Affiliate Organizations

Over the 40 years of our existence, we have established a number of independent entities as partner organizations and subsidiaries. We support affiliated nonprofit institutions by contributing ideas and funding.


Bertelsmann Foundation North America

The Bertelsmann Foundation North America is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC with a transatlantic perspective on global challenges.

Through its research, debate forums and multimedia tools, the Bertelsmann Foundation North America provides analysis and solutions to the most pressing economic, political and social challenges impacting the United States and Europe. Founded in 2008 as an affiliate of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, it advances social change, supports civil liberties and promotes international understanding.

The Bertelsmann Foundation North America serves as a bridge between Europe and the United States, highlighting best practices on both sides of the Atlantic in the areas of foreign, economic and social policy. Its work is predicated on the belief that sooner or later Europeans and Americans will face the same challenges and can learn from each other’s solutions.

Founders Foundation

Established on the initiative of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Founders Foundation educates the next generation of successful entrepreneurs in the heart of Germany’s Mittelstand. As a result, it is developing initiatives that are shaping the digital future for the region of East Westphalia–Lippe and building B2B startup ecosystems throughout Germany.

The Founders Foundation develops, promotes and supports entrepreneurs as they successfully create their own startups. Assisted by a unique network of mentors – experienced business leaders, international experts, and leading thinkers from the startup scene – the Founders Foundation uses its Startup School, Lab and six-month Accelerator to strategically prepare entrepreneurs for the various steps on their startup journey, based on their business idea and its level of development.

In keeping with the ideas of philanthropist Reinhard Mohn, the pilot project will run for 10 years, and it has received initial funding of €17.5 million. Over 400 talented entrepreneurs have been trained using the Founders Foundation Education Model. The 25 resulting startups have attracted venture capital totaling tens of millions of euros. Moreover, 80 percent of Founders Foundation graduates have remained in East Westphalia–Lippe, an innovation transfer that is helping to ensure the region’s long-term competitiveness.

CHE Centre for Higher Education

Higher education institutions are increasingly offering courses that combine occupational and academic content. CHE provides guidance for students from nontraditional backgrounds. We also offer university administrators and policy makers innovative ideas – for example, on ongoing learning and dual vocational-academic programs.

CHE addresses the challenges currently confronting Germany’s colleges and universities and its policy makers active in the field of higher education. For example, it has supported higher education institutions during the pandemic through its Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, making it possible for them to learn from the crisis. After all, the experience of teaching digitally during the lockdown is making it possible to draw far-reaching conclusions on the future of hybrid learning

CHE was founded in 1994 by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Rectors’ Conference. For more than 20 years, the organization’s . best-known project, the annual CHE University Ranking, has been providing students with guidance on higher education programs at German-speaking institutions. CHE has also been publishing an international ranking of universities, U-Multirank, since 2014. This ranking compares 1,800 institutions from 98 countries using more than 30 criteria in the areas of research, teaching, internationality, regional engagement and knowledge transfer.

Fundación Bertelsmann

The Bertelsmann Stiftung promotes social change in Spain through its Barcelona-based affiliate, the Fundación Bertelsmann. Since 2014, all Fundación Bertelsmann activities have focused on reducing the country’s high level of youth unemployment.

Established by Reinhard Mohn in Barcelona in 1995, the Fundación Bertelsmann initially worked to develop libraries in Spain. Since 2014, it has focused on increasing employment among Spanish youth. It aims to improve occupational opportunities for young people by introducing high-quality career counseling in schools. It is also committed to promoting dual vocational education. The Alliance for Dual Vocational Training – a network that now consists of 1,400 partners – supports businesses, vocational schools and other institutions as they launch dual vocational education programs. In addition, the foundation is developing proposals on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and the European Commission for statutory quality standards and a monitoring system. The foundation also has a network of “external consultants” which assists businesses and schools to implement dual vocational education and training (VET) programs. External consultants for dual VET are currently active in 9 out of 17 regions after being introduced there by educational authorities, many of whom use materials developed by the Fundación Bertelsmann.

Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music

Through its projects, the Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music focuses on developing young opera talent and advancing music education. It also works to increase understanding among children and young people of different cultural backgrounds.

Through her foundation, Liz Mohn would like to make greater use of the opportunities culture and music offer for personal development and for society at large. Within its focus areas, the Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music
supports the Opera Studio at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin and the studio’s participants. As part of the yearly Cultural Diversity With Music initiative, the foundation accepts funding applications for projects that promote intercultural interaction among children and young people in Germany. Through this national initiative and its local cultural activities in Gütersloh, where the nonprofit organization is based, the Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music aims to achieve one goal above all: giving disadvantaged children and young people equitable opportunities to participate in culture and thus in society.


Doing good and achieving the best – that’s PHINEO’s goal. PHINEO is a think tank, consultancy and social organization all in one.

PHINEO supports nonprofits, companies and philanthropists in achieving their goals more effectively and in making an impact through social engagement. Originally incubated at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and an independent entity for the last 10 years, the analytic and consulting organization accomplishes this in four ways:
1. As an analytics specialist, PHINEO makes social impact visible.
2. As a consultancy, PHINEO advises and networks nonprofits, foundations, businesses, government ministries and individuals. It thus makes projects possible that could not be realized by people working on their own.
3. As a think tank, PHINEO combines innovation with activities that are tried and tested.
4. As a visionary organization, PHINEO implements its own ideas – quickly and effectively.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is one of PHINEO’s shareholders, which allows for numerous mutually beneficial synergies.

German Stroke Foundation

Learning from people, providing integrated assistance: Established by Liz Mohn in 1993, the German Stroke Foundation not only aids people affected by stroke, it also works to further develop Germany’s health-care system.

The German Stroke Foundation is dedicated to preventing stroke, assisting people with stroke and their families, and improving stroke-related care. Its activities focus on those whose lives have been affected by this health issue. The foundation uses what it learns in its interactions with individuals to aid the greater community dealing with stroke. It gives a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard, while offering them advice and assistance. It provides information on risk factors and what to do in the case of stroke. It also encourages people to adopt healthier lifestyles, since 70 percent of strokes are preventable. The foundation dialogues with actors across the entire care-provision chain, from preventive, emergency and acute care to rehabilitative and follow-up care. It contributes new ideas, for example through pilot projects, and networks individuals and institutions.

Reinhard Mohn Institute for Management

The Reinhard Mohn Institute of Management is an academic institute at Witten/Herdecke University. Through research, teaching and dialogue with practitioners in the field, its interdisciplinary and international approach produces innovative ideas that advance the theory and practice of management, thereby serving individuals and society at large.

Supported by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Reinhard Mohn Institute of Management (RMI) was founded in 2010 as an extension of the Reinhard Mohn Endowed Chair in Management, which was established in 1991. Its program reflects Reinhard Mohn’s participatory and responsibility-driven management philosophy, and the RMI emphasizes the importance of cooperation in strategy, organization, leadership and management. Key issues addressed include network and alliance strategies, strategic realignment processes, managing openness and transparency, and trust in and among organizations. Additional topics are innovation and learning in organizations, new forms of leadership and work in the digital age, and corporate responsibility in keeping with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The institute hosts the annual RMI Management Day and uses the Führungskräfte-Radar (Leadership Radar), its representative survey, to show how favorable conditions can be created to promote effective leadership.

Reinhard Mohn Stiftung

The Reinhard Mohn Stiftung advocates for better educational opportunities for children and young people in East Westphalia–Lippe. It works to ensure their educational achievements do not depend on their cultural, social or economic background. Its activities are therefore designed to improve the quality of education in preschools and schools.

The Reinhard Mohn Stiftung began operating in 2009. All its activities aim at empowering children and young people to reach their full potential, regardless of cultural, social or economic background. Developed and implemented with local partners, the foundation’s projects take place in cities and towns located in East Westphalia–Lippe, the region Reinhard Mohn was from and where his family still lives today. One of the foundation’s key concerns is that the projects develop positively over the long term and that their outcomes are disseminated and anchored in the educational system. In order to increase their impact in schools, the foundation began redesigning the projects’ training courses in 2020. Going forward, all activities will reflect the standards currently required of effective, sustainable further-training programs. The kick-off for this upgrade is a project for improving math skills among students at over 70 primary schools.

Center for Digital Education and Schools in Gütersloh

The center supports schools and their school boards in the district of Gütersloh as they “go digital.” The goal is to initiate processes for further developing both classroom instruction and schools as a whole, while ensuring young people can participate as digital technology transforms the way we work and live.

Digitalization is creating fundamental change in almost all areas of life, and schools must prepare students for their future in a digital society. That means ensuring not only that young people learn how to use digital media in school, but that they are able to engage with them thoughtfully, critically and responsibly. In 2017, the Bertelsmann Stiftung liaised with the Reinhard Mohn Stiftung and with project partners in the regional educational network to create the nonprofit Center for Digital Education and Schools in Gütersloh. The following year, the project was launched at 56 schools in five communities. In 2019, another nine local school boards and their schools joined the project. Training courses were also offered to school principals and school-development groups. In 2020, the school boards benefitted from training courses and consulting services. Another focus area was creating an effective and sustainable training program for further developing classroom instruction, which was presented to 40 interested schools.