In 2007 Martin and Gerda Essl and their children - an entrepreneurial family who own the Schömer/bauMax Group and who are active in real estate as well as in the construction and DIY industry in Central and Southeastern Europe - decided to donate a substantial portion of their assets to social activities. The Martin and Gerda Essl Social Prize Private Nonprofit Foundation ("Essl Foundation") was established in March 2008. The foundation is endowed with financial resources adequate enough to ensure the annual presentation of the Essl Social Prize and other social activities in the long term, even after the death of the benefactors.

Essl family acts not only to ensure the success of their business but also finds that the success entails a resposibility towards society and the envoronment. This is reflected in a diverse range of social and business activities that include a large number of individual projects such as the Essl Museum, the bauMax Energy-saving Programme and the baumaxHumanity Programme.
To support people in need and to promote public awareness about the necessity of support for those in need and to provide the individuals concerned with the appropriate training.
Geographic focus
Programme areas
The foundation works in the following areas:

• Social innovation
• Social entrepreneurship
• Zero Project
• Essl Social Prize