New joint ventures for European foundations

April saw the launch by Network of European Foundations (NEF) of two new initiatives, the Initiative for Learning Democracy in Europe and cooperation with the newly established Roma Education Fund.

The Initiative for Learning Democracy in Europe (ILDE) is a follow-up of the European Year for Citizenship through Education, celebrated last year. Building on the projects supported by the ten foundations involved (Bertelsmann Stiftung, Carnegie UK Trust, Compagnia di San Paolo, Education for Democracy Foundation, Evens Stichting, Freudenberg Stiftung, Fondation Bernheim, Hertie Stiftung, King Baudouin Foundation, and Madariaga European Foundation), a transnational scheme is being planned. This is designed to promote the idea of the school as a democratic space and will seek the active collaboration of selected cities/local authorities.

The Council of Europe is a partner in this initiative, which will complement the thrust of the successful Youth Empowerment Partnership Programme (YEPP), running under the auspices of NEF since 2002, which will enter a second phase of development in 2007. The Steering Committee set up to oversee the ILDE initiative is chaired by Michael Seberich of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and supported by an expert team based at the Centre for Applied Policy and Research in Munich.

Working with the Roma Education Fund

The newly established Roma Education Fund aims to help close the gap in educational achievement between Roma and non-Roma. Created on the initiative of the World Bank and the Open Society Institute, the Fund is designed to help meet the social inclusion commitment agreed by governments in the framework of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-15. NEF’s involvement will strengthen the European dimension of its funding and give a European-level perspective to its activities.

The Steering Committee set up by NEF is chaired by Christian Petry of the Freudenberg Stiftung, who will also represent NEF (and the EFC) on the board of the Fund. In this first phase of cooperation, the other foundations involved are the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Evens Stichting, Stiftung ‘Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft’, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Other foundations engaged in supporting Roma projects are being invited to join in this joint venture with a view to maximizing the systemic impact of the projects supported and providing a strong European perspective to the development of the Roma Education Fund.

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