Timon Kronenberg

What motivates founders?

They act out of a sense of responsibility and want to give something back to society.

Creating something that remains

What moves people to establish a foundation? They are motivated by a sense of responsibility and want to give something back to society. Another motive is the need to move something. Self-involved reasons play a less important part. Founders choose the legal form of a foundation because in this way the donated capital can be used permanently for the charitable causes. Many want to create something that endures and lives on after they themselves have passed away.

“With the foundation we want to help people in Berlin without a home getting help in the future, too."
Dr Jenny de la Torre-Castro, Founder, Jenny de Torre Foundation, Winner of the German Founders Award 2015
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The number of foundations in Germany has doubled over the course of a few years. What moves people to establish a foundation? What are the experiences they have made in the process? What does their commitment look like today? What are their plans for the future of their foundation?

Answers to these questions have been provided by about 700 founders who in 2015 took part in a representative survey for the “Founders in Germany: Commitment – Motives – Views” study by the Association of German Foundations.

what moves founders?
Joana Kelén

The main results of the study

Benefactresses and benefactors act out of a sense of responsibility and want to give something back to society. They feel the need to move something. Self-involved reasons play a less important part.

Founders find the legal form of a foundation appealing because the donated assets are used permanently for not-for-profit purposes. Many want to create something that endures and lives on after they themselves have passed away.

Ninety per cent of founders donate assets during their lifetime; 95 per cent are over 45 years of age, and they are often male, highly educated and well-to-do.