Merci, Mava!

It’s the end of an era. On 31 October 2022, the MAVA Foundation - a major sponsor of EuroNatur - ceased its grant-making activities. It was a step that had been carefully prepared for over the past six years.

The founder of the MAVA Foundation, Dr Luc Hoffmann, had his finger on the pulse of today's world some thirty years ago: he was a man who not only placed great emphasis on social and ecological responsibility, but who also lived and breathed those values. Right from the outset, his focus was the preservation of biodiversity, and it was not long before EuroNatur had gained the support of the Swiss environmental foundation.

Finding a sponsor as reliable and flexible as the MAVA Foundation is like winning the lottery.

Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director, EuroNatur

Three questions for EuroNatur Executive Director, Gabriel Schwaderer

What has been achieved with MAVA funding?

Probably one of the Foundation's greatest legacies is that it prompted a rethink in the conservation scene. It became clear to many MAVA partners that if we joined forces we could achieve more. Being a MAVA programme partner also allowed EuroNatur to change its perspective. Together with MAVA and our project partners, we developed overarching, long-term goals instead of just moving along from project to project. We made use of the flexibility allowed in the way funds were used to  react appropriately to change. In times of increasing uncertainty in particular, being able to work this way has been invaluable. The funding of our activities was secured in the medium term by the MAVA Foundation. This gave us the opportunity to consistently pursue our biodiversity conservation goals and invest where we needed to - even if it meant taking greater risks. And last but not least, we recognised the importance of making room for self-reflection and relaxation, even when under great pressure. MAVA's mentoring programme and Nature Academy helped us to do this. New platforms were created to connect us with the other MAVA partners, and for us to learn together and develop further.

alumni of the Mava Academy

The strong network of conservation partners is one of the MAVA Foundation’s most valuable legacies. Pictured: MAVA Academy participants 2022.

© Thibaut Branquart - Grand Nord films

What will happen now, without MAVA?

Even though the closure of the MAVA Foundation is a setback, EuroNatur remains in a good position. We receive many external project grants, including funding from donors and foundations that have not supported us before, or who were unaware of us previously. We have been able to convince them of the value of our work. We have also succeeded in strengthening donation development and donor acquisition in such a way that we remain financially stable and are able to report financial results that have steadily increased over the years. On this basis, we are confident that we will be able to compensate for the loss of MAVA support from 2023. In 2021/2022, the MAVA Foundation gave us a lot of help with carrying out targeted marketing activities, enabling us to broaden our donor base.

Why are private donations so important for the Foundation?

They are important on so many levels! They strengthen our financial base and are, more than anything, a vote of confidence in our work. At this point, I would like to emphasise that we have to provide our own funds for many grants, which is precisely why stable donation income is so important. With many donors, we can multiply this. Donations from private individuals and funds from institutions or other foundations build on each other. I can only thank our supporters again and again for supporting us as far as their means allow.

Interview:  Katharina Grund and Anja Arning

The MAVA Foundation has enabled us to move mountains - here are some of our success stories:

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