Background

Stiftung Mercator in Essen was founded by the Schmidt family, which donated a substantial amount of its own assets to the foundation. The foundation started officiallyiin 1996, with a regional focus on the North Rhine-Westfalia region in Germany.In 2008, the foundation did a strategic review and has focused on three programmatic areas and three geographical areas. The review has has also resulted in substantial growth, an increase in budget and staff numbers. Today, it is one of the largest private foundations in Germany.


Mission

To prevent dangerous climate change, promote integration and strengthen arts, education, and to provide fair and equal opportunities so that everyone can participate in today’s society.

Geographic focus

The foundation has, apart from its homeland Germany, three regional areas of focus, placing Germany in a globalised world; Europe, Turkey and China.

Programme areas

The foundation’s motto is “inspiring ideas”, something which it achieves by combining advocacy and practical work around three areas: science and humanities, education and international affairs. Overarching these, the foundation has defined three interdisciplinary thematic clusters to further broaden its profile:


• Integration

• Climate change

• Cultural education


Integration

Aims to reduce by 2025 the inequality in Germany in terms of school and university qualifications (based on the 2005 level) by 70% for young people of migrant background, aged 15-30. As an interim target, the foundation is working to reduce these discrepancies by 30% by 2015.


Climate change

Aims to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions in Germany by 40% by 2020 and by at least 80% by 2050, measured against the 1990 levels.


Cultural education

Aims to anchor cultural education permanently within the formal educational system in North Rhine-Westphalia and three other states in Germany by 2015, and in all of the country’s federal states by 2025.