Using funds that originally stemmed from private assets, we devote ourselves solely to activities that serve the interests of society and contribute on an altruistic basis to the common good. To do this in the most effective and efficient manner possible, we select societal issues that we are able to address with our resources and our expertise.
For us to be able to change things, we need a “theory of change”. This involves deriving individual areas of activity from a theme and its objective, defining the objective of the action in a particular area of activity, and then identifying appropriate approaches to meet this objective. Our “theory of change” also takes the respective contexts into account as an area of impact. The impact and success of our action can be described and evaluated along these lines. Naturally, a foundation’s impact can only be assessed to a limited extent given the complexity of the interrelationships in social and political processes. Nonetheless, we use qualitative and quantitative methods to measure the impact of our action as best we can.
We are also aware that things can change, at times quickly, within our themes. This is why we need constantly to adjust and recalibrate our areas of activity within the themes and our respective approaches. In doing so, we strive to achieve a balance between a willingness to change and reliability. We do not shy away from the criticism of the expert and general public, and ensure the visibility and transparency of our work. We review the impact of our work not only to make ourselves accountable, but rather to engage in a continuous discussion of what we do and how we do it so that we can learn from our mistakes and evolve. This requires not only data-based processes and analyses, but also places of learning within the foundation.
To this end, we will set up “communities of practice” – groups of people who work on similar activities and wish to learn from one another. In this context we are keen to involve key project partners, alongside the foundation’s own staff, as well as our partner organizations and alumni. They will discuss our methods and approaches across all our themes.
Individual communities of practice can be expanded – or indeed disbanded if they turn out not to be conducive to our learning process.