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.

In the spotlight

“In our coalition, we think that public spaces and free media can help to change the way CSOs are seen in Hungary because the main problem is lack of knowledge,” – Adam Schönberger, founding member and active participant in the Open Spaces network.

Regional solidarity could ease the political tension in Hungary

Our current far-right-wing government creates obstacles not only for civil society organisations but also for everyone who wants to be active in society. This type of pressure suffocates the independent cultural life, the media, opposition political parties, and other aspects of life and reminds us of the oppressive system that Hungary experienced before 1989.  

Access to independent media is limited. More than 80% of the total media environment in Hungary is controlled by the government. As a result, there is a lack of knowledge in our society and both virtual and physical places for free expression. Both media and culture are so occupied that you can hardly find how to express your views independently and have a critical debate on any topic.

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

We support

Strong and resilient civil society

A vibrant civil society is a key ingredient for democracy. Both NGOs and more informal movements help us make sure that governments are taking decisions that consider all of us. Such civil society groups allow us to join our voices together and make ourselves heard so we can speak regularly to our elected representatives and ensure they provide the appropriate support and care to everyone. Civil society keeps people in power on their toes. 

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

Get in touch

Location

Philanthropy House, Rue Royale 94, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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