Foundations in Germany and the USA: Comparative Observations
Stefan Toepler compares the size and scope, the structure, and role and function of philanthropic foundations in Germany and the United States. The author stresses the problem of the lack of data on Germany. In fact, tax information is private, and assets are difficult to quantify. He shows that surprisingly in Germany, foundations’ funding appears to be dominant in areas covered also by the state. In comparing the structure, Toepler demonstrates that operating foundations maintain a visible role in Europe, whereas they are less prominent in the USA. Lastly, by comparing foundations’ function in society, Toepler suggests that the prominence in Germany of complementarity and innovation and in the USA of innovation and social and policy change stems from the different roles of the government in society.