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

19 November 2020

Rule of law and European core values at a crossroads?

by Hanna Surmatz While the European Council reached an agreement on the largest package ever financed through the EU budget, totalling €1.8 trillion, Poland and Hungary have now done what the...
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18 November 2020

More coordination of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing efforts: what does it mean for the philanthropy sector?

Following a discussion of economics and finance ministers on 4 November 2020, the Council adopted conclusions on anti-money laundering and terrorism financing efforts. These provide the Commiss...
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16 November 2020

EU funding for 2021 – 2027: Too early to celebrate?

David SASSOLI, EP President, gives a press conference on the EU Budget. Picture Credit: DAINA LE LARDIC | © European Union 2020 - Source : EP By Hanna Hanses EU decision making rolling on Y...
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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

12 June 2020

Consultation on the White Paper on AI contribution

Philanthropy Advocacy submitted a contribution to the European ́s Commission Consultation on the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence - A European Approach. In the consultation, we called on the EC to amend the current EU regulatory framework as it is insufficient for AI purpose and needs adapting: risk-based approach is not clear; impact on people’s fundamental rights could be an alternative approach. We reiterated that human rights-based approach is essential to ensure that AI developed and deployed in the EU can be truly trustworthy and is not just an empty brand name. Where AI systems pose a threat to any of our fundamental rights, the EU must ensure that states uphold their obligation to protect and promote those rights and that companies conduct due diligence according to their responsibility.
12 May 2020

EU Charter Strategy Consultation contribution

Philanthropy Advocacy submitted a contribution to the European ́s Commission consultation on the Strategy on the effective application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the consultation, we reiterated that the rights enshrined in the Charter are of utmost importance for the philanthropic organisations and funders themselves, particularly the right to association and assembly, freedom of expression and information or the right to protection of personal data. These rights become particularly relevant where an authority’s intervention is against, or relates to an organisation’s objectives, acts or statements. Therefore, philanthropy infrastructure organisations such as DAFNE and EFC are using the Charter in their advocacy work to protect the space for​ philanthropic actors, in cases when the restrictions are imposed on their fundamental rights to associate, operate, express views, seek and provide information, receive funding and campaign.

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
Owen Morgan

Owen Morgan

Policy and Communications Trainee

Owen Morgan joined the team in October 2020 as a Policy and Communications Trainee. He has held several communications roles in the non-profit sector in the UK, including at EU migrant rights charity Here for Good, and previously worked on political engagement in the United States Congress for the Northern Ireland Bureau. Owen is a graduate of University College London, having also worked or studied in Argentina, Italy and Fiji before arriving in Brussels.

About Owen Morgan
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

Policy and Communications

Dr. Hanna Stähle is Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships and Communications at DAFNE. She has worked in various areas, among them civil society, media, research, education and cultural exchange. She worked with the Robert Bosch Stiftung from 2012 to 2015. Her responsibilities included programmes in Western and East Central Europe as well as Russia and Turkey. She holds a PhD in Slavic Cultural Studies (summa cum laude). During her PhD studies she was a Research Fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and gathered professional experience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Carnegie Center Moscow.

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


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

DAFNE and the EFC

Philanthropy House, Rue Royale 94, 1000 Brussels, Belgium