civitates

A philanthropic initiative for democracy and solidarity in Europe

Civitates provides funding for civil society actors to come together, revitalise public discourse, and ensure that all voices are heard. Because we need a strong civil society to shape vibrant and open European democracies that work for all.

Responding to the covid-19 crisis

As a philanthropic initiative dedicated to democracy and solidarity in Europe, we work proactively to build stronger, more resilient societies in which everyone has access to the same opportunities and support. The pandemic has clearly been a stress test for our communities, which shows clearly where governments have created cracks, weaknesses or traps in the system that people fall through or into. At the same time, this is the moment to choose to build a stronger, more resilient society where everyone has access to the same opportunities and support.

We would like to shed light on the ways in which Civitates and its partners have tried to adapt to this new situation, as well as to offer hope and long-term solutions in these uncertain times.

Image by Cachete Jack for Fine Acts, Spring for Hope
“Russian propaganda is constantly shifting strategies, focusing more and more on amplifying messages rather than creating its own. So it’s both evolving and becoming less detectable at the same time,” – Rumena Filipova, research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy.

Examining Russian disinformation in both Western and Central-Eastern Europe

Russian disinformation is increasingly influencing European public discourse in progressively sophisticated and subtle ways. A partnership led by Sofia-based think tank Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), and supported by Civitates, examines the dynamics of Russian disinformation in five countries across Europe. 

Rumena Filipova, a research fellow at CSD, is leading one of the first major studies examining Russian disinformation in both Western and Central-Eastern Europe.

We support

Strong and resilient civil society

The shrinking space of civil society prevents its actors from voicing the concerns of different communities and in accessing governments and other democratic institutions to perform their watchdog role effectively. This is problematic as an active and well-developed civil society at member-state and EU levels provides an essential protection against the erosion of values such as the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.

Healthy digital public sphere

Public discourse plays a vital role in open, democratic societies. It is an important forum through which people can voice their concerns and form opinions. Moreover, public discourse provides input for decision making processes. Digitisation has fundamentally changed the way information is produced, distributed and consumed and thereby affects the public discourse. The implications of these changes cannot yet be fully grasped.

Independent public interest journalism

Journalism plays a vital role in a democratic society. Often referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy, it provides a platform for dialogue and debate, helping individuals to form their opinions and participate as informed citizens in democratic processes. It also monitors governmental and corporate (in)actions, holding those in power to account. As research has shown, the health of independent media is linked to the health of democracy, with each powering the other. This connection is becoming even more important because of the growing pervasiveness of digital communication in people’s lives.

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Location

Philantropy House, Rue Royale 94, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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