Democracy Network

This network aims to facilitate a strong and thriving democracy in Europe, where philanthropy helps safeguard core democratic values of freedom and cooperation and enhances citizen’s abilities to shape and innovate their governance.

Focus areas

  • Innovating democracy
  • Safeguarding and enhancing participation
  • Protecting core democratic values and fundamental rights


  • Creating space for foundations already working on democracy to exchange their vision on the future of democracy and the role of philanthropy.
  • Holding two meetings each year to explore, network and learn from peers on different topics relating to European Democracy
  • Providing an enabling environment for joint projects that complement existing initiatives
  • Analysing the work of Philea members in the area of European democracy
  • Connecting with Philea’s other communities on democracy-related topics

Network background

In 2015, Philea members came together to conduct a mapping on democracy-related projects and initiatives to gain a greater understanding of what is being done in this area. On completion of this mapping, a network was established, with the King Baudouin Foundation leading the way. The urgency to meet increased due to the Brexit referendum in the UK as well as the rise of populism in Europe more broadly. Since June 2016, the network has been meeting twice a year to discuss topics of importance and brainstorm potential solutions.

Leveraging the opportunities of the launch of Philea in May 2022, the decision was taken to relaunch the network based on the growing interest expressed by the expanded membership base in democracy, a topic identified by members as one of the three overarching topics of the new organisation, together with climate and equality.

Relationship with the SDGs

Understanding European philanthropy, and how its work relates to the Sustainable Development Goals, is essential when it comes to finding ways of leveraging existing and potential areas of synergy.

The work of Philea’s Thematic Networks cover the entire range of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (even if they don’t always refer to them explicitly), which are a key part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The work of the Democracy Network touches upon the following SDGs:

Steering Committee (Chair – Adessium Foundation)

Adessium Foundation
Calala Women’s Fund
Doc Society
Evens Foundation
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
King Baudouin Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH
Relevant Events


Nils Luyten
Programme Manager – Democracy Collaborations
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