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.


Civitates is looking for a Fund Manager for a one-year position (renewable) based in any of the EU, UK or EFTA countries (preferably in Brussels).

The application deadline is 20 September 2020.

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
“There is no reason to think of civil society organisations as something independent from citizens. We exist to represent what people want. Within our coalition we want to broaden the alliance between different organisations and to involve more and more citizens,” Nadia Shabani, Director of Bulgarian Center for Non-for-profit Law.

Bulgarian civil society organisations as the immune system of democracy

There have been some worrying developments in Bulgaria lately. A draft law proposes an amendment to the Non-profit Legal Entities Act in two parts – the part regarding the functioning of the Civil Society Development Council, as well as proposing the creation of a new legal framework on declaring and controlling the funding of NGOs received from a foreign country or from a foreign natural or legal person. In view of these developments, Civitates met the grantees from Citizen Participation Forum and the Bulgarian Center for Non-for-profit Law, Iva Taralezhkova and Nadia Shabani, to shed a light on the situation in Bulgaria and the work of the coalition.

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. This connection is becoming even more important because of the growing pervasiveness of digital communication in people’s lives.

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