The EFC is proudly standing together with the Central European University by co-signing the declaration below and by helping to share the hashtag #IStandWithCEU.

Last week the Central European University in Budapest announced it would partially relocate to Vienna given the Hungarian government’s unyielding hostility to civil society and academic freedom. Around the world, civil society including academics, journalists and philanthropists, courageously pursue their mission, often at great personal cost.

We are a group of leaders of private philanthropic foundations committed to strong and vibrant civil society. A healthy, functioning democracy depends on it.  

We condemn the violence directed to civil society activists globally. We deplore the growing climate of fear and intolerance in which civil society is publicly demonized, physically threatened and administratively shut down.

We stand side by side with our civil society peers.

Civil society is an essential pillar of democracy. Without it, our democracy is diminished.

We are proud to support it. We stand ready to defend it.


1.     Max von Abendroth, Executive Director, Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE), EU

2.     Dr. Knut Olav Åmås, Executive Director, The Fritt Ord Foundation, Norway

3.     Antti Arjava, Secretary General, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finland

4.     Andre Betting, Executive Director, Van Leer Group Foundation, the Netherlands

5.     Göran Blomqvist, Executive Director, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Sweden

6.     Sanne ten Bokkel Huinink, Director, Fonds 1818, the Netherlands

7.     James Chen, Chair, the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, Hong-Kong

8.     Kathleen Cravero, President, Oak Foundation, Switzerland

9.     Dr. Lothar Dittmer, Chairman of the Executive Board, Körber-Stiftung, Germany

10.   Adriana Esmeijer, Director, Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation, the Netherlands

11.   Michael Feigelson, Executive Director, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, the Netherlands

12.   Rosa Gallego, Executive Director, Spanish Association of Foundations, Spain

13.   Carrillo Gantner AO, Chairman, Sidney Myer Fund, Australia

14.   Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment of Democracy, USA

15.   Sandro Giuliani, Managing Director, Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland

16.   Prof. Dr. Michael Göring, Zeit Foundation, Germany

17.   Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, USA

18.   Mall Hellam, Executive Director, Open Estonia Foundation, Estonia

19.   Jenny Hodgson, Executive Director, Global Fund for Community Foundations, South Africa

20.   Dr. Wilhelm Krull, Secretary General, Volkswagen Foundation, Germany

21.   Massimo Lapucci, General Secretary, Fondazione CRT, Italy

22.   Peter Laugharn, President and CE, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, USA

23.   Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust, United Kingdom

24.   Joanna Luberadzka-Gruza, President, Polish Donors Forum, Poland

25.   Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive, Trust for London, United Kingdom

26.   Benoît Miribel, General Director, Fondation Mérieux, France

27.   Ieva Morica, Executive Director, Foundation for an Open Society DOTS, Latvia

28.   Isabel Mota, President, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal

29.   Anke Pätsch, Association of German Foundations, Germany

30.   Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice-President of Programs, Ford Foundation, USA

31.   Nick Perks, Trust Secretary, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, United Kingdom

32.   Sigrid Rausing, President, Sigrid Rausing Trust, United Kingdom

33.   Ebrima Sall, Executive Director, TrustAfrica, Senegal

34.   Dr. Gerry Salole, Chief Executive, European Foundation Centre, EU

35.   Göran Sandberg,  Executive Director, Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse, Sweden

36.   Teresa Sanjurjo, Director, The Princess of Asturias Foundation, Spain

37.   Prof. Dr. Andreas Schlüter, Secretary General, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Germany

38.   Michael Schwarz, Executive Director, Mercator Foundation, Germany

39.   Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, United Kingdom

40.   Aleksander Smolar, President, Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland

41.   Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Executive Director, Maecenata Foundation, Germany

42.   Luc Tayart de Borms,  Managing Director, King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium

43.   Roxana Vitan, President, Romanian-American Foundation, Romania

44.   Mr. Dimitris Vlastos, The Bodossaki Foundation, Greece

45.   Katherine Watson, Executive Director, European Cultural Foundation, the Netherlands


In response to the news of the forced relocation, protests were also organised across Europe on the evenings on the 15th and 16th of November. For more information visit: