GFMD IMPACT analysis of related projects and initiatives - Civitates. (Last updated by Tom Law - March 1, 2021)

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Project design

Goals & aims

Civitates is a philanthropic initiative for democracy and solidarity in Europe. It provides funding for civil society actors to come together, revitalise public discourse, and ensure that all voices are heard. The pooled fund supports cross-sectoral coalitions that strengthen the resilience of the civil society sector, initiatives that push for a healthy digital public sphere, as well as independent, public interest journalism in Europe.

Governance structure

Civitates is an initiative hosted by the Network of European Foundations.

The Steering Committee: The Civitates Steering Committee, which meets twice a year, is Civitates’ board. It adopts strategic decisions, approves annual budget allocations, and guides the Secretariat’s work. It also approves the creation of any new lines of work.

The Executive Committee: The Executive Committee is a sounding board to the Secretariat, helping it make sound decisions regarding any issues the fund might face. It is composed of three to six members, including the Chair.

The Chair: The Chair represents Civitates externally. He or she presides the Steering Committee and promotes excellent relationships amongst all actors involved in Civitates. For the first three years of Civitates existence (2018-2020) the position of the Chair is held by the King Baudouin Foundation.

Working Groups: The Working Groups are the bodies that have been delegated by the Steering Committee to oversee the strategy and implementation of a specific line of work. There are as many Working Groups as there are lines of work, each focussed on a specific issue related to democracy and solidarity in Europe. Amongst others, the Working Groups approve the grants and make recommendations for changes in the strategy or approach to the Steering Committee.

The Secretariat: The Secretariat drives the collaborative’s work forward. It implements the strategies developed together with the Working Groups and agreed on by the Steering Committee. It is responsible for the grantmaking and serves as a key point of contact for all organisations seeking and receiving Civitates funding, as well as for the foundations working with Civitates. It does so in collaboration with NEF, the fiscal sponsor of Civitates.


Geographic focus




Thematic focus

Civitates aims to establish a strong cohort of independent, public interest journalism organisations which defend democracy in Europe by exposing abuses of power and drivers of polarization, and defending a space in which all voices are heard. Our hope is that we can help bring substantial funding into the sector, while in the meantime providing structural, core support for the exciting but stretched organisations that exist in this space.

Main activities

As well as funding, Civitates also provides opportunities to learn, reflect, and connect in what they call the Funding Plus approach. This tries to improve skills and expertise and facilitate networking so that recipients of funding become more resiliant.

Learning initiatives

Once an organisation is supported by Civitates, it can benefit from additional funds for learning and capacity building. This could focus on strengthening the capacities and skills of the specific organisation, for example. It could also take the shape of a joint learning initiative aimed at:

  • strengthening relationships

  • learning more about another project/organisation, or

  • addressing common needs together with other Civitates grantees and/or external organisations.

Initiatives that aim for exchange, learning and collaborative actions across different countries are particularly encouraged.

Please contact us at if

  • we have not included information about this organisation/initiative that you think is relevant

  • you work for this organisation and would like to talk to us about how we can collaborate

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