The consortium was ‘born’ in 2017 in Warsaw, at the European Foundation Centre conference “Courage to re-embrace solidarity in Europe”, out of concern for the state of democracy in Europe. The fund, which is hosted by the Network of European Foundations, became operational in 2018 thanks to the support from 16 diverse foundations, which provided a starting budget of 4.1 million euro (for 2018-2020).
As stated by the Council of Europe, “the fast pace of social, economic and technological change makes it imperative to adapt the institutions of democracy to the requirements of the 21st century. The legitimacy of democracy – and its future – depends on the ability to open up new, attractive ways to engage with all citizens.”
Democracy needs constant investment and European philanthropy has an important role to play considering its track record in promoting democratic values, democratic practice, and European civil societies.