Two years on from its creation to help people in Europe through Covid-19 – and fortified by €1.3 million in urgent donations – the Fund for EU civil servants to make personal contributions for those in need across the continent has unveiled a long-term vision to mark Europe Day 2022: a fairer, more sustainable Europe, where caring for people and the planet go hand in hand.
“Europe … will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.” Robert Schuman, 9th May 1950
In a call for new support ahead of the May 9 holiday marking the founding declaration of the European project by Robert Schuman in 1950, the trustees of the EU Staff Solidarity Response Fund said that while the pandemic had receded, its effects on livelihoods and wellbeing continue to be felt. These are now being compounded by the war in Ukraine and, looking ahead, the climate crisis and its attendant disasters pose a longer-term threat to Europe’s most vulnerable.
"We launched the Fund during Covid to promote a coordinated solidarity response from EU staff. We repeated this with the 2021 summer floods and now with the war in Ukraine. All these actions showed there is an interest among EU staff in supporting local initiatives all over Europe that tend to be close to people, but far from other institutional funding sources,” said co-founder Bruno Mola.
“This is why, after long reflection with our donors, we have developed a new strategy that will allow the Fund to evolve from a crisis response tool to a permanent funding source for small organisations pursuing social and environmental objectives at the same time."
Managed since its establishment in April 2020 by the King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium’s leading philanthropic institution, the EU Staff Solidarity Response Fund provides an accessible means for those working in the EU institutions to channel funds swiftly to those making a difference on the ground. Donations can be made at this KBF website.
From counselling for frontline care staff in Spain to tutoring for Roma children in Czechia or hygiene products for vulnerable women in Romania, the Fund has delivered dozens of a rapid, no-fuss grants totalling €860,000 to ease the pain of the pandemic. It raised a further €100,000 for victims of last summer’s climate change-induced flooding in Belgium and, since March, has collected €340,000 for organisations helping those worst affected by the war in Ukraine.
As well as responding to crises, the Fund is particularly keen to develop longer-term support for projects that combine fighting social ills, such as poverty and exclusion, with action to combat climate change. It is open to suggestions from donors at EUfirstname.lastname@example.org.