New blood at NEF

Two new members, the Amsterdam-based Van Leer Group Foundation and the Paris-based Gabriel Foundation, joined the Network of European Foundations (NEF) at the Athens meeting of its General Assembly in May. The Van Leer Group Foundation promotes the development of socially and economically disadvantaged children up to the age of eight.

The Gabriel Foundation was created in 1998 by Stephan Schmidheiny, President of the Avina Foundation, with the specific purpose of working on global issues. It is the funder of the European Mercator Fund, which deals with matters related to Europe’s role in global social issues such as drugs policy and the international role of law.

At the same meeting, a new board was elected comprising Luc Tayart de Borms (King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium – Chair), Piero Gastaldo (Compagnia di San Paulo, Italy – Vice-Chair), Rien van Gendt (Van Leer Group Foundation – Treasurer) and Francis Charhon (Fondation de France – Secretary). The new board will be actively engaged in developing new NEF initiatives.

Hywel Ceri Jones took over in September as director of NEF with special responsibility for planning and development. He is an ex officio member of the board.  Formerly Director General at the European Commission, Hywel Jones had special responsibility during his career for the Erasmus and other education and youth programmes and for the European Social Fund. He has since held various posts including Chairman of the Governing Board of the Brussels-based European Policy Centre think-tank. Raymond Georis resigned from NEF in May and is now Managing Director of the Madariaga European Foundation.

For more information contact NEF Project Coordinator Alexandre Kirchberger at or see

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