Who We Are


The Bertelsmann Foundation, established in 2008, is the North American arm of the Germany-based Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Our work reflects the principles of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of Europe's largest foundations. The Stiftung was founded in 1977 by Reinhard Mohn, who, as head of Bertelsmann AG, turned the publishing house into a leading international media group. The Stiftung's activities are guided by the principle that ownership of capital brings an obligation to contribute to society. Since its inception, the Stiftung has invested more than US$ 1 billion in more than 700 projects. The Stiftung has approximately 300 employees and is headquartered in the northern German town of Gütersloh. It has opened other branches in Brussels and Barcelona. The Washington, DC-based Foundation is part of this network.

Reinhard Mohn endowed the Stiftung with a majority shareholding in Bertelsmann AG, now Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. Most funding for the Foundation's projects comes from that gift.

The Bertelsmann Foundation and the Bertelsmann Stiftung are led by President and CEO Aart De Geus. His leadership ensures that the organizations have common goals and work in tandem.

What We Do

The Bertelsmann Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank in Washington with a trans-Atlantic perspective on global challenges. We engage policymakers and thought leaders through innovative projects, research and debate to shape practical recommendations and policy solutions for pressing political, economic and social issues.

The Bertelsmann Foundation established a long-running annual conference that brings together high-level, international representatives of government, business, labor, academia and the media to discuss global cooperation on issues crucial to the future of our societies.

The Bertelsmann Foundation underwrites programs that promote international communication and understanding. We:

  • bring together US and European officials for exclusive briefings on current and mutual foreign-, economic- and social-policy challenges
  • established the first fellowship program for Congressional and European Parliament staffers to advance understanding of legislative priorities and processes on both sides of the Atlantic
  • bring together rising trans-Atlantic leaders and thinkers to explore the common challenges facing the US-European partnership
  • serve as a facilitator for global dialogue