Organization and Committees

The Volkswagen Foundation owes its existence to a treaty between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Lower Saxony. The Foundation was set up in 1961 as a non-profit-making foundation established under private law. In the statutes, information can be found on the purpose of the foundation, the foundation assets, the Board of Trustees and its tasks as well as information on the allocation of funds.

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. Each of the Trustees, seven of whom are nominated by the Federal Government of Germany and seven by the Government of the State of Lower Saxony, is appointed for a term of five years and may be reappointed once. In making its decisions, the Board of Trustees is bound solely to the statutes of the Volkswagen Foundation.

Since 1996, Dr. Wilhelm Krull has been running the Volkswagen Foundation – following his studies in German, philosophy, education and politics, an appointment as a DAAD lecturer at the University of Oxford, and leading positions at the Wissenschaftsrat (German Science Council) and at the headquarters of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Max Planck Society).

At present more than 90 people work directly for the Volkswagen Foundation – in the four staff divisions of the Secretary General as well as in the Departments Funding, Investment Management and Finance and Administration. The Foundation's office is located in Hannover-Döhren.

Over and above the indispensable audit of the annual accounts by an auditing company, an Investment Advisory Committee made up of high-ranking representatives from German business and academia advises the Foundation on its investment strategy and on assessing the results achieved.  

In 2007, the Foundation's Board of Trustees adopted the 20 Principles of Good Practice which provide information on the standard practice of the Volkswagen Foundation.