Visit the 2018 GEF website 
 Helping sustain steady development of philanthropy and civil society in communities and states in wider Europe, and facilitating collaborative efforts of the philanthropic sector to fully integrate into European and global philanthropic initiatives and institutions. 
The GEF set its main objectives as: 
  • Provide networking opportunities and platforms for critical discussion on the areas of grantmaking.
  • Facilitate relationships  between national and multinational philanthropic institutions.
  • Foster mutual engagement between participants and EFC Thematic Networks. 
  • Encourage institutional and human capacity development of civil society in wider Europe. 
  • Advocate to donors and funders to sustain their presence in support of emerging philanthropic initiatives and foundations in the region. 

Focus areas

  • Civil society development
  • Institutional and human capacity development
  • Grantmaking initiatives
  • Donor activity


The Forum is an annual 2-day conference which convenes on average 150 participants, representing grantmaking foundations, bilateral donors, international organisations and corporate funders. This annual meeting takes place during the autumn, in a different country every year.


Network background

The Forum grew out of the EFC's Grantmakers East Group (GEG), which was created in 1992 by a group of EFC members active in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union states. The group first met as a side event organised at the EFC’s annual conference. However, as interest in the group grew in parallel with developments in the field of grantmaking in the region, the GEG grew into an independent project with an Annual Meeting taking place in a different country each year. The first GEG Annual Meeting took place in Paris in 1996.

The Grantmakers East Forum (GEF) is part of the EFC’s ongoing commitment to enhancing collaboration and connecting its members. For more information on the EFC’s seven key priorities, please download the EFC Strategic Framework 2016-2022