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Stifterverband is a joint initiative started by companies and foundations – the only one in Germany to be devoted entirely to consulting, networking and promoting improvements in the fields of education, science and innovation.

Promoting education, science and innovation

Since 1920, Stifterverband has embodied the joint responsibility of German companies for a society that is viable for the future while also being conducive with a high quality of life. Some 3,000 members – DAX companies, mid-size companies, company associations, donors and active private individuals – have joined forces in Stifterverband. These form the core of a network of business, science, politics and civil society – the only one of its kind in Germany.

Stifterverband focuses its efforts primarily on the fields of education, science and innovation. To date, it is the only organisation in Germany to engage in holistic work in all three areas, with projects that build on one another with synergistic effect. Stifterverband actively promotes equal opportunities in education, excellent universities and internationally competitive research institutions. Its instruments range from extracurricular talent promotion and higher education structural programmes to detailed analyses of the scientific and innovation system that serves as a basis for recommended policy courses of action.

On the educational front, Stifterverband’s work centres on children and young people, on schoolchildren and university students. The aim is to give young people the best possible opportunity to gain a good education – across the entire educational spectrum. The spectrum of activities includes supporting talented young individuals, organising summer academies and competitions for school-aged children, setting up a special foundation for promoting civil society activities in the field of education and developing large-scale structural programmes for improving university teaching.

On the science front, Stifterverband provides impetus as a strategic partner to research institutions and higher education institutes in Germany. Stifterverband works to increase the quality of academic education and campaigns for autonomous education institutes in a competitively oriented system. It also promotes cooperation and interaction between business, science and civil society. As a think tank and agenda setter, it provides views that help to guide political decision-making processes and that aim to improve underlying conditions for science.

On the innovation front, Stifterverband examines and assesses the conditions underlying the German innovation system. It is a key partner for business, science and politics when it comes to the future viability of companies and society as a whole. In this area, Stifterverband’s work mainly involves analyses, consulting and evaluation. In doing so, it uses a combination of its own empirical research and its network contacts in business and academia to stimulate political, social and economic debates on innovation-centred questions.

Above and beyond these three areas of activity, Stifterverband is one of the most important promoters of the foundation sector in Germany. It is instrumental in creating a strong and active civil society and helps people who want to work for the common good. For over 50 years, it has been a strong partner for donors who wish to focus on the core activities of their foundations and to leave administration and other formalities in the hands of a trusted partner. Today, through its subsidiary DSZ, Stifterverband manages over 610 foundations with total assets of €2.6 billion, of which €120 million is channelled into charity work every year. The foundations’ activities supplement Stifterverband’s work, taking it to a new level.