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Education for the disadvantaged: AEB`s foundation launches initial partnerships with charitable organizations

01-Aug-2018
Education for the disadvantaged: AEB`s foundation launches initial partnerships with charitable organizations
Helping others to help themselves: This was the objective when Stuttgart-based software company AEB launched its own corporate foundation last year. The focus is on projects that promote education for the disadvantaged. “We as a company have enjoyed 37 years of success, so we feel a responsibility to help others. We intend to put this responsibility into practice by helping young people take control of their own future and become the architects of their own destiny,” explains Peter Michael Belz, founder of AEB GmbH and Chair of the foundation.

Education opens minds to the world
The focus of the foundation’s work is on education. The men and women behind it feel strongly that education is more than just the key to success: Access to educational opportunities also promotes the development of tolerant, cosmopolitan worldviews. This helps people peacefully coexist in a spirit of mutual respect and responsibility.

In this way, AEB`s foundation reflects the corporate culture of AEB. “Our work atmosphere here is characterized by a warm, open sense of community, by trust and a willingness to help others, and by sincerity and authenticity. This extends to our personal interactions. And that’s the experience we want to share with our partners and customers as well,” Belz adds.

Active participation of employees in foundation

Another stated goal of the AEB Foundation is to promote social engagement by the company’s employees. “We have involved our employees in the work of the foundation from the very beginning,” explains Matthias Kiess, Managing Director of AEB GmbH. Many AEB employees have been active in the foundation’s working groups, which have driven its organizational and operational activities since the official launch on September 11, 2017. And as the foundation looked for worthy causes to support, all AEB employees were encouraged to suggest organizations or projects that were near and dear to them or for which they had previously volunteered. “We were overjoyed at the sheer number of fantastic suggestions we received,” Kiess adds.

Foundation also plans to launch its own projects

From a total of twenty-four proposals, three initial organizations were ultimately selected: Chancenwerk, KinderHelden, and Educare. Chancenwerk promotes equal educational opportunities by having older students help younger students learn. In return, the younger students themselves commit to also help younger students. KinderHelden provides children and youths with comprehensive support from volunteer mentors. The program focuses on one-on-one mentoring and support for individual mentees. Educare advocates on behalf of street children in São Paulo and has launched its own school project.

Every project is individually and personally evaluated to ensure it meets the objectives and values of the foundation. This included a visit to São Paulo by Peter Michael Belz to take a closer look at the situation on the ground: “I found the trip personally very moving. I am pleased that we will support this organization in the work it does,” says Belz. Negotiations with all three organizations are underway to plan and breathe life into the emerging partnerships. The long-term plan calls for AEB`s foundation to initiate its own projects as well.

Endowment funded through shares in the company
The foundation needs a solid financial base to ensure long-term and sustainable success. When foundation was established, AEB’s shareholders decided to contribute shares in the company to fund the endowment. Peter Michael Belz (Managing Director) and Jochen Günzel (member of the Executive Board) also donated a portion of their own shares. Thanks to this generosity, the foundation’s endowment consists entirely of shares in AEB GmbH. The company also funds the foundation from the portion of the annual profits not reinvested directly back into the company.