Bertelsmann Foundation

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Group.png Bertelsmann Foundation  
(Neoliberal lobby groupWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Logo Bertelsmann-Stiftung.svg
MottoInspiring People. Shaping the Future.
FounderReinhard Mohn
HeadquartersGütersloh, Germany
Member ofCentre for European Policy Studies/Corporate Members, Friends of Europe
Sponsor ofAtlantic Council
Sponsored byOpen Society Foundations
Membership• Werner J. Bauer
• Liz Mohn
• Wolf Bauer
• Philipp Rösler
• Thomas Buberl
• Ralph Heck
• Wolfgang A. Herrmann
• Christoph Mohn
• Carolina Müller-Möhl
• Viviane Reding
• Jürgen Stark
• Tim Arnold
• Franziska Brantner
• Elmar Brok
• Caio Koch-Weser
• Thomas Fischer
• Peter Frey
• Klaus-Peter Siegloch
• Dieter Stolte
• Kurt Biedenkopf

The Bertelsmann Foundation (German: Bertelsmann Stiftung) is one of the most influential neoliberal think tanks in Germany. It propagates the privatization of public policies and promotes competition at all levels of society.


The Foundation was in 1977 founded by Reinhard Mohn, the patriarch of the huge media corporation Bertelsmann Group (which includes such brands as Penguin Random House). In 1993 he transferred the majority of the share capital of the Bertelsmann Group to the foundation. As a result, Mohn saved his wife Liz Mohn and his children Christoph and Brigitte about two billion euros in inheritance tax. Another advantage of this structure is that the group cannot be sold to third parties, but - thanks to the Bertelsmann Foundation and other legal structures - remains in the hands of the Mohn family.

With the help of the foundation, Reinhard Mohn's ideas are spread to German society. The Bertelsmann Foundation advocates more competition and more efficiency within the state sector, such as higher education or the health sector. At the same time, the foundation is committed to more private civic engagement. Among other things, through studies and foundation-related organizations, it influences the public discourse.


The foundation regularly has a impact on public debates through various projects. This is achieved, for example, through the numerous studies that are published by the foundation or institutes commissioned by it and that are given broad media coverage.

The foundation also contacts political decision-makers directly, for example at seminars such as the International Bertelsmann Forum or the annual Bertelsmann Party. A paper by the foundation states: "it [the Bertelsmann Foundation] should also develop its ability to advise political decision-makers directly"[1]

It finances several think tanks, like Centrum für angewandte Politikforschung(CAP);Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (CHE) to influence the school system;Centrum für Krankenhausmanagement (CKM) to influence hospital and health policies;and Bertelsmann Wissenschaftsstiftung for economic and social research.

Member List

The member list (see top of page) includes present and former board members and associaties.[2]


Event Sponsored

Open Society FoundationsA NGO operating in more countries than McDonald's. It has the tendency to support politicians (at times through astroturfing) and activists that get branded as "extreme left" as its founder is billionaire and bane of the pound George Soros. This polarizing perspective causes the abnormal influence of the OSF to go somewhat unanswered.
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  1. Bertelsmann Stiftung): Reformbilanz: 25 Jahre Bertelsmann Stiftung. Gütersloh März 2002, Page 26.