1. October: European Day of Foundations and Donors

On 1 October, foundations all over Germany open their doors on the Day of Foundations, an initiative of the Association of German Foundations. Under the mottoWe Together, they will demonstrate in 2020, the year of Covid-19, that foundations are committed to helping society, especially in crisis situations. 

Berlin, 11 September 2020. This Europe-wide day of action will show just how diverse the world of foundations is, and what their commitment can achieve. Foundations will open their doors and thus bring the work of foundations closer to society through their projects and events. The website www.tag-der-stiftungen.de lists all activities that have been organized for 1 October.

An action day by foundations for foundations

Kirsten Hommelhoff, Secretary General of the Association of German Foundations, has said of the event: “Together we will show that foundations are systemically relevant to society, especially in challenging times like the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular now, solidarity within society as a whole is a valuable asset that foundations can contribute to through their work.” This message is also conveyed by this year's motto, “We together”.

During the day, foundations from Flensburg in northern Germany to Freiburg in southern Germany will present a diverse programme. In this way, they will show the different facets of foundations’ activities. For example, there will be a special “Day of Foundations Radio Show”, in which various foundations will broadcast a podcast every hour, alternating every hour. In addition, the Haus der Braunschweigischen Stiftungen is organising a Foundation “Speed Dating”; the Initiative Zukunftslabor Ost will invite digital exchange between east German initiatives and foundations; and the Paria Foundation will hold a creative workshop. The Association of German Foundations will also hold several events on the day.

The Day of Foundations is the German contribution to, and inspiration for, the European Day of Foundations and Donors. The Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE) is implementing the day of action at the European level.

Foundations in Germany

There is a long tradition of foundations in Germany – with the oldest foundations dating back 1,000 years. Among other things, they support research and youth projects, protect natural areas, and are involved in educational initiatives, and thus they all aim to give something back to society through their commitments. In Germany, the number of foundations under civil law with legal capacity currently stands at 23,230 – in addition to which there are a number of other legal forms. In 2019, 576 foundations received a certificate of recognition, which corresponds to a growth in the number of foundations of 2.1 percent over the previous year.

The majority of foundations provide support in the areas of society (52 percent), education (35 percent), art and culture (32 percent) and science (24 percent).  Würzburg is the city with the most foundations, followed by Darmstadt and Oldenburg. Hamburg remains the federal state with the most foundations in relation to the number of people living there: there are 78 foundations per 100,000 inhabitants. 

More facts and figures on foundations

Foundations in Europe

More than 140,000 foundations in Europe spend about 60 billion euros a year for cultural, social, environmental, health-related and other charitable purposes.