European AI & Society Fund Annual Report 2023

Catherine Miller

2023 was the year that the world woke up to the AI challenge. In the space of 12 months, public debate shifted from astonishment at ChatGPT’s ability to produce plausible-sounding texts on an infinite array of subjects, to a serious and consequential debate on the potential and risks of Artificial Intelligence for our societies.

The European AI & Society Fund community has played a pivotal role in these conversations. Many of our partners were engaged up to the very last minute of the marathon negotiations over the AI Act, demanding that human rights safeguards were not traded away. Thanks to their dedicated work in the face of intense industry lobbying, potentially significant measures, including fundamental rights impact assessments and redress procedures for people discriminated against by AI systems, were secured.

Our grantees have been working on other EU initiatives too, in areas such as health and workers’ rights, as well as locally, for instance with Algorithm Audit’s in-depth analysis of algorithmic profiling for welfare re-examination in Rotterdam, and internationally, such as Foxglove’s fight for the rights of content moderators in Kenya. Through this work we see the investment that the Fund has made in supporting civil society over the past three years translating into tangible outcomes that secure the public interest.
The diversity of our community is its greatest strength. Our grantees have built powerful coalitions to work collectively towards common goals, drawing on their respective strengths in technology and social justice expertise.

All our work is underpinned by the steadfast support of our funder community. In 2023 we were pleased to welcome two new members – Adessium Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Our partners’ commitment is demonstrated not just through their financial contributions but through their strategic engagement in our work, led by our dedicated co-chairs Guillermo Beltrà and Carla Hustedt. We are grateful to them and to all of those who have supported our work in many different ways over the past year.

We start 2024 with renewed energy and ambition to meet the scale of the AI moment we are in. The year ahead presents a unique opportunity to build on the strengths of our fantastic community and work towards our mission of AI that promotes fair, inclusive and sustainable democratic societies.


Read about the Fund’s activities, contribution of our partners and impact of our grantees in 2023 here.

Highlights from 2023:

  • We supported 38 civil society organisations across Europe with €1.8m funding.
  • Our grantees achieved tangible policy impact: they strengthened fundamental rights in the European Union’s AI Act, won court-room rulings in support of improving working conditions for content moderators, and built guidance for algorithmic benefit distribution.
  • We launched a €200.000 Ecosystem small grants programme to give a wider community access to our funding, supporting seven new organisations.
  • We supported our grantees to build AI and policy skills and expertise, and appointed Līva Vikmane as Networks and Communications Manager to support community building.
  • Adessium Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation joined the European AI & Society Fund as new funding partners.
  • We changed our name to the European AI & Society Fund, to better reflect our mission.
  • We developed our approach to diversity equity and inclusion (DEI).
Recent articles
Impact report: Insights from our grantees working on AI and Society

This report provides insights into the strategic capacities, impact, challenges and learnings from our grantees who began their work in 2021 to shape Artificial Intelligence policy in Europe.

Report: Making the AI Act work: How civil society can ensure Europe’s new regulation serves people & society

This report, prepared for the European AI & Society Fund by the Center for AI & Digital Policy looks in detail at the challenges ahead and sets out a strategy for funders to build civil society capacity for implementation of the EU AI Act.