“Sicher nach vorn" (Advance with Confidence)

Great symposium on the perspectives for successors and foundations

On 7 March 2019, the Association of Sponsors for the Promotion of Science in Germany, the Possehl Foundation, and the Universität zu Lübeck organised the symposium “Sicher nach vorn” (Advance with Confidence). It was held at our university’s CBBM (Centre for Brain, Behaviour and Metabolism) with 150 attendees from science, business, associations and foundations/societies to highlight perspectives for successors and foundations. As the host, our President, Prof. Dr Gabrielle Gillessen-Kaesbach gave a keynote speech, which was followed by a video message from the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther.

Foundations in Germany are alive and thriving and the society also continues to grow in our state. Ever increasing numbers of private individuals and companies are happy to pitch in. Questions like “What will happen to my life’s work when I’m no longer involved” were raised by participants, who then debated diverse approaches on sustainable rules of succession.

Three rounds of discussions with experts focussed on “Company successors – when and how a foundation can help,” “A foundation – so what? Two practical approaches” and “A foundation trust under the roof of a non-profit.” Felix Oldenburg, General Secretary of the Association of German Foundations presented an inspiring paper, “Rules of succession. Ideas for Foundations in Germany.”

The following participants elucidated their positions in a panel discussion: Dr Joachim Brenk (Chair of L. Possehl & Co. mbH), Ina and Michael Haukohl (Michael-Haukohl Foundation), Dr Sven Murmann (Publisher and Managing Director of Murmann Publishers and Deputy Chair of the Society of German Businesses), Felix Oldenburg (General Secretary of the Association of German Foundations) and Prof. Dr Andreas Schlüter (General Secretary of the Association of Sponsors for the Promotion of Science in Germany). The Journalist Andreas Bormann served as the moderator.

Max Schön, Chairman of the Board of the Possehl Foundation, gave the closing remarks: "Who cares – Or Is a Foundation Better?"

Prof. Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach, President, talking here to the moderator, Andreas Bormann, gave the welcoming address at the function (Pictures: Elena Vogt / Universität zu Lübeck). Ina and Michael Haukohl, the ‘Foundation Couple,’ at the Panel Discussion, Dr Joachim Brenk, Dr Sven Murmann, Felix Oldenburg and Prof. Andreas Schlüter present options for foundations (l-r), keen attendees in the CBBM Foyer.