Meet the Fundación Bertelsmann

May 27th, 2010

Meet the Fundación Bertelsmann, our new partner in Spain. We are delighted to be able to introduce you to some of the foundation’s history, their mission and our work together.

Located in Barcelona , Fundación Bertelsmann was founded in 1995 as the independent ‘sister’ of our German partner, the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Gütersloh), with a focus on developing the reading and media culture in Spain.  This work resulted in major efforts to benchmark 20 public libraries and promote cooperation between public libraries and schools in seven Spanish cities.

Strong economic development during these years made Spain one of the top immigrant-receiving countries in the European Union, requiring cities like Barcelona to devise and implement new initiatives that are redefining neighbourhoods like Tot Raval and community relationships on a daily basis.

As part of its ten year anniversary, Fundación Bertelsmann responded to these new realities by shifting its focus to the promotion of civic engagement in Spanish communities and enhanced dialogue and exchange between different cultures.  In partnership with the Fundación Bertelsmann, Cities of Migration will be bringing more Good Ideas to you from cities around Spain in the months ahead and making them available in Spanish!

Fundación Bertelsmann:
A Pioneering Institution in Civic Responsibility

Since it began its work in Spain in 1995, Fundación Bertelsmann has become a catalysing institution for social reflection and a meeting point for intellectuals, business men and women, politicians and citizens, always seeking to foster the positive progress of Spanish society through a combination of analysis and action.

The initiative, developed by Reinhard Mohn and now led by his wife, Liz Mohn, has shaped a pioneering institution in social development, whose work is based on three major objectives:

  1. Promoting social change by identifying latent social challenges;
  2. Preparing society for the future by providing it with the competences that will enable sustainable development; and,
  3. Contributing to the promotion of social responsibility, based upon the conviction that community involvement is the essential pillar of social progress.

These objectives are being fulfilled through innovative projects for creating community foundations, managing cultural diversity, raising awareness of a value-based business culture and the fostering of youth participation. The common denominator in these four large projects is the Foundation’s capacity to lead its ideals forward and attract specialised talent in each subject, thus enabling it to create multi-disciplinary work teams that are in direct contact with the social reality. After leading the phases for identifying challenges, proposing and broadcasting solutions, the Foundation stewards the transfer of successful projects to independent institutions in associated areas of interest, thus leading to the consolidation and sustainable development of the concept.

In the areas of immigration and cultural diversity, Fundación Bertelsmann pours its efforts into spreading good practices among different groups, with the aim of achieving a strong social impact: on the one hand, it engages in activities focused on children and young people, whose primary setting is the school; on the other hand, it is partnering with the international Cities of Migration project to identify examples of good integration practices on Spain where active community engagement has actively contributed to local success.

Community foundations, institutions devised and managed by citizens to improve their surroundings, are the instrument through which the Fundación Bertelsmann promotes community involvement. Five foundations in Spain have already joined the network created in 2009 and another two are in the process of joining. Thanks to this initiative, towns all over Spain have managed to involve numerous institutions, businesses and people, confirming that involvement can serve as a powerful generator of development. Cities of Migration will be profiling the work of Fundación Bertelsmann with Spain’s first community Foundation, Fundacio Tot Raval, in the coming weeks.

With regards to promoting a value-based business culture, we highlight our in-depth analysis of the current situation in this area through publications and meetings: the most notable example of these being the annual Dialogue and Action conference that Fundación Bertelsmann organises to encourage debate about an active civil society.

In the youth area, Fundación Bertelsmann drove the “TO2 for youth participation” initiative, a project that began in 2007 to promote young people’s participation in society. Its innovative philosophy has succeeded in awakening the interest of numerous public and private Spanish institutions. The Foundation has also made numerous materials available to the educational community, families and many young people to guide them towards success in their entrepreneurial activities. From a youth website (www.todosporlaparticipacion.org) to a comic book (“Jóvenes emprendedores sociales”), we explore different forms of communication to raise awareness among Spanish youth and to create a growing culture of young social entrepreneurs.

For Spanish Good Ideas see:

Fore more information about Cities of Migration in Spain, please contact:

Monique Dissarz

Fundación Bertelsmann
Pg. Picasso, 16
08003 Barcelona
Tel.: + 34 93 268 72 34
Fax: + 34 93 268 71 73
e-mail: monique.dissarz@fundacionbertelsmann.org
URL: www.fundacionbertelsmann.org


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