Keeper of Stability in the Crisis – Foundations as a Constant in Society


  • Foundations remain attractive – Number of new foundations slightly increased in 2019
  • Prof. Dr. Rogall, chairman: Foundations are a keeper of stability in the society, especially in times of crisis

“Foundations stand together and thus demonstrate that they are a supporting pillar of our society, that they are essential for social cohesion.“
Prof. Dr. Joachim Rogall

Berlin, 31 March 2020. Current figures of the Association of German Foundations show: Foundations remain attractive.

Slight increase by 2.1 percent – constant growth of the foundation sector

The number of foundations with legal status according to the Civil Law increased by 2.1 percent in 2019. 576 foundations received their certificate of approval. By comparison: in 2018, it was 554 foundations. For every 100,000 German citizens, there are currently 28 foundations. In addition to these 23,230 foundations with legal status according to the Civil Law, there is a large number of other legal forms of organisation.

Foundations are keepers of stability in the society – especially in times of crisis

“Those who set up a foundation are confident to be able to influence the future in a positive way. This attitude is encouraging, especially in the current situation. Foundations stand together and thus demonstrate that they are a supporting pillar of our society, that they are essential for social cohesion”, says Prof. Dr. Joachim Rogall, CEO of the Robert Bosch Foundation and chairman of the Association of German Foundations. “People can rely on foundations”, continues Rogall.

At a glance: the federal states and cities

In total, there are 23,230 foundations with legal status according to the Civil Law in Germany. 88.6 percent of these are based in the western states. On top of the list in terms of the increase of the number of foundations, though, are the states in the east of Germany. Saxony leads the list with 4.9 percent. The average increase in the new federal states is with 2.7 percent slightly above the average of the whole of Germany which is 2.1 percent. 80 of the 576 new foundations were established in East Germany including Berlin.

Hamburg remains the federal state with the most foundations compared to the number of inhabitants: 78 foundations for every 100,000 inhabitants. The state with the lowest density of foundations continues to be Brandenburg with 10 foundations per 100,000 inhabitants.

Taking a glance at the top 3 of the foundation capitals, Darmstadt is on course to the top of the list and will shortly be the German foundation capital. Würzburg is the only city to date that has even more foundations per 100,000 inhabitants. Oldenburg comes in third clearly after Darmstadt.

Timon Kronenberg

What moves founders?

A sense of responsibility and the need of giving something back to society: Many want to create something that endures and lives on after they themselves have passed away.

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