strategy is based on three overarching areas – Capacity Development, Policy Development and Regional Cooperation, which are channelled via flagship programmes and selected projects, and complemented with actions arising from EFB’s regional identity as a relevant player in its fields of focus.

FutureLab Europe

FutureLab is a programme chaired by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in conjunction with seven foundations aiming at encouraging active citizenship in Europe. For its 2017 edition, FutureLab Europe will support 20 bright and committed young Europeans who want to play a role in the future of Europe by implementing a project with a civic impact.

Philanthropy in a Disruptive Era: Discovering Philanthropy, Discovering America

The current initiative originated in 2009 with the establishment of the European Philanthropy Research and Learning Initiative, the objective of which is to promote research and learning in the European philanthropy sector, as well as recognition of the sector’s essential link to civic engagement and American philanthropy ecosystems. The new project is designed as a multi-phase initiative that will explore the evolving roles of philanthropy and the state in addressing societal challenges and supporting the common good. It is supported by several American foundations and European foundations are in the pipeline.