Stiftung Mercator

In Brief

Essen, Germany; systemic approach; Mercator Research Institute


(1996, Essen, Germany;

A Schmidt family foundation centered in the Ruhr, described as “a civil society actor that actively pursues and transparently communicates its socio-political objectives and interests.” Mission: “to strengthen Europe, improve integration through equal educational opportunities, drive forward the energy transition as a trigger for global climate change mitigation, and firmly anchor cultural education in schools.” Four cluster themes: 1) Strengthen Europe’s cohesion and ability to act (Europe in the world, European climate policy, the cultural and public spheres, and European political education, economy, and work]; 2) Achieve equal educational opportunities for people of migrant origin in Germany (some 20% of the German population is of migrant origin; among under-5s the proportion exceeds 35%; particular focus on the Ruhr region and North Rhine-Westphalia.]; 3) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (interim targets of a 40% reduction by 2020 and a 55% reduction by 2030 in Germany); 4) Establish cultural education as a part of general education in German (“cultural education can be successfully organized in schools and anchored as a part of general education”).

Divisional themes: 1) Science and Humanities (intensive focus on the interfaces and interaction between science, politics and civil society); 2) Education (teachers require dependable and supportive structures – from regional educational networks and state-wide initiatives to national funding programs; finding solutions to ease transitions between different stages of the education system); 3) International Affairs (analyzes social and political dynamics in Europe and between Germany, Turkey and China in order to use facts to invalidate prejudices and misperceptions, and promote mutual understanding). Approximately 20 publications (e.g., School Segregation in Germany). Another Mercator exists in Switzerland. 16 partner organizations (e.g, Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration).  In 2014, Stiftung Mercator approved some 60 million euros for a total of 122 projects. Since beginning its activities, the foundation has made c.400 million euros worth of grants available to 1,060 projects. Total assets: 114M euros plus other funds. Staff: 95; Four executive directors, including Winifried Kneip, head of the Education Division.

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