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Strategic Plan 2017-2021

“We, the founders of filia, have the vision of a just, humane and diverse world that women contribute significantly to. We want women and girls worldwide to have better opportunities […]. Women are diverse. The cultures they stem from and the circumstances they live under vary. They belong to different generations and thus have differing perspectives on the world. We are convinced that the variety of experiences and competencies offers particular creative potential for change. We want a society that welcomes migrant women and builds on their lively participation.”
Extract from the preamble 2001

+++ Change the world +++

We observe a frightening growth of right wing, populist tendencies at a national and international level that puts many of the achievements regarding women and minority rights at risk again. And that’s why we need to join forces and a strong civil society which actively promotes these rights and the implementation of international treaties. Our objectives and the activities of our partners are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals and an active contribution to CEDAW, the Istanbul Convention and the EU Gender Action Plan.

Topics such as climate change, demographic change and migration always have a particular effect on women and girls. filia.the women’s fund reacts to these changes strategically and specifically by creating new areas of focus in our grant making.

Since filia’s establishment 15 years ago we have worked step by step towards our goal that women and girls can enforce their rights, broaden their freedom of action and achieve more decision making power. And for all of this, a fairer division of resources is required.

In Central & Eastern Europe (C&EE) and in the Global South (GS) we have managed to build long term partnerships with women organisations and funds.

The Girls’ Empowerment Programme has a sound base: The Girls’ Council provides a protected space for girls to develop their own voice and to ably take decisions regarding the grant making for girls’ projects in Germany. The Council unites young women who represent different facets of diversity reflecting the groups we provide grants to in the girls’ projects. The level of participation of the members of the Girls’ Council steadily increases. Since 2015, we have been able to broaden the programme internationally.
Within the International Network of Women’s Funds Prospera, our foundation helps to shape strategic developments.

What kind of world do we want to live in? A world that is more just, diverse and sustainable.
filia supports projects that drive social change. Our motto is “Change, not charity”. Social change as defined by us focuses on the root causes of the existing serious problems and develops activities that lead to structural change – for the benefit of women and girls. Integrating men and trans* into filia’s activities is also a topic for discussion.

More just – that’s why filia supports activities of women and girls in regions where human rights are particularly violated and where women’s access to resources and personal development is made very difficult.
Diverse – that’s why the foundation particularly focuses on women and girls that suffer from discrimination for more than one reason because of their ethnic origin, their religion, their sexual orientation and gender identity, a handicap or age.

Sustainable – we react pro-actively to challenges such as climate change and the situation of refugee women and girls. By giving young women and girls the opportunity to take on responsibility and participate in decision making processes of the foundation, to develop and lead their own projects and to actively express their views and positions in the public we contribute to the generation change.

+++ Empower women +++

Half of the world’s population are women. Until today, and increasingly again in some countries – also in C&EE – women are either denied or prevented from participation, equal rights and access to resources. They are exposed to gender specific and domestic violence.

filia.the women’s fund was established as a platform for the empowerment of women and girls. As a provider of project grants and advocate of women’s rights we help women and girls worldwide to put their ideas and projects for social change into practice. Respect of women’s and girls’ experiences and their take on possible solutions is key for us as is working collaboratively and publicising their successes.

filia also empowers women and girls to confidently deal with money, assets and inheritances. The model “community foundation” and the activities of the Girls’ Council aim to help achieve this.

Our endowment donors and regular supporters form a lively and engaged community. They help shape processes and structural decision making.

+++ Transform money +++

Those who make a donation to filia transform money directly into activities and projects of women and girls for women and girls – worldwide. This is a worthwhile investment proposition in times of low investment yields.

Those who contribute to the endowment fund transform money twice: It flows into the foundation’s capital and will be invested in accordance with our sustainable investment strategy. The yield of these investments is used to finance filia’s work and the activities of the women organisations.

As a fundraiser and investor filia spreads the concept of a feminist oriented philanthropy and aims to develop a respective donor culture in Germany.

In the context of our own operational activities we ensure that the means invested by filia or acquired from third parties are used for the benefit of other women organisations (part of the money is re-granted). We focus on topics that are of strategic importance to the foundation: Girls’ empowerment, intergenerational dialogue, cross-border experience exchange, climate change. Further topics are being developed.

As a foundation our mission is to provide means and to transform them into activities from women and girls for women and girls.

Having opted for the model of a community foundation, the foundation has structurally laid the base for addressing this need. The structure aims at creating a growing community which invests capital and ideas to help women gain more power and influence. By doing so, filia defines itself as a daughter of the women’s movement.

Our plans:
From 2017 to 2021 filia will continue to provide grants under the umbrella objectives “participation” and “freedom from violence”. Aside from aspects covered so far a focus will be on topics such as climate change and gender equality (in the Global South), refugee women and girls, development of the intergenerational dialogue.

With the Girls’ Council girls and young women organise themselves and manage their activities autonomously.
The fundraising activities will be broadened to cover additional target groups and institutions.

filia’s four roles will further evolve so that the foundation can achieve its mission to be a fundraiser, investor, provider of grants and advocate for women rights.


1. Fundraiser

filia provides money for women’s rights. The challenge is to win over more people, to open up new private and public financial sources to be able to provide grants to more women organisations which do relevant work to promote social change. We also see ourselves as a facilitator of access to additional financial sources for our partners helping through networking and recommendations and by acquiring public means for our target groups through a co-investment of filia money.

filia reviews financial sources in Germany and abroad.

filia’s main fundraising focus will be in Germany. Contributions to the endowment fund will help to continuously grow filia’s capital. We are intensifying our efforts for filia to become a beneficiary of legacies and to be considered in inheritance matters – also looking at options such as sub-foundations or thematic funds. In parallel, we aim to grow our donor base considerably. Regular donations ensure certainty in the planning of filia’s activities and increasingly contribute to the provision of filia’s project grants.

In addition, we will raise more third-party funds – in Germany and at a European level. filia researches and acquires financing from public institutions and larger foundations. Through our international networks we try to get access to financial sources (i.e. EU funds) that are not available to smaller women organisations.

The successful acquisition of third-party funds changes the foundation: Partner organisations need to document their expenses in accordance with the rules of the organisations that co-fund the projects, the share of operational work within the foundation increases, the independence of the foundation can suffer.
We are very aware of those processes, review our experiences and steer our research und acquisition efforts in accordance with our mission.

2. Investor

Money is an important, influential instrument and we therefore invest our capital in accordance with our vision. For this reason, we have chosen an ecological universal bank as our main bank and have developed a holistic take on how to deal with money. We consider where and how an investment is made, who benefits or who suffers from it. We do not only exclude nuclear energy, armament and child labour, it is also important for us that our criteria for sustainability, social and ethical compatibility and in particular gender equality are met. We also try to sensitise banks and suppliers for these criteria.

3. Provider of grants

For 15 years filia has promoted the empowerment of women and girls worldwide with the objective of changing discriminating social structures. We aim to increase our project grants considerably.
The themes “participation” and “freedom from violence” describe the objectives of our vision: Women and girls are to live free from violence and able to access decision making power and a fair distribution of resources.

Under those two umbrella themes the foundation will particularly focus on three cross-cutting issues: Climate change and gender equality, refugee women and girls as well as the promotion of an intergenerational dialogue. filia pays close attention to the limited funds being used to lever structural change.
filia provides three different types of grants:

Strategic grants that support women groups and their projects longer term with a higher financing volume have been successful in the past and will be increased. The women organisations can use the financing flexibly and according to their needs. For these grants filia reaches out to partner organisations.
Impulse grants are provided through open calls for proposals which aim to provide a kick-start and help us to get to know new partner organisations.

Rapid response grants enable women organisations worldwide to achieve prompt funding for particularly urgent actions.

filia provides grants in:

Central & Eastern Europe (50 % of the grants’ budget)

Change takes time. Strategic grants in co-operation with select women organisations and women funds will be grown. Impulse grants can be the first step towards longer term strategic co-operations. We grow our subject knowledge and deepen our relationships with partner organisations.

Germany (20% of the grants’ budget)

We consider girls and young women as agents for social change. Thus we will continue the funding of girls’ projects in Germany which empower girls and young women that are discriminated for more than one reason in their self-representation in an exemplary fashion. The Girls’ Council reviews the results of the grants provided and visits select projects.

Countries of the Global South (20% of the grants’ budget)

The co-operation with women funds and women organisations in the countries of the Global South enables filia to act in solidarity: By supporting the grant making programmes of the sister funds filia empowers the local women movements in their activities for participation and freedom from violence. As of 2017, one area of focus is the theme climate change and gender equality.

Rapid response grants (10% of the grants’ budget)

With a rapid financing of up to 5,000 Euros filia supports urgent actions of women groups worldwide which aim to use an unexpected window of opportunity for social change.

Until 2021, filia will further develop its approach to evaluation. Evaluation plays an important part when it comes to making change processes and their achievements visible.

4- Advocate

filia defines itself as an advocate for women’s rights and philanthropy with a gender perspective. We show how women and girls change the world. Through the intergenerational dialogue the foundation initiates communication between young interested women / activists and feminists who have been active for decades. Through this dialogue all participants invest in the sustainability and future of women movements in Germany and other partner countries.

As an active member of the women’s movement filia shapes the development of and participates in events and select campaigns.

Through these activities we want to increase the awareness of filia as a community foundation, to win new donors, to achieve visibility of successes and current topics discussed within the women’s movement and to contribute to global discussions.

filia actively advocates at national and international level.

In Germany, we aim to sensitise the “Bundesverband deutscher Stiftungen” (Federal Association of German Foundations) and its member foundations as well as important multipliers for gender appropriate standards and to mobilise more money for gender equality.

Within the network “Wandelstiften” (Foundations for Change) filia and other German foundations advocate philanthropy that aspires to structurally change society and for money to be invested sustainably.
Through our engagement and activities in international contexts we link the local and the global perspective. This inspires our work and allows us to contribute to global feminist topics which we discuss at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (awid) with activists from around the world. As a member of the International Network of Women’s Funds Prospera filia together with other women funds worldwide works towards increasing the resources of women and girls’ organisations.