Summer semester 2021

As part of the kick-off event for the lecture series, Kirsten Korte and Dr. Volker Then will introduce the topic of the lecture series. The project, in the context of which the lecture series takes place, investigates the questions of giving, endowment and collecting in a historical and cross-cultural manner. There are differences, but also continuities and constants. Dr Then will report on this from the project context and thus provide the background for the question of universal cultural and social practice. Ms. Korte's focus, on the other hand, is on the foundations of the present, their importance and diversity. It will also establish a connection to the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region, which is why it is the series' cooperation partner. Both will answer questions and discuss with the virtual audience.


Kirsten Korte has been closely connected to the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region for a long time and has been the managing director of the association Zukunft Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar e.V. since 2011. As one of the faces of the association to the outside, she stands for its goal: the promotion of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region through projects and the strengthening of the dialogue between politics, business and science. Kirsten Korte has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rhein-Neckar Metropolitan Region Foundation in Mannheim since 2011. As a practitioner, she is therefore very familiar with the foundation system of today.

Dr. Volker Then is Executive Director of the Center for Social Investment and Innovation (CSI) at Heidelberg University. As founding director of the CSI since 2006, he combines an interest in socially relevant research with a commitment to effective practice. Previously, he represented this interest on the other side in twelve years of foundation practice in the Bertelsmann Foundation in various managerial positions. His consistent thematic interests include civil society and intermediary institutions, social capital, but also effective foundation work, strategy development of organizations and social impact measurement.

For the second lecture series session, we are pleased to welcome Prof. Anne-Claire Pache, Professor at the ESSEC Business School in Paris. Prof. Pache will talk to us about philanthropy in France in the 21st century. In France, since the French Revolution of 1789 skepticism towards institutions of the dead hand predominated to say the least. At the beginning of the 21st century though, reform steps changed that picture. What has contributed to this re-appraisal and to the last approximately 15 years of dynamic philanthropic development in France? And what kind of dynamics have been sparked off by this historic change?


Anne-Claire Pache is Professor in Social Innovation and holds the Chair of Philanthropy at ESSEC Business School in Paris, France. She teaches and researches at the intersection of organizational theory and social innovation. She focuses on pluralistic environments, hybrid organizations, and scale-up processes in organizations. Within academia, she has conducted qualitative studies in social enterprise, corporate philanthropy, and private foundations. Before entering academia, she co-founded Unis-Cité. The French non-profit organization, where she still holds board positions today, pioneered non-profit youth services.

Cultural philanthropy represents a very interesting field of inquiry as it involves apparently contrasting human behaviors (collecting/giving) and many hybrid forms of organizations such as public museum foundations or public corporate collections. The lecture explores some emerging questions regarding the world of cultural philanthropy: when and why collecting becomes an act of philanthropy? How cultural philanthropy is organized in Western societies? What should be the role of governments in cultural philanthropy? Is cultural turbo-philanthropy threatening free expression and creativity in the arts field? To explore these questions the lecture will present recent research and case studies from Europe and the US.



Alex Turrini is Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy. He is the author of numerous books and articles on cultural policies and arts management. His works have been published in a variety of academic journals. He serves as a reviewer for national and international journals and he is the Associate Editor in Management for the International Journal of Arts Management. Alex Turrini earned both his degree and his Ph.D. in Management from Università Bocconi. From 2018 to 2020 he has been Chair of the Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship Division at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (USA).

The lecture consists of three parts. The first part is dedicated to trends, norms and narratives that have developed around philanthropy in (North) America since the beginning of the 21st century. In the second part, some of the problematics of (North) American philanthropy will be discussed on the basis of a predominantly internationally active, but also internationally respected foundation that was established at the beginning of the 21st century - the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Finally, the third part will touch on and exploratively discuss the question of what short-term and/or possibly lasting effects the Covid-19 pandemic will have on the practice of philanthropy in the U.S.A.


Dr. habil. Martin Thunert has been a Senior Research Lecturer in Political Science at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies at Heidelberg University since 2007. He studied at the universities of Frankfurt/M., Tübingen, Glasgow, Queen’s and McGill (Montreal). He wrote his doctorate at the University of Augsburg on Canadian constitutional politics. In the U.S.A., Thunert worked at the U.S. Senate, spent a research stay at Harvard University and taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for four years. Thunert’s teaching and research interests are in U.S. and Canadian politics - particularly the U.S. presidency, think tanks, foundations and philanthropy, interest groups and political consulting organizations. Thunert is, among other things, regional coordinator for Canada, Chile, Mexico and the U.S. in the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Sustainable Governance Indicators project. Contact:

Tamil Nadu, in South India, is home to many Hindu temples, built in stone, whose walls are covered with inscriptions, most of which date from the ninth to thirteenth centuries. These inscriptions are in many cases records of gifts – of land, livestock, cash, precious metals – that were made to the temple to support various services, temple personnel, and additions to the temple complex. My presentation will consider the identities of the donors, and their motives and methods of patronage; the relationships established through gift-giving; and the question of how and why their gifts were recorded, engraved in stone.


Leslie Orr has been in the Department of Religions & Cultures at Concordia University Montréal since 1991. Her research interests are in the religious and social history of medieval Tamil Nadu, women in pre-colonial South Asia, devadasis, temple architecture, iconography and epigraphy, the interaction of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam, the history of South Indian sectarian movements, and colonial/missionary Indology. Currently, she is researching within the projects "South Indian Inscriptions: Media, Messages, and Mobilizations" and, with Archana Venkatesan, Anna Seastrand, and CrispinBranfoot, "The Navatirupatis and Vaishnava temple-networks in South India." She is also the author and co-editor of several books in these fields.

Interdisciplinary final discussion. Unfortunately cancelled.



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