Foundations

Current research projects

About the project: Philanthropy, endowments, giving and collecting play a central role in social cohesion, in orientation to the common good and the preservation of cultural heritage. The common good and cultural heritage must not be equated with social integration, but should also be viewed in terms of tension and conflict, and not only in the Western European context of our time.

Through interdisciplinary cooperation of the three humanities faculties at Heidelberg University - the Faculties of Modern Languages and Literature, Philosophy and Theology - together with the Faculties of Law, of Behavioural and Cultural Studies, and of Economics and Social Sciences, the project aims to develop the foundations for a diachronically and cross-culturally sustainable theory of philanthropy by combining social science modelling with perspectives from outside Western Europe from the fields of antiquity, regional studies, and religious studies.

Completed research projects

About the project: Learning from Partners is designed as a trend study. The study was conducted at CSI in 2012, 2015, and 2018. The project is dedicated to the systematic evaluation of the collaborative relationship between foundations and their partners. The aim is to collect systematic and comprehensive feedback from applicants, grant recipients and cooperation partners of foundations. This should provide information about the respective working methods, the organizational set-up, the foundation's internal processes and the implementation of the foundation's strategy. In addition, the project contributes to the optimization and professionalization of foundation activities at the organizational level. But also the possibility to initiate sustainable & goal-oriented changes in the foundation sector. The results of the research project also provide information about the activities of foundations, their impact on society and in the respective subject areas.

About the project: The research project was carried out in two empirical sub-studies. The first sub-study was quantitative and asked the partners of the Freudenberg Foundation about their cooperation with the Foundation, their satisfaction, their perception of the Foundation, the impact attributed to the Foundation's activities and future impulses. The second part of the study was qualitative and comprised a series of interviews with more than 50 people who are active in fields in which the Freudenberg Foundation is also active but who are not direct project or cooperation partners of the Foundation. The aim was to identify suitable impulses for the Foundation's strategic orientation in democratically challenging times.

Contact: Dr. Volker Then

About the project: In the largest research project to date on the German foundation system, an assessment of the roles, positioning and contributions of German foundations was made for the first time on the basis of an extensive database. The volume first introduces the current state of foundation and philanthropy research and the approach of Helmut K. Anheier's research group. This is followed by a comprehensive empirical picture of the German foundation system, focusing on the areas of education and training, science and research, social welfare, and art and culture. As a result, a new, multifaceted map of the German foundation system emerges, encompassing civic engagement, professionalized philanthropy, welfare state services, and nonprofit niche offerings, each of which implies different recommendations for action.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Helmut K. Anheier