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Throughout the course of this year, the NEF board has engaged in strategic discussions with the aim of clarifying NEF’s approach to philanthropy and how it translates into practice. This reflection unfolded at an opportune time given the growth of the collaborative projects at NEF.

A result from these discussions is the definition of NEF’s two operating models: on the one hand, NEF plays the role of an ‘hosting platform’, providing purely administrative and financial support to hosted projects. On the other hand, NEF acts as a ‘cultivation hub’, where it plays a more extensive role with funder collaborative projects aligned around field or movement building. A ‘cultivation hub’ approach supports funder collaborative projects in learning from a community of projects and can offer more hands-on support. This role of ‘cultivator’ is also better connected to the heart of NEF’s purpose: collaboration and ‘partnering for impact’.

Rather than setting a new course for NEF, these two models mirror the current state of play and how NEF supports its projects differently. The strategic review is accompanied by a reinforcement of the operations team, and consequently a review of the NEF operations budget. We are thrilled to have new team members joining the NEF family! It will be an exciting challenge to accompany the growth of our cultivated projects and to ‘keep on failing better’ to use Samule Becket’s quote.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

In this newsletter you will also read about how we progress in our DEI journey, and why building democratic resilience in the Western Balkans still matters, despite or because of the multiple crisis that characterize the region (see the European Fund for the Balkans’s article on its 15th anniversary). Enjoy the reading!

Peggy Saïller

NEF Executive Director

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NEF General Assembly

27 May 2024