Grants call, second round: Democracy Needs Imagination


Democracy Needs Imagination – second round
In 2019 we have seen democracy challenged throughout the world – at all levels of society.

In Europe, nationalism, isolation and separatism are becoming more common, making people feel polarised and powerless. We are witnessing a rise in hate speech targeted at those who are fighting inequalities. The right to express cultural or personal stories and opinions is increasingly under threat. Our right to public space is being taken away and our physical personal freedoms are being challenged. We believe these threats to democracy represent an attack on the major achievements in culture and civilisation that have been so hard won through European unity.

Even though this May’s European Parliamentary elections saw an encouraging turnout of positive voting, democracy is still dominated by nationalism and inequality in many European countries. Earlier this year, the European Cultural Foundation launched the Democracy Needs Imagination Action Grant to counteract this radicalisation. Our firm belief that most Europeans don’t want to live in unequal, polarised, undemocratic societies was confirmed by the sheer number of applications we received in response to our call. The grants we supported out-did themselves in their creative activism and their impressive ways of mobilising democracy. They made a big difference. You can read about them here.

As we head into the final months of 2019, we are seeing the rise of more democratic unrest in many European Union countries. We can’t just sit back and watch this happen. We need to act now.

We want to support people who are working for European democratic values. People who are fighting for their rights as citizens, for their right to public space and personal freedoms, and for their right to creative expression. We are looking for individuals or organisations working at a local, national or transnational level. We want to hear your most imaginative ideas in the fields of arts and culture, media/journalism, citizen actions, education, digital and even across a range of different sectors.

Use your imagination to make our European unity stronger and better, resilient and future proof. Apply now!

How can I apply?
Your idea could be local, national or transnational, online or offline, and you can be based anywhere in the world but it must be striving towards stronger unity in Europe. This means projects whose focus is only artistic or only educational do not match our criteria.

You need to be above 18 years old and can apply as an individual or as an organisation.

Grants are available in three amounts:

o   Small: €5.000 – 15.000

o   Medium: €15.000 – 30.000

o   Large: €30.000 – 50.000

Please submit a realistic budget that fits one of those amounts. Almost everything is possible: start-up funding; co-funding or filling a budget gap; and we can also cover staff, material and travel costs. Please make sure your budget is clear and refer to the provided template.

We do not support proposals submitted by political parties. Our work is strictly non-partisan, although pro-European.

The call is ongoing with a deadline of 27 September 12:00 CEST

We are granting projects in 2019 as the urgency for our fight for Europe is high – however your project can continue into 2020.

Submit your proposal using our form, including your budget [template provided in the form]:
Application form

We will communicate about the grants we have awarded through our communication channels, using #democracyneedsimagination.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions if you need more information. You might enter our social media Q&A events or send us a mail through We do not answer questions via the phone.

Good luck!