As an active philanthropic foundation, we support organisations across Europe that are committed to social change in the areas of: flight and migration; the economy and democracy; non-profit journalism; and the transition from school to vocational studies. We are also heavily involved in our local community and region where we operate a cultural and events venue (the Werkraum Schöpflin); a centre for addiction prevention (the Villa Schöpflin); Montessori schools; and our own citizen participation projects known as »Lörrach im Wandel« (A Changing Lörrach). The majority of the annual foundation funds of approximately 10 million euros, which are available for the fulfilment of the purpose, come from the »Family Office« of Hans Schöpflin. His assets are invested there in a diversified manner.
The key focus of our activities is to help children, young people and young adults as they develop self-awareness and self-empowerment. We are convinced that by using the right ‘entry points’ we can make a major difference to the lives of people in this age group. It is precisely during childhood and the teenage years that people are most creative, open-minded and receptive to ideas. At the same time, they often critically analyse their environment and don’t simply take things for granted. It is during these years that life’s key foundation stones are laid: people develop their talents and set their moral compass. Here the right mentor, a good school project, a gentle nudge and a sympathetic ear at the right moment can have a major impact on someone’s life.
We are an entrepreneurial foundation, defined by our strong, pan-European socio-political work. We support projects and young organisations that offer innovative solutions and approaches to major societal challenges. How can refugees be empowered to be actively involved in creating their own social and vocational integration? How do we ensure the long-term survival of the freedom of the press? How violently are demagogues and right-wing extremists shaking the very foundations of our democracy? How can we ensure that citizens’ and consumers’ interests – not just those of large corporations – are taken into account when free trade deals are struck? How can we better guide young people to make the right choice, given that in today’s society they are under enormous pressure to go to university or take up an apprenticeship? And how can we help them develop important social and personal life skills? These are just some of the issues that we and our grantees are currently grappling with.