Non-profit

Guerrilla Foundation

Location:

Germany

Formation:

2016

Type:

Grantmaking Organization

Founder:

Antonis Schwarz

The Guerrilla Foundation is a German-based grantmaker that finances radical left-of-center activists throughout Europe. Antonis Schwarz, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, started the foundation in 2016.

Guerrilla Foundation reportedly supports the radical environmentalist pressure campaign Extinction Rebellion (XR). [1]

Background

The Guerrilla Foundation is a German-based grantmaking organization that professes to be “working towards bringing about major systemic change across Europe.” The organization backs “ethical and sustainable economy not predicated upon unrestricted growth.” [2]

Antonis Schwarz, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, started the foundation in 2016 backing politically left-wing social movements. [3]

The Guerilla Foundation targets its dollars to radical activism, which it considers ignored by other philanthropy. [4] The organization says it has financially supported more than 53 “activist collectives.” [5]

The Guerrilla Foundation is a member of EDGE Europe, a worldwide network of left-progressive activist groups. It is also a member of ARIADNA, which is a self-described network of human rights organizations. It is also a member of the Association of German Foundations. [6]

Leadership

Antonis Schwarz founded the Guerilla Foundation. Schwarz is an activist and philanthropist with inherited wealth he used to fund social causes since 2011. At age 16, Schwarz came into a family fortune when his great-grandfather, sold a pharmaceutical company that he helped found for 4.4 billion euros, or about $5 billion. [7] His family had established Schwarz Pharma in 1946 and sold it in 2006. [8]

His investments have included Bonventure, Goodwell, Sun Founder, Patamar-Capital, African Clean Energy, Awamo, the Media Development Investment Fund, Kois Invest, Circularity Capital, and the Social Venture Fund. Schwarz co-founded Vouliwatch, which is a Greek parliamentary watchdog group pushing political accountability. [9]

The managing director is Romy Kramer. She is a former program director of the DO School’s Venture Lab that backed 120 nonprofit founder. Ivan March is the communications director, bringing a decade experience in nonprofits to the organization, after working in West Africa, Latin America, India, Indonesia, and South Eastern Europe. Julia Gajewski is the interim managing director. She helped establish musical scholarships for artists around the world. She also worked for the Earthbeat Foundation, an environmental group. [10]

Initiatives

“Movement,” “Backbone and “Reflex” grants are core to the organization’s grant making priorities. “The Movement” fund aims to back organizations tacking issues that Guerilla deems important. [11] The “Backbone” fund supports activism and structure, backing groups that organize and educate on issues. [12] The “Reflex” is a fund for urgent action, with grants of up to €5,000. “Urgent” matters could include legal support, and emergency meetings for organizations with a pan-European orientation. [13]

The organization says a criteria for grants requires a grantee addressing the “root cause” to attain “systemic change.” A grantee must also embody left-progressive values, and the spending must have a “multiplier effect.” [14]

The group also focuses heavily on what is calls, “the story,” or changing what it considers “distorted narratives,” to promote “pan-European collective action.” The organization quotes New York Times liberal columnist Paul Krugman about the need to correct “learned ignorance.” [15]

The organization is promoting a #GoWithTheFlaw campaign to encourage other left-wing groups and funders to share their failures and lessons learned. [16]

One of the key recipients of Guerilla funds is Extinction Rebellion, a radical environmental group in Britain that calls for civil disobedience to call attention to a supposed “climate emergency.” [17]

References

  1. Hayman, Jake. “Funding the Revolution—Extinction Rebellion Closes in on the Mainstream.” Forbes. March 5, 2019. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jakehayman/2019/03/05/extinction-rebellion/#351f8e153d02 ^
  2. About. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/about/ ^
  3. Keidan, Charles. “Interview: Antonis Schwarz of the Guerilla Foundation.” Alliance. March 6, 2018. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.alliancemagazine.org/interview/interview-antonis-schwarz-guerrilla-foundation/ ^
  4. Hayman, Jake. “Funding the Revolution—Extinction Rebellion Closes in on the Mainstream.” Forbes. March 5, 2019. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jakehayman/2019/03/05/extinction-rebellion/#351f8e153d02 ^
  5. Engaging New Donors Into Activist Philanthropy. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/donor-engagement/ ^
  6. Network. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/about/network/ ^
  7. Ramli, David. “Harvard Course Teaches Rich Millennials How to do Good and Make Money.” Bloomberg News. June 9, 2019. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-09/harvard-course-helps-rich-millennials-do-good-and-make-money ^
  8. Keidan, Charles. “Interview: Antonis Schwarz of the Guerilla Foundation.” Alliance. March 6, 2018. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.alliancemagazine.org/interview/interview-antonis-schwarz-guerrilla-foundation/ ^
  9. Team. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/about/team/ ^
  10. Team. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/about/team/ ^
  11. Grant Making. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/grantmaking/ ^
  12. Grant Making. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/grantmaking/ ^
  13. Grant Making. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/grantmaking/ ^
  14. Grant Making. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/grantmaking/ ^
  15. The Story. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/storytelling/ ^
  16. The Story. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://guerrillafoundation.org/what-we-do/storytelling/ ^
  17. Hayman, Jake. “Funding the Revolution—Extinction Rebellion Closes in on the Mainstream.” Forbes. March 5, 2019. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jakehayman/2019/03/05/extinction-rebellion/#351f8e153d02 ^
  See an error? Let us know!