• Maecenata Foundation
  • Maecenata Institute

In 1989, Maecenata Management company was first established as a specialized consultancy to and about the not-for-profit sector. In the course of 22 years, Maecenata grew to become a group comprising for-profit and not-for-profit elements. In 2010, the not-for-profit parts, namely the Maecenata Institute, an academic institution, and Maecenata International, a charity that specializes in transnational giving, were reorganized under the umbrella of the newly-formed Maecenata Foundation (Maecenata Stiftung). In 2011, Maecenata Management company acquired new owners, which terminated most of the ties to the other components of the former group. Maecenata is now an entirely not-for-profit institution, registered as a charity under German law.


Maecenata Foundation

The Maecenata Foundation was established in 2010 as an umbrella for Maecenata’s not-for-profit activities. The Maecenata Institute (MI), Transnational Giving (TG) and Europa Bottom-Up (EBU) are the foundation's main programmes.
>> Information Flyer (PDF)


Maecenata Institute

The Maecenata Institute is an independent academic centre, founded in 1997, affiliated since 2004  2013 to Humboldt University, Berlin. Besides research and teaching its tasks are policy consulting and public information. To date, approximately 60 research projects have been carried out and about 300 papers have been published. Permanent projects of the institute include a database of German foundations as well as a research college for young academics. The mission of the institute is to strengthen civil society through basic research and academic discourse.
>> Information Flyer (PDF)


Transnational Giving

Transnational Givng, formerly known as Maecenata International, was founded in 2002 as non-profit association and partner of the network Transnational Giving Europe (TGE) with the purpose of facilitating the international donation transfer in Europe and beyond. 2010 the project was integrated into the Maecenata Foundation.

The network and its partners enable making donations to foreign countries with tax deduction in the home country. Corporations, major private donors, supranational organizations, universities, and development associations make use of this possibility. The aim of the program is to adapt donations to the international environment. The procedure has been cleared with the German fiscal authorities. 

Download our short newsletter >> TG-News 2/2016


Maecenata Verlag

The publisher of the Maecenata Group was founded in 1994. It is an specialist publisher for the non-profit sector. Philanthropy and civil society are the thematic priorities. Publications of the Maecenata Verlag are listed >> here.

A list of recent publications in English ist available >> here (PDF).




The Maecenata Foundation was established in 2010 as an umbrella for Maecenata’s not-for-profit activities.

Since 2013 the foundation is a member of the European Foundation Centre (EFC).


The main programmes of the foundation are:

1. Maecenata Institute (MI)

2. Transnational Giving (TG)
3. Europa Bottom-Up (EBU)

4. Tocqueville Forum



Foundation Council (Stiftungsrat)

- Christian Petry (Chairman)

- Stefanie Wahl

- Victoria Weber

Board of Directors (Vorstand)

- Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz

- Dr. Felix Weber



Maecenata Foundation
Adalbertstrasse 108

D-80798 München


Berlin Office:

Rungestrasse 17

D-10179 Berlin


Phone: +49 89 2154 6507
Fax: +49 30 2838 79 10
E-Mail: mst (at)



While civil society and the diversity of its organisations are becoming increasingly important for the development of society world wide, the sector in Germany still suffers from a lack of theoretical groundwork and public awareness. Therefore, the mission of the Maecenata Institute is to promote knowledge and understanding of civil society and private philanthropy through academic research, documentation and information, and exchanges between academics, public leaders and professionals in the field.

The Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society, Berlin, is one of about 5 academic research centres that focus specifically on philanthropy and civil society. Others include

  • the Institute for Foundation and Nonprofit Law at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg (Director: Professor Dr. Birgit Weitemeyer);
  • the Ernst Abbe Institute for Foundation Research at Jena University (Director: Professor Dr. Olaf Werner);
  • the Nonprofit Management Centre at Muenster University (Director: Professor Dr. Annette Zimmer);
  • the Centre for Social Innovation at Heidelberg University (Director: Professor Dr. Helmut Anheier).

While the centres directed by Birgit Weitemeyer and Olaf Werner focus on foundation and non-profit law, the other centres are concerned with the social science aspects of philanthropy and civil society research, with different backgrounds and outlooks. The MI probably has the most clearly historical and theoretical approach, while at the same time bridging to the practical issues in the field.

Besides these centres, a number of experienced individual researchers concentrate on philanthropy and civil society matters (notably Professor Dr. Adalbert Evers, Giessen, Professor Dr. Thomas Klie, Freiburg, Professor Dr. Thomas Olk, Halle, and others).

In addition, the Berlin Centre for Social Sciences (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung) has ongoing research activities in philanthropy and civil society research (notably Dr. Eckhard Priller and Dr. Dieter Gosewinkel).

The Maecenata Institute (MI) was founded in 1997 in order to provide a new form and devise a new agenda for research activities already undertaken by Maecenata Management, a professional consultancy specializing in the not-for-profit sector. One task was to take over the database of German foundations developed there since 1989. It took the legal form of a not-for-profit limited company, owned by 2 charitable foundations. Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz became its first director. Since 2010 the MI is one of the two main programs of the new Maecenata Foundation. The foundation was established in 2010 as an umbrella for Maecenata's not-for-profit activities.

Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz, a political scientist and historian by training, with ample personal experience in the governance of not-for-profit organisations in Germany and abroad, was the founder of Maecenata Management, of which he is still the managing director. In his professional career and through his many volunteer activities, he has committed himself to the concept of a strong civil society as a third arena of societal activity beside the market and the state. This concept was totally new in the German environment of political theory and practice in the 1990s and is even now only gradually being seen as a serious conceptual alternative to the theory of a strong and overruling state. Strachwitz was brought into the civil society research community through the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, to which he has contributed in various ways since 1990, and of which he chaired the German Advisory Council from 1995 to 2001. The MI defines its mission as providing the necessary research and policy advice to enable this paradigm shift to happen.



The MI focuses its activities entirely on

  • philanthropy,
  • civil society,
  • the third sector,
  • civic engagement, and
  • related subjects.

It organizes its activities in projects that are either self-developed and executed or brought to the MI by other research institutions, public bodies, civil society organisations and others.


Major areas of attention include

  • the relationship between civil society and other areas of citizen interaction;
  • the relationship between civil society and government action;
  • the relationship between the foundation community and civil society at large;
  • the legal and fiscal framework for civil society organisations in general and foundations in particular;
  • the interchange between theory and practice. The MI remains in close touch with Maecenata Management, where day-to-day practical issues are discussed and managed (Maecenata Management has over 50 small foundations under full management on a long-term basis.), as well as with Maecenata International, the German member of the Transnational Giving Europe network;
  • the outreach from Germany to the wider European and international research agenda (the MI has always been internationally active and is keen to participate in international research projects.)


The MI pursues its aims through

  • research,
  • teaching,
  • policy Advice, and
  • public information.

Since 1997, the MI has accomplished more than 60 research projects, large and small, and has been responsible for approx. 300 publications.


Research projects

(completed and in progress) include (i.a.):

  • contributions related to foundation data for the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, directed by Lester Salamon and Helmut Anheier;
  • the German report for the international project ‘Roles and Visions of Foundations in Europe’, directed by Helmut Anheier;
  • the German report for the international project ‘Civicus Civil Society Index’, directed by Kumi Naidoo;
  • the German report for the 4 country report on family foundations, directed by Cathy Pharoah;
  • the preliminary report on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark for the international project ‘Philanthropization through Privatization’, directed by Lester Salamon;
  • contributions on Germany to the European project ‘Focus on Civil Society’, directed by Annette Zimmer;
  • a contribution to the project ‘Fondations philanthropiques en Europe et aux Etats-Unis’, directed by Mattei Dogan, Kenneth Prewitt, and Stefan Toepler);
  • the German report for the project ‘Associations and Foundations in Europe and China’, directed by Yuwen Li;
  • an analysis of philanthropy in favour of arts and culture, commissioned by the Federal German Parliament;
  • contributions to 2 working packages of the European CINEFOGO project, directed by Annette Zimmer and Adalbert Evers, and by Nicholas Deakin and Jeremy Kendall respectively;
  • the German report for the international project ‘Policy towards the Third Sector’, directed by Benjamin Gidron;
  • 5 projects on statistical evaluation of German foundation data, directed by staff members;
  • 3 projects on the implications of interreligious dialogue and civil society, directed by staff members;
  • 2 projects on civil society and churches, in cooperation with other institutions, directed by staff members;
  • 4 projects on community foundations, including comparative approaches to community philanthropy in Italy and Russia;
  • a number of research projects to do with foundations in Germany, directed by staff members;
  • a project on urban planning and civil society, in cooperation with an urban planning chair at Berlin’s technical university, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Works and Urban Planning, directed by staff members;
  • a contribution to the first ever report on civic engagement in Germany, commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Family, Women, and Youth, directed by the Berlin Centre for Social Sciences (Eckhard Priller).

All results of the MI’s research are made available to the public. Publications include books, working papers (printed and electronic), contributions to books, journals, and general media, published in German, English, Chinese, Italian, French, and Polish.

Recently, the MI has reactivated a ‘Berlin Circle for Civil Society Research’. Membership is open to senior researchers interested and active in this field and residing or permanently working in Berlin (presently approx. 10 members).

The MI enjoys and encourages cooperation with other academic and other institutions world-wide on research projects, as well as on conferences and publications.


Teaching a major aspect of the MI’s agenda:

  • MI staff contribute to the general teaching programme of the Institute for Social Sciences at Humboldt University, Berlin.
  • MI staff run a course on foundation management within the nonprofit management graduate programme at Muenster University.
  • A special research college assembles senior students (predominantly pre-doc) from any German speaking university and any faculty, who are engaged in projects to do with philanthropy and civil society for regular seminars (4 p.a.) and individual coaching. To date, approx. 90 students have been or still are members of this college.
  • MI staff have delivered courses, lectures and papers at numerous universities worldwide, including New York University, The Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Bologna University, the ENA, Paris, Bale University, Salzburg University, the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, Beijing University, and many German academic and other training centres.
  • Specialized courses on philanthropy and civil society have been staged (i.a.) for Italian arts managers (yearly), Croatian government officials and parliamentarians (2, funded by USAID), Japanese foundation executives (1), and German landscape planners (1).


Policy Advice given irrespective of party political affiliation. Projects past and present include (i.a.):

  • From 1998 to 2004, the MI cooperated with the Bertelsmann Foundation in directing a joint committee of experts and publishing recommendations for reforms of foundation and non-profit law. 21 smaller and 6 larger conferences were staged in this context alone.
  • From 1999 to 2002, the director was a full member of the German parliamentary commission on the future of civic engagement.
  • Staff members were called upon to present papers at hearings and conferences by invitation of the Chancery of the President of the Republic, the Federal Parliament, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finances, and other government agencies.
  • Staff members were called upon to present papers by invitation of parliaments and government agencies of the states of Berlin, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Rhineland-Palatinate.
  • Staff members have presented papers by invitation of the European Commission and the Economic and Social Council of the European Union.
  • The director is a permanent advisory member of the working group of directors of umbrella organisations of civil society bodies in Germany.
  • Members of the federal as well as of state parliaments, government officials and other public decision makers visit the MI regularly for background information, the exchange of views, and updates on current developments.
  • The MI publishes analyses and assessments of policy initiatives on a regular basis;


Public information deemed a highly important aspect of philanthropy and civil society research. The MI attempts to further this cause by:

  • the ongoing development and improvement of its database of German foundations including the publication of directories and statistics, the acceptance of specified research commissions, the continuous updating of information and ensuring its free availability on the internet (by way of this database, the MI has been a networking centre of the European Foundation Centre since 1997, succeeding Maecenata Management);
  • the publication of numerous reports and working papers, many of which are available free of charge on the internet; (>> list of recently published english publications)
  • the publication of a decisive handbook on foundations (Stiftungen in Theorie, Praxis und Recht, 2005);
  • the development of a specialized library, open to the public. (Unfortunately, this library, the largest specialized library for this subject matter in Germany, could no longer be kept up for financial reasons, and was handed over to the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in 2007 on condition that it should remain open to the public and fully accessible to MI staff.)
  • the publication of a journal (Maecenata Actuell 1998-2006, Maecenata Notizen 2007 - );
  • numerous dialogues with individuals and delegations, including (i.a.) visitors from all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Croatia, Poland, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, China, the United States, and Ethiopia;
  • press bulletins explaining the MI’s position on issues of general interest, published whenever necessary;
  • an active web site, currently visited by approx. 65,000 users per month.

The MI currently employs 2 junior scholars. The director devotes approx. 50% of his time to the MI as a volunteer. All administrative matters are outsourced to Maecenata Management. The work of the MI is aided significantly by approx. 7 fellows (all former full-time researchers), research partners, and a scientific council.

Funding is a problem. The MI has never received any core funding from public sources. From 1997 to 2005, comparatively generous funding was provided by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Stiftung Mercator, the Karl-Konrad-und-Ria-Groeben-Stiftung, the Bertelsmann Foundation and others. Since 2006, the level of funding has decreased dramatically. Project funding has been obtained from public and private sources. The MI is subsidized by Maecenata Management.



The Institute was founded as Maecenata Institute for Third Sector Studies in late 1997 by Rupert Count Strachwitz. The idea was to start the first independent academic institution for research, information and policy studies concerning the Not-for-profit-sector in Germany. The concept was developed by Maecenata Management GmbH, Munich, and approved by the Institute's Scientific Council: Focussing on Third Sector-issues, international comparison and foundations, the Institute offers documentation & information, studies & expertise and policy studies.

The Maecenata Institute could open its offices in Berlin with its own staff in September 1998. The library, the data base on German foundations and additional information sources had been bought from Maecenata Management with a grant from the founding partner. In 1999, Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH approved for a grant for the library's extension.

The Institute was organized as a charitable limited company till 2010. It was recognized as a tax exempt charity for pursuing purposes of research by the German tax authorities. It operates in Berlin, Germany. It was renamed the Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society in 2003. Since 2010 the MI is one of the two main programs of the Maecenata Foundation.

The Institute receives project funding from various partners.



Maecenata Institute
Rungestrasse 17
D-10179 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 2838 7909
Fax: +49 30 2838 7910
E-Mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!




Firstly, a warm welcome at TRANSNATIONAL GIVING (TG)!tge logo

TG formerly known as Maecenata International (MINT)  was founded in 2002 as non-profit association and partner of the network Transnational Giving Europe (TGE) with the purpose of faciliating the international donation transfer in Europe and beyond. Making cross-border giving easier and more transparent is the aim of TGE. Specifically, we forward earmarked foreign donations to German tax-advantaged organisations, and convey donations from Germany to the desired foreign destination. Since 2010 the project is integrated into the Maecenata Foundation.

Get more information about Transnational Giving Europe 



The network Transnational Giving Europe was brought into being in 1997 with sponsorship from the European Foundation Centre. The network has the job of making donation transfer abroad easier, by working with our partners. Working together is neccessary, in order to assure oneself through our partners that the foreign beneficiary is non-profit and that the project is of a sufficiently high quality.

Because no extant German foundation could complete the required tasks, the call for a German partner grew stronger and in 2002 Maecenata International was founded, which has acted as the German partner in the network ever since.



Making Donations Abroad

With the help of TRANSNATIONAL GIVING, German donors can make tax efficient donations to foreign Organisations. TRANSNATIONAL GIVING looks after the entire handling of donations.

  • TG checks the foreign beneficiary,
  • TG receives the donation,
  • TG issues the giver with a donation receipt,
  • TG  forwards the donation to the foreign recipient,
  • TG oversees the use of the gift.

The organisation is registered with the German finance authorities and operates with few exceptions in all countries of the world.


Donation Transfer from Abroad
  • TG can also help with clearing donations destined for German organisations from abroad
  • TG checks the requirements in the donor’s country,
  • TG helps with the search for a partner organisation abroad, in order to make the transfer as tax effective as possible for the giver,
  • TG helps create all the neccessary documents.


TRANSNATIONAL GIVING supports the following projects (selection):


APOPO, Belgien

Barenboim-Said Foundation, Spanien

College of Europe, Belgien

Downing College, Großbritannien

Europa Nostra, Niederlande

Fonds Memorial Concorde, Frankreich

International Organisation for Migration, Schweiz

London School of Economics, Großbritannien

Millennium Promise, USA

Riders for Health, Großbritannien

Room to Read, Großbritannien

The Keyboard Charitable Trust, Großbritannien

World Food Programme, Italien

Child's Dream Foundation, Schweiz

You can give for our projects to the following accounts :

Account holder: Maecenata Stiftung
Account nr.. 13 38 53 500
Bank code: 200 303 00
Bank: Donner und Reuschel

IBAN: DE47 2003 0300 0133 8535 00 

Please write the project /recipient you want to support and your address in the reference so that we can send you a tax receipt valid for Germany.



Maecenata Foundation
Christian Schreier

Rungestrasse 17

D-10179 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 28 38 79 09
Fax: +49 30 28 38 79 10
E-Mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!


Donate Online

To donate and support our projects you can also use our online form 




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