Social Microcredit

Fondazione di Venezia’s project, addressing the needs of financial inclusion and social integration, helped provide microcredit to non-EU women with a valid residency permit and living in the Province of Venice.  Not considered bankable by the conventional credit system, the project supported women who either wanted to start a business or access individual professional growth opportunities such as participation in professional or vocational courses.

From 2005 to 2010, 28 projects were supported equalling a total value of €225,774 in approved loans.

The loan sizes were of minimum: €2,000 for developing economic activities, €1,000 for employability projects and maximum: €20,000 for individuals (individual enterprises and self-employment) €35,000 for groups (companies).

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It is not about gastronomy, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ is about creating relationships. The project was launched during the 2011 edition of the International Festival of Folk Oral Culture with a communal dinner involving over 100 people around one table in Piazza Carlo Alberto in the heart of Turin, the dinner itself prepared by the migrant families who participate in the project.

By hosting special dinners, migrant families open up themselves and their homes to people outside their immediate social circles. Eating and conversing over dinner helps break down walls of suspicion built by ignorance and fear of different cultures. At the dinner table, they talk about children, school, work, cinema, music and discover that they are not so different after all.

‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ events are taking place in Turin, Carmagnola, Alessandria, Prato, Grosseto and Gavorrano, Verona, Vicenza, Roma and Barcelona in Spain.

Dynamique Territoriales

Fondation de France’s ‘Dynamique Territoriales’ programme aims to help people in need by supporting the emergence of projects in six specific areas in France with social difficulties.  Its aim is to improve the inhabitants’ daily life and to promote co-operation amongst local actors to take on mutual challenges in their areas together.

Every programme is developed by the different actors and the residents from the area and, as a team, they work together to implement the project from A to Z. Meetings with inhabitants are held to identify ideas and projects to improve local life.  The interaction, training and working together to transform their ideas into real projects in the areas where support is really required has the positive effect of creating bonds and developing new forms of solidarity.

Since the launch of ‘Dynamique Territoriales’ in 2014, 358 initiatives have been identified, 58 ideas have been assisted and 82 projects have been supported by over €1m in financial contributions.

Prepare Yourself

The VELUX Foundations’ ‘Prepare Yourself’ project tests and develops initiatives in order to prevent social polarisation and mental vulnerability and problems among marginalised youth. Young people will be equipped with tools, which will enable them to take responsibility for their own well-being to a greater extent. The project will deal with empowerment, initiative, self-awareness and the realization of own qualities, boundaries and resources, all critical elements for enhancing opportunities and creating a better life. Participants will, among other things, be given guidance and assistance with respect to finding a place to live, applying for jobs, shopping for food and clothes as well as support in solving personal problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, minor eating disorders, sorrow or family conflicts.

Better Integration through Education

In 2009, the Finnish Cultural Foundation commissioned an independent enquiry into the state of language teaching for immigrants. The report revealed a number of shortcomings in the existing system.

The ensuing plan for the improvement of integration training was implemented in a large pilot project covering the entire country from 2010 to 2013. The cost, around €9m, was covered by two foundations and three ministries together. The project was meant to provide a basis for remodelling all public integration education in Finland.

Perhaps naively, the Finnish Cultural Foundation believed that the promised remodelling would take place without any further encouragement. In autumn 2015, when the number of immigrants surged, it turned out that very little had actually happened. In 2016, the plans are finally being put into use.

The foundation has also supported a highly efficient network of women volunteers offering tuition in literacy and Finnish to immigrant women.

More Knowledge, Less Fear

The online resource centre,, has been developed by the Stefan Batory Foundation in partnership with the Chlebem i Solą Initiative within the Citizens for Democracy Programme, financed by EEA Grants.

The resource centre was launched as an answer to misconceptions about the migration crisis in Europe, xenophobic fears and negative stereotypes about people from different ethnic backgrounds. The centre serves three purposes: to provide information about refugees; to dismantle myths and stereotypes about them; and to inform visitors about initiatives regarding refugees (such as fundraisers or cultural initiatives) and possible ways to get involved.

Build the City

The ‘Build the City’ publication highlights how people are changing their cities. The European Cultural Foundation is supporting citizens and governments who are collaborating in solving urban challenges. They are changing cities and legislation through co-design practices. Culture is a key factor in these processes by motivating people and encouraging equality which is essential in increasingly diverse communities.

A network of co-designers was established to improve urban co-governance and reinforce the need to include culture and citizen participation in the EU Urban Agenda. The evidence shows that these practices positively impact on urban sustainability such as creating affordable housing, highlighting air quality issues and renewing public creative areas. The European Cultural Foundation, alongside communities, will continue to work for co-governed cities to increase cultural, diverse and flexible social living spaces.

Estonian Voice in the Refugee Crisis

The migrant crisis in Europe is already a highly debated issue, but the Open Estonia Foundation, a group of Estonian politicians and other experts realised that what was missing in the debate was the wider context. Moreover, the lack of such context – and dialogue – with views from different levels of society, had left a vacuum for populism and fear-mongering. The Open Estonia Foundation joined a pan-European initiative called U-Impact and organised a lively debate to discuss the European refugee crisis, its possible scenarios and how citizens could voice their opinions in finding solutions.

The event was broadcast live in Estonia and abroad, with many international NGOs calling in to the meeting to share their experiences and opinions working on the crisis.

Roma Partnership Reinvented


Wood, copper, leather, glass: these materials are all part of the new design-collection PICNIC by Meşteshukar ButiQ (MBQ), part of a Bucharest-based network of social enterprises that re-interprets traditional Roma crafts. Each of the materials stands for a different kind of traditional Roma craftsmanship and each item was produced in a different part of Romania. This PICNIC set is the tangible result of what the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership has been trying to achieve: to support the development of social entrepreneurship and foster income generation activities as well as educational programmes for job creation at community level. The designs were developed in cooperation with two Austrian designers Nadja Zerunian and Peter Weisz (zerunianandweisz).

Since the founding of Meşteshukar ButiQ in 2012, it has continuously strived to bring a new vision to Roma craftsmanship and has succeeded in launching traditional products under a new design. The MBQ concept store located in the centre of Bucharest displays jewellery, objects for home decoration and fashion.

The ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership is an informal alliance of committed organisations that aims to sustainably improve the lives of Roma in Central and South Eastern Europe. It was created to enable and reinforce long-term collaboration between Roma and non-Roma.

Breakthrough Generation

Mozaik’s 2015-2025 strategy aims to develop a breakthrough generation of entrepreneurial and innovative youth. The goal is to generate a value-driven force that creates new social and economic value, creates new jobs, develops successful social businesses and serves as role models to other youth. This is achieved through tailor-made support in a virtual social business incubator and a well-developed pipeline where young people implement socially innovative projects. Within 10 years there will be 50,000 people in the pipeline, 1,000 socially innovative projects supported and 500 newly registered social businesses.