American-Style Donations

Universities Discover Fundraising

Studiernde im Masterstudiengang 'Energieeffiezientes Planen und Bauen' bei Arbeiten am Architekturmodell zum Solar Decathlon 2015 im Technischen Zentrum der Technischen Universitaet Muenchen ; Foto: © Astrid Eckert / TU Muenchen; Verwendung frei fuer die Berichterstattung ueber die TU Muenchen unter Nennung des Copyrights
Architecture students at the Technical University of Munich, where fundraising has become an important part of the administration's work.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German universities complain they don’t have enough funding to attract the best and brightest teaching staff.

  • Facts


    • More Germany universities are focusing on fundraising, asking wealthy alumni and other donors for charitable gifts.
    • This clashes with the common perception that there’s no American-style donor culture in German higher education.
    • The Technical University in Munich, the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the RWTH Aachen technical university are among the most successful fundraisers.
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Two weeks ago, the University of Mannheim announced that Hans-Peter Wild, an entrepreneur who owns the beverage brand Capri-Sonne, had donated €1 million to celebrate his 75th birthday.

It’s not the first time that Mr. Wild, who comes from the region but lives in Switzerland, has donated money to his alma mater. A few years ago, he donated half a million euros to help the university attract outstanding scientists.

The gift highlights a common problem at German universities: Many complain that they don’t have enough funding to offer internationally-competitive teaching positions.

That’s why an increasing number of universities are asking for charitable gifts, going against the common perception there’s no American-style donor culture in German higher education.

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