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, a pooled fund initiated by NEF and chaired by the Foundation de France, aimed at supporting community development initiatives of the North West of Tunisia that contribute to the societal transition after the Arab Spring.

Thanks to an integrated approach to support (subsidies and skills strengthening), FIKRA has supported the elaboration and implementation of about sixty projects that have proven relevant and useful for the community. These projects are of various types: from the installation or renewal of a key infrastructure for the everyday quality of life (water source, rainwater collection systems, community recreation centres, etc.) to the development of resources locally available (natural resources such as aromatic and medicinal plants – the wild cardoon – but also individual “talents” specifically in the fields of agriculture or arts).

A final evaluation report has been released and the learnings of the programme are currently disseminated.

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 collegially chaired by of the ERSTE Stiftung, the King Baudouin Foundation and 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, a programme chaired by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in conjunction with seven foundations aiming at encouraging active citizenship in Europe, was officially closed in October 2018.

The objective of FutureLab Europe was to allow its members to enhance their credentials as European citizens and to take action in support of the European idea. In particular, FutureLab Europe focused its action on three focus topics: democratic values in Europe, equal opportunities for young people, and European identity. In order to foster a Europe-wide debate on these three issues, the members of the network implemented activities at the local-level, structured around several group projects.

European Philanthropy Learning Initiative

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.