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FAQ

Who founded the Bertelsmann Stiftung?
What does the Bertelsmann Stiftung do? What are its mission and goals?
Does the foundation award grants or donate funds?
What issues does the Bertelsmann Stiftung focus on?
How is the foundation organized?
What is meant by initiating and driving reforms?
How does the Bertelsmann Stiftung fund its work?

Who founded the Bertelsmann Stiftung?

Reinhard Mohn, then chairman of the board and majority shareholder of Bertelsmann AG, established the Bertelsmann Stiftung as a charitable foundation in 1977, an act informed by both sociopolitical and corporate policy considerations. First and foremost the foundation maintains the long-standing cultural and social commitment of the Bertelsmann and Mohn families, the Bertelsmann company founders. It also ensures the continuity of Bertelsmann AG as a company, in which it owns a majority share of 57.6 percent.

What does the Bertelsmann Stiftung do? What are its mission and goals?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a private operating foundation that designs and implements its own projects. As an initiator and driver of needed reforms, it encourages social change and strives to contribute to society’s long-term viability. The foundation aims to identify social problems and challenges at an early stage and develop and put into action exemplary solutions for addressing them. Our work is rooted in the conviction that competition and civic engagement are imperative for ensuring social progress. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s projects are guided by our founder’s firm belief that the principles of entrepreneurial thinking and action can contribute to building a sustainable society.

Does the foundation award grants or donate funds?

As a private operating foundation, the Bertelsmann Stiftung exclusively finances projects that are planned, initiated and monitored by the foundation. In accordance with its articles of incorporation, the Bertelsmann Stiftung does not grant scholarships, donations or donations in kind.

What issues does the Bertelsmann Stiftung focus on?

  • Educational program: Early childhood education
    The Kinder früher fördern (Early Childhood Education) project aims to improve educational and developmental opportunities for children from infancy to age 8. We work to raise public awareness and provide support for our core target groups: parents, educators and policymakers.
  • International understanding program: An enlarged Europe
    The Das größere Europa (Enlarged Europe) project combines international and interdisciplinary analyses with proposals and recommendations for policymaking. The project also focuses on communicating its proposals and findings to decision-makers and the public.
  • Business and society program: Labor market reform
    The Standortranking (Business Site Ranking) and Benchmarking Deutschland (Benchmarking Germany) projects employ international and domestic comparisons to assess Germany's economic and regulatory strengths and weaknesses at regular intervals.
  • Health program: International Network for Health Policy and Reform
    As part of the project, experts from 17 countries submit reports twice a year on recent developments in health policy. The reports include current information on health policy and ideas for reform, along with assessments of their effectiveness.
  • Corporate social responsibility
    The Bertelsmann Stiftung's Kompetenzzentrum Unternehmenskultur/Führung (Center of Excellence for Corporate Culture and Management) assists companies in expanding their involvement in social issues. Key projects include Corporate Culture of Partnership, People and Work, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Kompetenzzentrum Kommunen und Regionen (Center of Excellence for Communities and Regions)
    Communities and regions have been highly important to the Bertelsmann Stiftung ever since it was founded. The Kompetenzzentrum Kommunen und Regionen (Center of Excellence for Communities and Regions) was established in January 2005 to consolidate the foundation's expertise at the local level.
  • Promoting philanthropy
    In 2005, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is highlighting its new Stifter-Studie (Philanthropist Study) to promote and spread the idea of philanthropy. On an international level, it promotes the concept of community foundations.
  • Demographic change
    The Aktion Demographischer Wandel (Demographic Change Campaign) is a key project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung. It is designed to identify positive perspectives and opportunities for bringing about change where it is needed most.
  • Work/life balance
    Germany must become "family-friendly" if it is to meet its future challenges. The objective of the Balance von Familie und Arbeitswelt (Work/Life Balance) project is to sensitize business to this issue and to initiate reform in communities and the business world.
  • Bridging differences through music and cultural exchange
    With its cultural projects, the Bertelsmann Stiftung works to promote music and cultural dialogue in business, politics and society at large at an international level. Its objectives are to promote creativity, preserve cultural diversity and build bridges of understanding through cultural exchange.
  • 2006 Carl Bertelsmann Prize
    The annual Carl Bertelsmann Prize recognizes innovative solutions to social problems. The topic for 2006 is “Active Aging in Economy and Society.”

How is the foundation organized?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung is governed by an executive board. The Board of Trustees acts as a kind of supervisory board and currently comprises 14 members. The employees of the foundation generally work in project teams. This structure promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and internal mobility. The number of employees has risen steadily in recent years, reaching about 320 in January 2006.

What is meant by initiating and driving reforms?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung wants to encourage social change. We view ourselves as an initiator and driver of necessary reforms. Working with partners from all sectors of society and drawing on experience gained in other countries, the foundation develops solutions that can serve as examples for others.

How does the Bertelsmann Stiftung fund its work?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung finances its nonprofit projects primarily from its share of the earnings of Bertelsmann AG. Additional funding comes from cooperation with our project partners—such as other nonprofit organizations—and from managing our own resources. Total expenditures for the 2005 fiscal year amounted to € 56.7 million. As of 2005, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has spent some €605 million on projects to benefit society since its founding.


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