Our goal is to contribute to social reform. That is only possible if we enter into an ongoing dialogue with all societal stakeholders and ensure the work we do is always valued by the public.
Private Operating Foundation
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a private operating foundation. We therefore only fund projects that we conceive and initiate ourselves and then support as they are being carried out.
As a result, we do not make grants or provide support for third-party projects.
Our partners are decision makers in the political, economic and social spheres, as well as public institutions, research organizations and other foundations. In particular, we focus on exchanging ideas and experience across cultural and national borders.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung was founded in 1977 based on the conviction of our founder, Reinhard Mohn, that Germany was not doing enough to consider the growing competition between the globe's various social and economic systems. We therefore concentrate on developing solutions capable of addressing challenges in range of societal sectors and, at the same time, ensuring the continuity of Germany's political, economic and social structures. In doing so, we consider what has proven successful in other countries and we strive to balance research findings with experience in the field.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung's activities are exclusively and directly philanthropic in nature. Its objective is to promote research and understanding in the areas of religion, public health, youth and senior affairs, culture and the arts, public education and career training, social welfare, international cultural exchange, democracy and government, and civic engagement.
We are currently carrying out about 70 projects. Each project's duration is limited based on topic in order to free up resources for new challenges. Once a project has been successfully completed, i.e. a proposed model or solution has been developed, we then strive to implement the model or solution.
This can take a variety of forms. The solutions either become part of accepted practice in the relevant sector, they are adapted for use by our project partners or they continue to be jointly implemented within a cooperative framework.
When executing our projects we rely on recognized experts in a range of disciplines, including the 380 highly qualified individuals employed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
All members of the project team remain in close contact with the stakeholders and target groups present in their area of work. They are therefore up to date on the latest developments and solutions being used to address pressing social issues. They also make their specialized knowledge available to the media and the public.
Being transparent is our way of expressing the responsibility we feel toward society. We therefore make available to the public the information needed for understanding how we are funded and the work we do.
As society changes, so do the conditions affecting how foundations carry out our work; they also affect program content and the manner in which foundations fulfill their mandates. Foundations are therefore not static entities, but must constantly reconsider and redevelop the strategies behind their activities, as well as how those activities are implemented and the reach they are designed to have. At the same time, foundations must retain the public's trust.
Our focus on impact and the evaluations we carry out of our own projects serve as the basis for ensuring our activities are successful and seen as valuable by others. They also help us as we further develop our work.
We believe part of our responsibility is to use our resources in an effective and non-self-serving manner, i.e. one that promotes the common good. We are therefore guided in our efforts by the "Principles of Good Practice for Foundations" laid out by the Association of German Foundations.