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.
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.