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Thematic meetings

Community organising – what works and the role of community foundations

Community / citizen organising involves equipping people with the skills needed to build confidence and a sense of collective power to work with others to identify common goals and improve their own lives and their community’s shared life. Community foundations can be community / citizen organisers themselves and are also funders of community / citizen organising. Hear from experts from Community Organisers in UK leading a Europe-wide initiative that is promote exchange and learning seeking to and develop relationships between those involved with the practice of community organising – learn about tools and practices and discuss the practical and political challenges you face in this aspect of your work.

Form: online Zoom meeting
Date: Thursday 24th November 2022, 10.30-12.30 AM Central European Time (CET) 
If you are interested in community organising issues, please register here.



  1. To understand what community / citizen organising is
  2. To explore the relevance to community foundations and how they engage with/support community / citizen organising

The challenges facing civil society are increasing. Global economic pressures are causing increasing polarisation of wealth, changing political landscapes are threatening democratic participation of all citizens and the civic arena (which has long been the space to galvanise and advocate for the those who find themselves on the margins) is diminishing.

However, despite the national and global socio-economic pressures, at the local level people and communities are self-organising for a more just and fairer world. They are combining their collective strengths to create community alternatives to address challenges around the rising energy prices and the climate crisis through community owned enterprises, creating food co-ops that ensure no person goes hungry and developing new systems of democratic participation that enables the voices all people to be heard.

At the heart of this is a desire and need for community / citizen power that is both economic and social. One that relies less on external intervention and more on utilising the resources of people and money held at a local level. The challenge for us all is how do we unlock the power of local philanthropy and the organised collective power of people to bring about social change.

Join us for this exploratory conversation looking at the role that community foundations can play in unlocking the power of civil society through community / citizen organising.  


10.30 – 10.40   Introductions, welcome and overview – participants to use ‘chat’ to introduce themselves and share reasons for joining the call

10.40 – 10.45    Setting the scene: overview as to why we have invited this conversation – James Magowan, ECFI

10.45 – 10.50   Introductions to the work that Community Organisers are doing both in the UK and as part of the wider European learning project – Nick Gardham, Community Organisers

10.50 – 11.20   What is Community Organising? – an overview of what community organising is (and isn’t) - Nick Gardham, Community Organisers

11.20 – 11.35   Hearing from the community foundation field: the role that community foundations have played in bringing about social change through community / citizen organising -
György Hámori, Roots and Wings Foundation, Hungary
Monica Jac Grigore, Romanian Federation of Community Foundations

11.35 – 12.05   Group discussions – what is the role that community foundations can play in galvanising and catalysing grassroots social change. 

12.05 – 12.25   Feedback from group discussions

12.25 – 12.30    Summary and wrap up – James Magowan, ECFI

Community Organisers

Community Organisers is funded by the National Lottery (UK) to work with European partners to explore how civil society in the UK can learn from community organising efforts in other European countries. We have already begun having some great conversations and sessions with people and organisations across Europe and are already seeing themes and questions emerge in these sessions around: 

  1. how to build personal and community resilience, particularly in migrant and refugee communities and;
  2. how community organising can strengthen democracy during the rise of the Far Right across parts of Europe.