Stifterverband:
Promoting Science and Education

Gifting education, creating knowledge, enabling innovation – this has been the Stifterverband’s motto since 1920. A motto which symbolises the shared responsibility by businesses and foundations for science and education in Germany.


The Stifterverband is a business community initiative advocating long-term improvement of the German education and research landscape. In order to achieve this goal, the Stifterverband provides funding for universities and research institutes, supports talents, analyses the higher education system, and devises recommendations for policymakers and business.

The Stifterverband covers 3,000 businesses, trade associations, foundations and private individuals. Together, they form one of Germany’s biggest private academic patrons. Virtually all major German corporate groups are involved on the executive board and other committees – as are SME-owners and representatives from scientific institutions.

The Stifterverband exclusively finances its non-for-profit activities through the contributions and donations from its members and patrons. It is thanks to this fully private funding, that the Stifterverband is independent and able to act in a flexible, non-bureaucratic manner free of any government regulations. This facilitates the completion of projects which would otherwise be unlikely to find public sponsors.


fields of activity

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Interdisciplinary, co-operative, and all in one

The Stifterverband is characterised by a very unique structure. Businesses and foundations pool their expertise and resources into one joint initiative with the aim of sustainably promoting science and education – a feature which ensures money can be used in a highly effective manner. The funds go towards extensive structural programmes, as well as individual educational development measures.

As a nationwide patron for education and science, the Stifterverband is very well connected right across the country. The main headquarters have always been in Essen, while other establishments and subsidiaries are based in various other German cities, including Berlin – close to the epicentre of politics and other decision-makers.


More than the sum of its parts


The work of the Stifterverband is split into four fields of work:

  • Universities & Science
    In this field the Stifterverband acts as a think tank, source of inspiration and strategic partner of science and universities in Germany.
  • Education & Talent
    This field covers its involvement in educational and extracurricular talent promotion.
  • Business & Innovation
    Experts analyse Germany's capacity for innovation, and collect data on the higher education and research system.
  • Civil Society & Foundations
    The fourth field of work sees the Stifterverband pool together its many services for non-profit organisations.


Each field of work is assigned various institutions, initiatives and programmes, which build on one another, complement one another, and contribute towards achieving the Stifterverband’s main objective: sustainably improving education and research in germany and thereby guaranteeing prosperity for our society. This gives rise to an extensive range of services, ensuring the Stifterverband is more than just the sum of its parts.


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The Stifterverband –
A business community initiative

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