Civitates is looking for a Fund Manager

Published: 5 August 2020

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).

Application deadline: 20 September 2020

About Civitates

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.

Since becoming operational in 2018, Civitates has provided 38 grants in 14 countries across Europe. In addition to providing funding, Civitates has a Funding Plus component, through which the fund provides capacity development and networking opportunities to its grantees.

Civitates, which has an annual budget of approximately 3M EUR, is supported by a large group of diverse foundations, of different shapes and sizes, which bring in a wealth of expertise and different perspectives. The initiative, which is hosted by the Network of European Foundations (NEF) and housed in the Philanthropy House in Brussels, builds on lessons learned from other pooled funds. Its secretariat is composed of three people, a Fund Manager and two Programme Officers.

About the role

The main responsibilities of the Fund Manager will be to drive the initiative forward, in collaboration with the several governance bodies in which Civitates’ foundation partners are represented: the Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and the three Working Groups (one for each line of work).

The Fund Manager will oversee the grantmaking and Funding Plus work, working with grantee partners both individually and as a cohort to advance their work and to cultivate meaningful connections. While the grant approval decisions are taken collectively by representatives of the partner foundations, the Fund Manager plays a key role in steering the selection process, and is responsible for making critical decisions about timelines, balancing partner needs, and crafting systems and processes (in coordination with NEF) that will allow the grantee partners to have maximum impact.

The Fund Manager will be active in all three lines of work (strong and resilient civil society, healthy digital public sphere, and independent public interest journalism) and actively participate in conferences and other events, sharing findings from the work with the field at large.

Main tasks

Strategy development

  • Further develop the fund’s overall strategy, by designing, drafting and refining strategy documents, and questioning and testing the fund’s approaches, in support of the Steering Committee.
  • Further design and implement the Secretariat’s Funding Plus strategy.
  • Actively nurture synergies within and across the three lines of work.
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field to spot opportunities for Civitates to explore.

Grants management

  • Oversee the entire grant process, from the design of the Request for Proposals to the evaluation of the body of work funded.
  • Serve as an active thought partner for the grantee partners, working with them both individually and as a cohort to advance their work and to cultivate meaningful connections.
  • Design and implement the grant selection process, in close cooperation with the Working Group and involving external experts.
  • Approve small Learning Initiatives grants, providing additional funds for learning and capacity building to existing grantee partners.
  • Contribute to the evaluation of the fund, by extracting learnings from the work of the grantee partners and working with external evaluators.
  • Assure all Civitates grants comply with all NEF policies and procedures.

Internal coordination

  • Closely coordinate with the two Programme Officers about ongoing work, as well as challenges, learnings and the workload pressure/stress level.
  • Regularly update the donors about progress made, including the preparation and follow up of meetings of the Steering Committee, Executive Committee and the three Working Groups.
  • Administer the financials of the fund, by monitoring and reporting on the budget and providing annual forecasts, in collaboration with the NEF back office.
  • Report to the foundation partners and prepare the annual report.
  • Cultivate the interest of potential future donors, in collaboration with existing members.
  • Liaise with the NEF back office to ensure the compliance with NEF’s guidelines and standards, as well as with staff of the other pooled funds hosted by NEF about learnings and best practices.

External engagement

  • Communicate about the fund and lift the profile of grantees.
  • Share learnings from Civitates’ work with the wider field, where appropriate.
  • Build relationships with external stakeholders in the field.

Desirable profile

Civitates expects the successful candidate to have:

  • A Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in social science, political science, international relations, European studies, journalism, or related studies
  • At least 5-7 years of relevant work experience, preferably within civil society organisations, philanthropic institutions, or multi-actor collaborations (experience with grant-making is a significant advantage)
  • Demonstrated commitment to the issues that Civitates works on
  • A good understanding of the extent to which democracy finds itself under pressure in Europe
  • Extensive experience working in Europe
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and verbal)
  • Strong diplomatic skills and the ability to negotiate the various demands of the many different donors
  • Proven ability to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks/projects in a fast-paced environment, to troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, consistently on schedule, without loss of attention to detail and budget
  • Ability to work within a multicultural, multidisciplinary environment
  • Willingness to travel extensively, mainly within Europe, to participate in conferences and meet with grantee partners as appropriate and necessary


What we can offer you

  • Meaningful and challenging work in a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • In Belgium (employment contract): an initial contract for one year (renewable) for 37.5 hours a week with a gross salary of approximately 55,000 – 62,000 EUR annually, depending on the level of experience, accompanied by a benefits package.
  • Elsewhere in the EU, UK or EFTA (consultancy contract): an equivalent package will be offered.
  • Please note, this position is not eligible for work authorisation sponsorship.


How to apply

If you are interested in being considered for this position, please send your CV and cover letter to Peggy Sailler (peggy.sailler@nef-europe.org) by 20 September 2020. Interviews are expected to take place on 1 and/or 2 October. There is a desire for the successful candidate to assume work as soon as possible.

NEF is proud to be an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. It aims to build an inclusive workforce and actively seeks applications from those who are marginalised and underrepresented. NEF is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and colleagues with disabilities.