Stiftung Mercator establishes new centre in Berlin to strengthen civil society

LEAD, the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership & Advocacy, commences its work/Tobias Leipprand executive director

Press release

Berlin/Essen, 21.01.2013

Stiftung Mercator has established a new partner organisation in Berlin, which will debut this evening: LEAD, the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership & Advocacy. LEAD will, among other things, offer a programme of seminars, workshops and master classes for members of civil society organisations. The mission of LEAD is to strengthen leadership and advocacy skills across the civil society sector. Tobias Leipprand, who until the end of December 2012 served as a board member of the foundation stiftung neue verantwortung (SNV) is LEAD’s executive director since 1 January 2013. LEAD will cooperate with SNV on the basis of a strategic partnership. Stiftung Mercator is making available a total of approximately one million euros in funding for the next three years.

“We set up LEAD for two reasons: first, the challenges faced by civil society are becoming more complex from year to year.  Consequently, tasks at hand, such as a transition toward sustainable energy provision or the integration of immigrants into society, also require complex solutions. Second, a survey of our project partners in June 2012 showed that they ask for even greater support from the foundation that goes beyond merely providing financial resources (i.e. a more comprehensive capacity building). Our partners request more help with establishing competencies in the area of leadership and organizational development. This is why we founded LEAD,” explains Bernhard Lorentz, president of Stiftung Mercator. LEAD, for which Stiftung Mercator has made available one million euros up until 2015, is based at the Mercator Centre Berlin at Hackescher Markt.

“LEAD helps decision-makers from civil society assume leadership responsibility in tackling the major societal challenges of the 21st century”, says LEAD’s executive director Tobias Leipprand. “To this end, we offer free seminars and workshops on leadership and political communication. What is more, we aim to drive forward research in these areas and bring stakeholders together.”

LEAD will strategically focus on three areas: empowerment, research, and discourse.

1. The first area encompasses seminars, workshops and master classes aimed at the civil society sector. The 2013 curriculum offers more than 20 different topics. Participants can broaden their skills in anything from media training and writing workshops, to reflective competencies, facilitation of large groups and negotiation skills. All courses are free of charge and are listed on the LEAD website. Anyone interested in attending a course can apply and needs to undergo the selection process.

2. In the second area LEAD will conduct research on leadership and advocacy issues, publishing studies and position papers. How has the role of leadership changed in the 21st century? Do we need new and different concepts? Which competencies are needed for leadership in non-profit organizations?

3. The third area focuses on discourse and networking. Through events, conferences and symposia, LEAD will contribute to a debate on leadership and political communication. An annual series of symposia, for example, conducted in cooperation with the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and the company Giesecke & Devrient will be launched on May 8, 2013 at the Mercator Centre Berlin.

LEAD was developed and established by Stiftung Mercator and includes core elements of SNV’s Leadership Lab, which since 2009 has taught skills in cross-sector leadership and conducted applied research on current leadership issues. A strategic partnership will ensure close future cooperation between LEAD and SNV.

Further information:

Do not hesitate to contact us if you should have any questions:

Tobias Leipprand
Executive Director
Tel.: +49 175 168-1579

Marisa Klasen
Communication manager
Stiftung Mercator
Tel.: +49 201 24522-53



Press contact

 Marisa Klasen
Marisa Klasen
Communication Manager Editorial Communications and Issue Management
+49 201 24522-53