ColtivAzioni Sociali (Social CultivAction)

ColtivAzioni Sociali was a three year project that aimed to improve community living and foster a culture of sharing in Dergano, a district of Milan . The project used food as its main tool to reinforce social inclusion and further cultural exchange. The objective was to promote the active participation of children and their families, whether Italians or non-Italians or new or old inhabitants of the district. It helped to create a network of micro services for common use.

One element of the project was the way it offered workshops on urban gardening and agriculture, through interacting with gardeners and farmers. Those involved learnt from each other and exchanged recipes and techniques of food preparation from all over Italy and the world.

Through this engagement and dialogue there are now many ideas in the pipeline for the neighbourhood, for example sharing snacks in public spaces and ”open kitchens” where together people prepare and share traditional recipes. They are even hoping to produce their own neighbourhood bear and implement an experimental service for grocery delivery.

Find out more about the work here! 


The project was co-financed by Fondazione Cariplo and promoted by the ICEI together with the association ABG (associazione di genitori), ASNADA onlus), associazione and  L’amico Charly onlus in collaboration with INDACO, Politecnico di Milano and the institute Bodio Guicciardi plus other local associations.

Blickwechsel. Contemporary Turkish Studies

“Blickwechsel” is a term that cannot be directly translated and which contains a double meaning: it stands both for eye-contact and for a change in perspective. The aim of Stiftung Mercator’s project is to contribute to a dialogue across national borders, disciplines, and both the academic sphere and the non-academic public.

The interdisciplinary framework programme ”Blickwechsel. Contemporary Turkey Studies” explores in five scientific projects on different aspects of current Turkish society, economy, and politics. The work is carried out together by researchers at German and Turkish universities.

The exchange of knowledge and insight aims to create a new perspective on Turkey and, at the same time, on Germany, as it is only through the interplay of both perspectives that a comprehensive picture can be realised.

Within the three-year framework programme, Stiftung Mercator is funding the academic examination of Turkey in Germany and, simultaneously, the interconnectedness of both countries in the areas of research and teaching. The public may also benefit from the virtues of the academic approach: science observes, compares, and analyses – it combines old knowledge with new ideas, explains correlations, and conceptualises scenarios for the future. In doing so, clichés are broken down and stereotypes are called into question, a process both valuable and necessary for German-Turkish relations, which has had a long history of prejudices. The projects thus share their insights with the non-academic public in various formats.

Find out more here 

The Art of Change

The Art of Change is a yearlong initiative from the Ford Foundation exploring the interplay of art and social justice in the world today. The goal is to engage in a meaningful dialogue with artists, cultural leaders, scholars, activists and social justice leaders to think about important questions and opportunities that lie at the intersection of art, culture and social justice. Through these conversations, the foundation hopes to gain and contribute to a better understanding of how expression and creativity can shape a more just and equitable future for all.

The Art of Change initiative includes:

  • Thirteen Visiting Fellows pursuing independent study on diverse issues related to art and social justice.
  • Convenings exploring the relationship of culture to themes of identity, meaning, diversity and freedom.
  • A curated website hosting conversations and content about the connection of art and culture to social justice

Check out the art of change website to find out more 

IMAGE CREDIT: A.Currell on Flickr

The African Giving Knowledge Base

The African Giving Knowledge Base is a database of literature from academic as well as other sources. In the database it’s possible to find a range of topics on African giving – from legally structured entities to systems and traditions of solidarity – in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese. There is also literature that looks at the impact of external philanthropy on African development.

The aim of the database is to provide a foundation that will enable a better understanding of the nature of giving in Africa; encourage more widespread and cross-sectoral analysis of the gaps in the knowledge; and serve as a platform from which to develop new knowledge and as a basis for refining and adding to the discourse on African giving. The database is a collaborative project between TrustAfrica and IssueLab.

Access the database here

And find out more about TrustAfrica here

Projet Banlieues

Fondation BNP Paribas is committed to working with local, microfinance and educational initiatives in disadvantaged suburbs. Projet Banlieues aims to get people back into work through helping them to set up their own business, and aiding local social initiatives and educational programmes for young people – these are all ways of helping to combat social marginalisation in deprived city neighbourhoods, in which the BNP Paribas Foundation, in liaison with the BNP Paribas retail banking network in France, is involved.

In particular, Projet Banlieues aims to:
– improve community life
– promote the social integration through the employment and entrepreneurial spirit
– ensuring the access to education to all


Find out more about this project here

The Foundry, a social justice centre with architectural ingenuity

The Foundry was established by the Social Justice and Human Rights Centre Company Limited; made up of the Ethical Property Company and a number of leading Trusts and Foundations, including Trust for London, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Barrow Cadbury Trust and Lankelly Chase. Together they identified the need to support social justice and human rights organisations through the provision of a purpose build centre. Today The Foundry provides the home for 25 different organisations.

The building, an old shoe polish factory, was converted by Architecture 00 and certified by BREEAM as ‘Excellent’. The building meshes functionality, design and sustainability. Working with a tight budget. Lynton Pepper, the architect, has simplistically described the project as “a series of concrete shelves that you can put stuff on”, however, every element has been considered including the future adaptability of the space.

It has recently been awarded the RIBA London Building of the Year.

The objectives of The Foundry project include:

  • Bringing together some of London’s most innovative and progressive social justice and human rights organisations in affordable premises
  • Encouraging building users to share ideas, work together, enhance their public profile and improve their ability to engage with and educate the public on social justice and human rights issues
  • Ensuring the building is developed and managed to a high environmental standard
  • Using renewable energy sources/providers where possible
  • Promoting  human rights and social justice issues through the delivery of a programme of events
  • Encouraging community development and promoting the local agenda by ensuring the space is affordable and accessible for local groups and residents
  • Delivering a programme of educational activities that will engage and inspire learners.

For more information about The Foundry :

Images by Lynton Pepper and Jim Stephenson courtesy of The Foundry


Network Pausanias 2.0

The Network Pausanias 2.0 is a project that aims to develop the link between educational activities and material to the land, natural resources, production history, cultural heritage and the museum.

In particular the proposal aims to develop educational activities in the Foundation’s Museum Network, it hopes to promote cultural heritage and an enthusiasm for local history whilst supporting experiential activities.

Find out more about the project here


PinchukArtCentre is an international centre for contemporary art of the 21st century in Kyiv, Ukraine. It provides an open platform for artists, art work and society.

Its aim is to dynamically interlace new production, presentation and collection of contemporary art in a way that bridges national identity and international standards. The centre provides an ideal venue for the presentation of masterpieces of our time that represent and reflect the complexity of the world and continually interpret it into new and unique forms.

Through collection, exhibitions, projects, communication, education, publications and research, PinchukArtCentre aims to help sustain and grow the contemporary arts scene in Ukraine.

This Works!

Ashoka Deutschland GmbH and the Robert Bosch Stiftung are working to transfer successful social entrepreneurial ideas from abroad to Italy, Spain, and Greece in a project entitled “This Works! Ideas and Solutions for Employment and Recovery in Southern Europe”. At the same time, they are developing the necessary structures at a local level and supporting the training of potential social entrepreneurs.

About thirty successful social entrepreneurs were selected from the Ashoka network – individuals whose ideas can contribute to the fight against youth unemployment and to the establishment of resilient service structures. The chosen Ashoka Fellows develop business plans for the transfer of their ideas and then present these to representatives from politics, business, government, and civil society at events held in Italy, Spain, and Greece to gain local support for the start-ups. At the same time, employees of Ashoka and Ashoka Fellows offer advice at a local level to interested young people who want to become social entrepreneurs themselves.

The project is conducted by Ashoka Deutschland GmbH together with Ashoka Europe and country offices in Spain, Italy and Greece. Foundations from the three target countries support the project. Companies and consultancies are involved by offering pro bono services.

Fondazione Tender to Nave Italia

Fondazione Tender to Nave Italia is an Italian NGO created by the Italian navy with the aim of offering opportunities of learning , rehabilitation and therapy through the sea and navigation experiences.

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Spazia has been supporting Nave Italia for several years now, in order to boost social inclusion and improve the quality of life of local people with disabilities or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds in the territory that the foundation is active within.