The idea of Bewegungsstiftung, or movement foundation, was developed by people who had themselves been involved in social movements for many years. Time and again they saw how the success of a political campaign depends very much on the level of funds available. As members of the »generation of heirs«, they were therefore keen to use part of their wealth to promote social movements and play an active part in engineering social change. On 2 March 2002, Bewegungsstiftung was established by nine founders in Berlin. They have been joined by more than 70 more endowment donors over the years.
Social movements are powerful engines of social change. We owe them for the far-reaching abolition of slavery and the rise of democracy, they are also behind many of the advances in environmental protection, the stabilization of civil rights and the equality – at least on paper – of the sexes. But many movements also fail. Bewegungsstiftung provides financial contributions and advice to help them fulfil their potential, for the only way to successfully plan, organize and implement protests and campaigns is with a sound financial base and organizational expertise.
When someone wants to find out more about a foundation, the first question they will ask is what projects it supports. Few want to know how the distributable income was generated. But everything a foundation does should serve its own causes. That is why the way a foundation manages its assets is just as important as its funding work. Bewegungsstiftung invests all its assets according to ethical criteria and sustainability considerations.
More and more people have much more money than they need. Many make donations to good causes, and in so doing try to compensate for the state turning its back on its social responsibility. Bewegungsstiftung takes a different strategy: it seeks to tackle the causes of social and political problems, rather than just remedying the symptoms. It goes one step beyond the idea of helping people to help themselves. After all, that approach is bound to fail if the economic, legal or political foundations of a society are fundamentally unjust. That is where we come in.
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