Reinhard Mohn on 30 Years of Reform Work: "Don't wait, act!"
Thirty years ago – on February 8, 1977 – Reinhard Mohn, then CEO of Bertelsmann AG, signed his name to the document that called the Bertelsmann Stiftung to life. Since then, the foundation has kept the tradition of its founder alive by dedicating itself to the common good. The foundation’s work is informed by the belief is that competition and civic engagement are key drivers of social change.
Society can only develop in a positive direction if it is capable of carrying out reform in the areas of education, business, social programs and health. In the age of globalization, another key area is international understanding. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicated to stimulating reform in exactly these fields.
As Reinhard Mohn wrote in celebration of 25 years of reform efforts by the Bertelsmann Stiftung: “Democracy’s vitality depends on the engagement of its citizens.” Today, five years later, the 85-year-old innovator can still be found at his desk, supporting the foundation’s work.
“My memories of my youth and of our country’s past are marked by social systems that took little heed of the needs of individuals,” he says. “Might made right. When rebuilding Bertelsmann AG after the war, we asked ourselves which structures would be more humane and more successful. We chose to support the country’s new democracy and its social market economy. We responded to the issue of capitalism’s questionable ‘justice’ by developing our own unique corporate culture.
We established the Bertelsmann Stiftung 30 years ago to help develop new possibilities for facilitating social reform. It clearly proved to be the right choice. The foundation has been a great success for Bertelsmann AG and its employees, as well as for the company’s corporate culture.
Much remains for the Bertelsmann Stiftung to do, both in the business world and in the political arena. We have to learn that as citizens we must get involved to support society. Don’t wait, act!"