Wrap Up Berliner Stiftungswoche

Wrap Up Berliner Stiftungswoche | 10.05.2022 |

From 19-29 April the Maecenata Foundation participated in the Berliner Stiftungswoche. Every year this event recognises the positive contributions that foundations make to society, with 100 organisations taking part in over 150 events across the city in 2022.

See below for a summary of our work over the week.

Our first event ‚Die Zivilgesellschaft im Kampf gegen digitale Gewalt‚ was run by Maecenata Institut researchers Laura Pfirter und Siri Hummel on 20 April. Alongside speakers from Hate Aid, Campact and Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, Pfirter and Hummel discussed the rise of hate speech and digital violence and solutions for tackling the problem. Pfirter also discussed the results from her study into hate speech in Bavaria.

On 21 April our Director Rupert Graf Strachwitz participated in the Robert Bosch Academy’s event ‚How Can Activism Win Bigger,‘ alongside Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the 73rd President of the UN General Assembly (2018-2019) and former Foreign Minister of Ecuador, and Kumi Naidoo, a world-renowned civil society activist. Both Espinosa and Naidoo are Richard von Weizsäcker Fellows at the Robert Bosch Foundation. They spoke alongside Yu Len Roloff, an Extinction Rebellion climate activist and independent candidate in the 2001 Bundestag elections. The hour-long debate centered around climate change and how civil society can effectively work towards solutions. The starting point was Naidoo’s comment that, traditionally, civil society actors have had limited success in this area, and there remains the question of how to change this. The ensuing debate both highlighted how some civil society movements have managed to buck this trend, but also noted that there is vast room for improvement within the sector. The panellists concluded that civil society must continue to strive to take responsibility for tackling climate change, and to gain the trust of the general public and government actors.

Our next event on 26 April was the roundtable ‚Facing Shrinking Space – How Are You Civil Society?‚ Hosted by the Maecenata Institut, the roundtable featured civil society participants from across Europe, and was the first event in a series of roundtables set to focus on civil society in Europe. Firstly, speakers examined the challenges faced by civil society in Germany, Austria, Spain, Poland and France, noting that the pandemic has simultaneously resulted in more public recognition for civil society, but also in increased restrictions on its work. The second part of the event was a workshop dedicated to combatting such restrictions. Our speakers were Sebastian Muckenhuber, Youth Policy Officer at the Bundes Jugend Vertretung (Austrian National Youth Council), Austria, Ramon Feenstra, Professor at the Universitat Jaume de Castelló, Spain, Anna Domaradzka, Professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland and Claire Beschard, Project and Policy Officer at the Project and Policy Officer at the Institut français du Monde associatif, France. Our workshop leaders were Valentin Toth, Head of Communications at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Berlin and Ruth de Frutos, Professor at the Universidad de Málaga.

The next day, the Institut turned its attention to Germany. In ‚Diaspora Philantrophie Deutschland‚ Institut researcher Malte Schrader and Strachwitz analysed the philantrophic spending of Muslims in Germany, in collaboration with Islamic Relief Germany. A key part of the discussion was how the Islamic concept of ‚waqf‘ is compatible with German foundation and non-profit law.

Our final event took place on 28 April, moderated by and in collaboration with Wider Sense’s Director Michael Alberg-Seberich. During ‚International trends in philanthropy and their effects on foundations in Germany‚ guests heard from Hilary Pearson, the Founding Chair of Philantrophic Foundations Canada and the current Co-Chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector about her decades of experience in philantrophy and her upcoming book. Rolf Alter and Timo Unger showcased the findings from their ‚Philantrophy.Insight‘ project, which was supported by the Maecenata Foundation. Finally, researcher Erin Ganju spoke about trends in foundations in Germany.

>>Learn about Berliner Stiftungswoche 2023 here

>>Read Laura Pfirter’s study on hate speech in Bavaria here (in German)

>>Read the Philantrophy.Insight report here

>> Read a publication from the ‚Diaspora Deutschland‚ series here