Donations & Charity

We Help Out – with Donations and Expertise

"In the view of our shareholders, the possession of property creates an obligation to the community. They believe that, in a market economy, a corporation derives its legitimacy from making a valuable contribution to society."

Bertelsmann Essentials

Bertelsmann sees itself as part of society and, in its role as a “good citizen,” strives to help create an environment worth living in. This also means that the Group puts its media, services and educational businesses, the know-how of its employees, and also its financial resources to use where help and support are needed outside the company.

Corporate citizenship – locally and globally

Donations and support for charitable causes are an expression of socially responsible action. They are a way for us to contribute to a sustainable development of our environment. We are particularly committed to the locations where Bertelsmann is represented with its companies. In accordance with the principle of decentralization, the divisions decide independently on their funding projects and fundraising measures, follow the Bertelsmann Executive Board guidelines on donations, sponsorships and memberships, and coordinate with the Group. Its social responsibility efforts are focused on education, culture, science, freedom of creativity and the media, and networking with relevant stakeholders.

Bertelsmann also provides fast and unbureaucratic support in the event of a disaster, by systematically using our expertise for a good cause and by providing financial resources. For example, the Arvato subsidiary “AZ fundraising services” provides comprehensive direct-marketing services to charitable organizations in the event of a disaster. Thanks to an extensive package consisting of services such as emergency mailings and emergency calls, immediate action can be taken in cases where people need help particularly quickly and urgently.

Local engagement

Bertelsmann has been foregoing Christmas presents for its business partners for several years, and instead supports seriously ill children in the Gütersloh region each year with a donation of EUR 25,000 to the Bielefeld palliative care initiative “Der Weg nach Hause” (The Way Home). Since 2006, Bertelsmann has donated more than EUR 275,000 to the initiative.

Bertelsmann also engages itself for the school libraries of secondary schools in Gütersloh, and supports the maintenance and expansion of libraries with book donations, among other things. The corporate divisions also get involved in community efforts at their locations. Gruner+Jahr, for example, makes annual donations to charitable projects in the Hamburg area as part of its Christmas Bazaar. Since 2000, some EUR 850,000 have been raised and donated in this way.

Using reach to do good

By combining fundraising with lot of media attention, our divisions support projects all over the world: In November 2017, the 22nd RTL-Spendenmarathon telethon – Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s central fundraising format – raised around EUR 9.2 million in donations. Among other things, this money will be used to build three new RTL Children's Centers (Kinderhäuser). Since 1996, Germany’s RTL-Spendenmarathon has provided more than EUR 161 million euros in sustainable aid to children in need, in Germany and around the world. The “Télévie” initiative, a cooperation between RTL Belgium and RTL Luxembourg, has also raised more than EUR 173 million euros since 1989, to benefit the Belgian “Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique” for cancer research and treatment, with a focus on leukemia.

Supporting projects with know-how

Bertelsmann and its companies support social projects not only through donations, but also through active volunteering. Various organizations benefit from our employees’ many years of experience and expertise. For example, since July 2017 Arvato CRM Solutions Italy has operated, pro bono, the Dynamo Camp hotline, a facility in Tuscany dedicated to recreational and restorative therapy for chronically ill children and teens. Arvato Financial Solutions supports the debt counselling services of the Diakonisches Werk in Nordbaden not only with funding but also with the expertise to support and advise people who have fallen into financial difficulties.