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About us: Funding

Tax-exempt status

The Bertelsmann Stiftung engages exclusively in nonprofit activities in keeping with Germany's tax code (§ 51ff. Abgabenordnung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland). It is not required to pay corporate or business taxes as a result. 

The Bertelsmann Stiftung's nonprofit status is reviewed every year by the German tax authorities. Its last notice of exemption is dated February 6, 2018 and is based on its tax return for the 2016 financial year. The foundation is therefore entitled to provide receipts for any donations it receives.


The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a corporate-affiliated foundation and was established by its founder, Reinhard Mohn, based on the belief that entrepreneurial success and wealth entail social responsibility. The majority of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's income derives from its indirect holdings in Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. Additional funds are available to the foundation from its cooperative partnerships and from the management of its financial reserves. Only a limited amount of its funding comes from donations. 


The Bertelsmann Stiftung's liquid assets are invested with the goal of sustaining its assets over the long term while generating ongoing income. These objectives are pursued using an approach that essentially relies on a highly diversified, international investment portfolio and a balanced risk-return ratio. The foundation's asset management strategy is based on investment guidelines determined by the Executive Board. An advisory council appointed by the Executive Board advises the foundation on its investments. 


Under its bylaws, the Bertelsmann Stiftung transfers funds into an unrestricted reserve fund in accordance with Section 62 Para. 1 No. 3 of the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung, AO). 

These reserves ensure that the Bertelsmann Stiftung remains autonomous and independent regardless of the financial and economic development of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA.


A limited amount of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's funding comes from donations. 

Donors do not receive favors or concessions of any kind for their donation. The Bertelsmann Stiftung reserves the right to accept or reject any donation. 

Donors' personal data are treated confidentially, protected, and only shared with others with the donor's express consent.

Cooperation with third parties


When income becomes available to the Bertelsmann Stiftung as the result of cooperative projects – those carried out with other nonprofit organizations, for example – it uses these funds exclusively for the philanthropic purposes of the project in question.   

Any surpluses resulting from its business operations are also used only for charitable purposes.