Maecenata was founded in 1989 as a specialised consultancy for the nonprofit sector. Over the following 22 years, Maecenata grew to include both nonprofit and commercial branches. In 2010 the non-profit elements were assembled under the roof of the Maecenata Foundation. In 2011 the commercial branch of Maecenata acquired new owners. Maecenata is now solely a nonprofit organisation.
The Maecenata Foundation is an independent Think Tank founded in 2010 and based in Munich. It addresses issues of civil society, civic engagement, philanthropy, and foundations. Since 2011 it comprises all of Maecenata’s activities. The foundation directs the activities of its programmes to represent carefully considered positions. It is heavily engaged in the transnational strengthening and development of an open society in Europe and beyond through civil society.
The Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society was founded in 1997. It is an recognised independent research and policy centre, promoting awareness of civil society (the so-called third sector) through its own research, academic teaching, and publications.
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The programme was founded in 2002 as a partner of the Transnational Giving Europe (TGE) network. In 2010, the programme became part of the Maecenata Foundation. Today the TGE-network represents 19 countries. Beneficiaries may reside world-wide. The network and its partners enable charitable donations to be made internationally, granting tax deduction in the donor’s country and ensuring that the procedure has been cleared with the fiscal authorities in all relevant jurisdictions. The network partners offer donors support and advice in numerous countries, based upon their experience in the nonprofit sector.
The programme was begun in December 2011. Since then it has become an important part of the foundation’s activities. The basis of the programme was the idea, that governments, parliaments, and supranational organisations alone are not capable of promoting the so desperately needed notion of European unity and that without the development of a European civil society, the realisation of the European project of unification seems unattainable.
The Tocqueville Forum was founded by the Maecenata Foundation in April 2016, after numerous attempts to found a research centre for civil society with other research facilities had failed. Today, more than ever, civil society requires support to become a vibrant part of society. The forum aims to provide support, spread research findings and investigate and strengthen democratic theory pertaining to civil society.