Press release
Berlin / Essen, 02/25/2015

Berlin/Essen, February 25, 2015 –Stiftung Mercator, MitOst e.V. and Liquid Democracy are inviting civil society actors to submit project ideas to strengthen solidarity in Europe.  Associations and initiatives can apply online for grants of up to €50,000 each. The idea challenge is an opportunity to realise original project ideas that strengthen connection and cohesion in Europe across national, linguistic and generational borders. Winners will receive a share of €400,000 available for project funding.
Active citizens and transnational changemakers in the fields of civic education, arts and culture, democracy and participation, social innovation and innovative forms of democracy can apply until April 13, 2015 for start-up funding to realise their initiatives. Up to 12 projects are funded each year. Applications for projects with a connection to the Ruhr region of Germany, home to Stiftung Mercator, are particularly welcome.
"The challenges that Europe and its neighbouring regions face today – from Stockholm to Seville and from Kiev to Cologne – can only be mastered together. We invite established actors as well as newcomers and beginners to apply and share their practical proposals for our collective future,” says Michael Schwarz, CEO of Stiftung Mercator.
Users of the “Advocate Europe” online platform will be able to see and comment on all submitted project ideas during the application stage. "This openness is unique in the non-profit sector. We know of no other idea challenge or funding instrument that offers such flexibility in supporting ideas for change,” says Julia Hoffmann, programme manager for the idea challenge at MitOst e.V. in Berlin. Through their votes, users of the online platform will determine the winner of a Community Award and send five proposals into the final round. An expert jury, whose members include Claudia Nicolai (Hasso Plattner Institut), Robert Menasse (Author) and Klaus Scharioth (Former Ambassador), will select up to 12 winners early this summer.
The idea challenge takes a new approach to interactive online participation. On the bilingual website the entire application process is visible, from the application phase through to the awarding of the prizes. Liquid Democracy developed the website as an open source project. “With our Adhocracy software we can facilitate online participation and collectively work on, improve and virally distribute ideas among groups of all sizes,” explains Daniel Reichert, CEO of Liquid Democracy e.V.
Press contact
MitOst e.V.
Julia Hoffmann
Programme Manager
+49 30 315174-60  
Stiftung Mercator
Natalie Jurewitz
Communication Manager
+49 201 24522-840

About the initiators:
The Stiftung Mercator is a private foundation that promotes science, education and international understanding. It initiates, develops and finances projects and partnerships in the areas to which it is committed: strengthening Europe, improving integration through equal educational opportunities for everyone, driving forward the energy transition as a trigger for global climate change mitigation, and firmly anchoring cultural education in schools. The foundation feels particularly indebted to the Ruhr region, the home of its founding family. Stiftung Mercator initiated “Advocate Europe.”
MitOst e.V. connects motivated people in a diverse and open network in Europe and its neighbouring regions. MitOst supports cultural exchange and civil society engagement through its projects. The goal of the association is a lively civil society that goes beyond cultural, linguistic and political borders. MitOst e.V. implements "Advocate Europe" together with Liquid Democracy.
Liquid Democracy e.V., is a non-profit and non-partisan association which works on innovative ideas and software for democratic participation. Since 2009, the association has developed the open source software Adhocracy. This software makes the participation of organisations and persons in decision processes possible through an online discourse mostly free of moderation.