News and Updates from Philanthropy Advocacy READ MORE Position Papers, Studies and Reports Our positions on EU policy files READ MORE Slide 2 Call for support:
European Philanthropy Manifesto
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News and Updates from Philanthropy Advocacy

03 September 2021

Philanthropy Advocacy to present sector views at the EESC public hearings

Next week, Philanthropy Advocacy (joint Dafne and EFC initiative) will be represented by Hanna Surmatz at two EESC public hearings. On Monday 6 September, Hanna Surmatz, Philanthropy Advocacy co-le...
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03 September 2021

How foundations and philanthropy in Europe are regulated – Key trends and insights

Did you know that foundations can pursue only public-benefit purposes in Spain? Or that the Netherlands do not require a minimum capital to establish a foundation? Were you aware that political activities are taboo for Finnish foundations? Or that in France, foundations can receive legacies and donations, but corporate foundations can only receive contributions from the founding company? Join us on 1 October for the release of the 2021 edition of “Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws”.
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06 August 2021

About Foreign Funds – Statement by TUSEV

TUSEV, the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey, has published a statement as a reaction to the most recent developments in Turkey regarding the philanthropy sector, focusing on foreign funds. They are concerned about the statements and declarations in social media and other mediums regarding CSOs receiving foreign funds and they emphasise the importance of civil society in the development of democracy.
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Legal environment for philanthropy in Europe

Here you can find profiles of 40 European countries that provide the latest data on trends and developments across Europe (2020).

Stay informed

European Philanthropy Manifesto

“The European Philanthropy Manifesto” is a call to politicians in Europe to work towards a Single Market for Philanthropy.

Please find a copy of the European Philanthropy Manifesto here
(different language versions available).

Join us in supporting these key recommendations:




FACILITATE cross-border philanthropy




CO-GRANT AND CO-INVEST for public good and civil SOCIETY

We invite you to sign up to the Philanthropy Manifesto by sending an email to including the name of your organisation, the weblink to your organisation, the country you are registered in and the name and email address of a contact person.


Organisations who signed up to the Manifesto:

Position Papers, Studies and Reports

Find position papers, studies and reports

Briefing on Slovenian Presidency
13 July 2021

Briefing on Slovenian Presidency

Slovenia is assuming its Presidency of the Council of the EU at a crucial moment when the EU is adopting important packages concerning the green and digital transformation and the building of the EU's resilience. With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presidency will proceed with the agenda of Germany and Portugal focusing on vaccination and monitoring variants. Its presidency revolves around four main pillars with numerous entry points for philanthropy. Read about it in our briefing.
Conference on the Future of Europe briefing note
06 July 2021

Conference on the Future of Europe briefing note

The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is a unique opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities. We would like to raise awareness and stimulate engagement among in the philanthropy sector about the CoFoE and its entry points. In this report we will discuss different ways in which the philanthropy sector can engage. For any further questions on the CoFoE and engagement around it, please contact Nikoleta Bitterová:
Foundations and philanthropic actors and Social Economy Action Plan
29 March 2021

Foundations and philanthropic actors and Social Economy Action Plan

This paper is a philanthropy-specific input into the European Commission Work Programme 2021 on the Social Economy Action Plan.

Please find herewith additional links to relevant reports and studies:

Single Market for Philanthropy

While it is easy for goods and services to move freely around Europe, it is still difficult for donors, foundations and committed citizens to act philanthropically across borders. The time is ripe for a European Single Market for Philanthropy.


Philanthropic Organisations in Europe


Billion Euro
Annual Giving

The call for a Single Market for Philanthropy includes a better recognition of philanthropy in the legal acts of the EU as well as at national level, supports cross-border philanthropy across the EU, and decreases today’s barriers for philanthropy in order to leverage the impact of donors’ and foundations’ spending of private resources for public good.

Institutional philanthropy in Europe includes more than 147,000 philanthropic organisations with an accumulated annual giving of nearly 60 billion euros. Besides funding and investments, these organisations combine an outstanding set of expertise, deep knowledge and excellent stakeholder networks in the areas of their activities that can be leveraged significantly with the appropriate framework conditions.

Why philanthropy?

Philanthropy and philanthropic organisations are a critical part of our democratic and pluralistic societies. More and more citizens want to do good, they want to help address societal issues, express themselves, and connect and collaborate with others who share their ideals. Ideals that often stem from indignation about injustice, from care for the most vulnerable, from passion to stimulate new trends and ideas, and from a sense of responsibility for preserving valuable nature and culture.

Motivated by these ideals, many individuals and philanthropic organisations support endeavours from which we all benefit, such as education, health, science, international development, environment, culture and fighting poverty. Philanthropy’s contribution to society is therefore unique.

This must be cherished, stimulated and rewarded persistently. Recognition by politicians and by governments is crucial. Especially now, when citizenship, participation and caring for each other are more important than ever in light of the serious challenges to these democratic ideals in some parts of Europe. Philanthropy, alongside the wider civil society, plays a key role in defending and promoting the values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty, which include respect for human dignity, human rights and the rule of law.

Who we are

The Dafne and EFC joint advocacy project “Philanthropy Advocacy” acts as a monitoring, legal analysis and policy engagement hub for European philanthropy. Its main objective is to shape the national, European and international legislative environment by implementing the European advocacy roadmap for a Single Market for Philanthropy.

Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (Dafne)

Dafne brings together 30 national associations across Europe, representing over 10.000 public-benefit foundations, big and small, who want to make a difference to society. We lead, strengthen and build the field for the common good in Europe. We believe that an independent and courageous philanthropic sector can be a catalyst for a just and equitable society, where all can participate and prosper and have a voice, from the most marginalised to the most privileged. Philanthropy is vital for a resilient, inclusive and sustainable Europe.

Dafne is involved in four key areas: advocacy, peer exchange, communications and research that are needs-based and future-oriented. Our story began 15 years ago – out of the desire to connect and facilitate exchange in the growing field of European philanthropy. We developed from an informal peer exchange organisation to a leading voice of European philanthropy.

Dafne and the EFC jointly lead the Philanthropy Advocacy project. Please find more information on

European Foundation Centre (EFC)

As a leading platform for philanthropy in Europe, the EFC works to strengthen the sector and make the case for institutional philanthropy as a formidable means of effecting change. We believe institutional philanthropy has a unique, crucial and timely role to play in meeting the critical challenges societies face. Working closely with our members, a dynamic network of strategically-minded philanthropic organisations from more than 30 countries, we:

  • Foster peer-learning by surfacing the expertise and experience within the sector
  • Enhance collaboration by connecting people for exchange and joint action
  • Advocate for favourable policy and regulatory environments for philanthropy
  • Build a solid evidence base through knowledge and intelligence
  • Raise the visibility of philanthropy’s value and impact

The EFC and DAFNE jointly lead the Philanthropy Advocacy project.

Please find more information on

Our Team

Nikoleta Bitterova

Nikoleta Bitterova


Nikoleta Bitterova  previously worked for the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic as a senior state ounsellor, representing Slovakia before the European Court of Human Rights. She holds a PhD in legal theory and is a human rights lawyer with experience in the work of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the UN´s human rights protection system and the non-governmental sector.

About Nikoleta Bitterova
Hanna Hanses

Hanna Hanses


Hanna Hanses joined DAFNE as a Legal Trainee in September 2019 and is working as a Project Officer since March 2020. She graduated in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, focusing her thesis on climate-induced displacement. In 2018, she received her LLB Bachelor in Law from Ghent University. Hanna brings with her a multi-cultural experience, having lived in inter alia the Democratic Republic of Congo, Switzerland and Belgium.

About Hanna Hanses
Max von Abendroth

Max von Abendroth


Max von Abendroth joined Dafne as Executive Director in 2017. Being more than 15 years involved in leadership positions in EU public affairs, he helped setting up the joint Dafne/EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative. Max is the initiator of PEX, the European platform for national, regional and thematic philanthropy associations. He holds several Board positions in the charity sector. Max studied Economics and Business Administration at the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany.

About Max von Abendroth
Dr. Hanna Stähle

Dr. Hanna Stähle

Senior Manager EU Public Affairs and Communications

Dr. Hanna Stähle is Senior Manager for EU Public Affairs and Communications at Philanthropy Advocacy. She is also Senior Manager at Dafne – Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe, responsible for strategic partnerships, communications and European public affairs. From 2018 to 2020, she was Aide to the Secretary General of the German Association of Foundations where she was in charge of international and strategic programmes. Prior to that, she worked with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, one of the largest private foundations in Europe. Her responsibilities included overseeing grantmaking portfolios for civil society, media, culture and other programmes in Western and East Central Europe. She holds a PhD in Slavic Cultural Studies (summa cum laude) from the University of Passau. During her PhD studies she was a Research Fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and Aleksanteri Institute in Helsinki.

About Dr. Hanna Stähle
Hanna Surmatz

Hanna Surmatz


Hanna Surmatz, Enabling Environment Manager at the EFC, has been working on philanthropy, civil society and EU law issues since 2004. As of 2019 she is directing on behalf of the EFC the joint DAFNE and EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative. Previously she was employed by the Association of German Foundations in Berlin. Hanna studied law in Germany and France and worked as researcher at the University of Münster for several years.

She represents the philanthropic sector in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF) and in the OECD Tax Business Advisory Group.

About Hanna Surmatz
Stephanie van Berckel

Stephanie van Berckel

EU Public Affairs and Communications Trainee

Stephanie van Berckel joined Philanthropy Advocacy in April 2021 as an EU Public Affairs and Communications Trainee. She holds a Master’s degree in Intellectual Property law from Utrecht University with a minor in Humanities. She wrote her final thesis on online copyright and the freedom of speech. Having studied in the UK and France, she speaks Dutch, English and French. Stephanie has worked both in media law as well as in media consultancy in Amsterdam. Besides her role at Philanthropy Advocacy, she currently contributes to culture Solutions, a non-profit think tank strengthening EU cultural relations.

About Stephanie van Berckel


If you want to get in touch please send an email to:

Dafne and the EFC

Philanthropy House, Rue Royale 94, 1000 Brussels, Belgium