Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Philanthropy in Germany


Magazine article


1. The number of foundations in Germany has doubled since 1990. According to the German Association of Foundations ((www.stiftungen.org) there were 19,551 registered foundations in Germany in December 2012, up from 10,000 in 1990.
2. German foundations have approximately €70 billion (£60 billion) under management and made grants worth around €17 billion (£14.7 billion) in 2012. (As well as foundations, Germany has a large number of charitable trust funds, Treuhandstiftung, many of which will later become foundations.)
3. The largest foundation in Germany, with an endowment of more than €5 billion (£4.3 billion), is the Robert Bosch Foundation (www.bosch-stiftung.de ).
4. Germany’s largest grantmaker is the Volkswagen Foundation (www.volkswagenstiftung.de ), which made grants of €119 million (£103 million) in 2012.
5. Germany has a long tradition of philanthropy. The Fugger Foundation, for example, was founded in 1521 to finance the oldest social housing project in the world, the Fuggerei in the city of Augsburg (www.fugger.de), that still exists today.
6. The legal framework for foundations in Germany is improving, including new tax reliefs for charitable foundations introduced in 2006/07.
7. The city state of Hamburg is the number one location for foundations, by number of foundations, out of the 16 states that make up the Germany Federal Republic.
8. Social investment is taking off in Germany. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs launched a new programme of support for social enterprises in October 2012.
9. Germany leads in cross-border giving. The judgements made in the European Court of Justice in the Stauffer and Persche cases (2006 and 2009 respectively) revolutionised cross-border giving for Germany, but other EU countries have been slow to catch up.
10. Tithing through church taxes remains important which often leads to Germany receiving a low ranking in global giving comparisons.