About us

Commitment and room for ideas

About the Max Planck Foundation

An inspiring idea will find supporters. Our founders shared this conviction when they started out in 2006. The Max Planck Foundation was born as a private, independent, non-profit self-organization of supporters of top-level science. It exclusively supports the Max Planck Society and its Max Planck and affiliated institutes. The many projects supported include the work of several Nobel Laureates. And there are always new projects coming in that have the potential to broaden our understanding of the world. Thanks to our supporters today we are one of the largest science-promoting foundations in Germany, yet one thing has not changed: the individual dedication to each of our Donors.

Private funding – regardless of the amount – makes an invaluable contribution to research and thus to the further development of society in Germany and worldwide. Lean structures and volunteer work in our committees ensure that 100% of your donations go to science – effectively, sustainably, and without public funds. The capital of the Max Planck Foundation and its sub-foundations is professionally managed. Our asset management pursues an approach used by the big American universities with a diversified asset allocation in international investments – rigorously balancing risk-diversification and total-return-orientation.

The Max Planck Foundation is a non-profit, private foundation under civil law and not subject to income, inheritance or gift taxes. It is supervised by the Bavarian foundation and tax authorities, administrative district of Upper Bavaria. Our financial statements are fully audited by a major accounting firm.

Our statutes can be found here.

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Foundations within the Max Planck Foundation

There are currently five fiduciary foundations entrusted to the Max Planck Foundation, which we professionally manage strictly according to the wishes of their founders. In addition, we manage and administer affiliated independent foundations with similar purposes.

If you are thinking about starting your own foundation, we will be happy to assist you.

Hermann Neuhaus (June 22, 1931 – May 11, 2007) was a successful entrepreneur from Westphalia. According to his will, the Hermann- Neuhaus-Stiftung was established within the Max Planck Foundation; until 2020, the assets were administered by his executor. According to the founder’s specifications, 100% of the proceeds benefit the research of the Max Planck Society. The foundation also fulfills his wishes for taking full care of his widow and his real and other estate.

The life of Hermann Neuhaus shows parallels to the biographies of excellent scientists. “Like them, he always strived to give his best – and to achieve the best,” said Prof. Gruss, former President of the Max Planck Society. “We are extremely proud and happy that he chose the Max Planck Society. His legacy is both an honour and an obligation to us. ”
As owner-operator of his businesses, Hermann Neuhaus was committed to excellence. Although firmly rooted in Westphalia, his entrepreneurial thinking was international. His visions, his assertiveness and his critical nature strengthened his affinity to top researchers. He always gave his best. The Max Planck Society with its unique international reputation seemed to him the best place to secure his claim to excellence on a permanent basis.

Hermann Neuhaus was awarded the highest honour of the Max Planck Society, the Harnack Medal.

Harnack Medal 1925 to 2021 © Max Planck Society

The “Dr. Helmut Storz-Stiftung” was originally established outside the Max Planck Foundation. Since 2013, it has been administered by the Max Planck Foundation. The founder Dr Helmut Storz, who passed away in January 2023 at the age of 97, was especially committed to scientific projects that were on the verge of application. Research and science in the here and now, with a view to the future, were very important to him and a great personal concern – scientific findings that enrich and simplify everyday life were essential to him. The Max Planck Foundation will continue to support research by the Max Planck Society in his spirit.

The Hanrieder Foundation for Excellence (HFE) is a fiduciary foundation managed by the Max Planck Foundation. Dr. Wolfgang Hanrieder set it up in 2015 for the long-term support of excellent research. He focuses on promoting highly talented young scientists and cooperation projects of the Max Planck Society with university and non-university research institutions.

Since his studies in physics, Dr. Hanrieder has kept close ties to the Max Planck Society. After his time at a global technology group, he got to know the positive impact of targeted investing in high-tech companies in the USA and later built up the medium-sized technology business in Europe for an international investment group. Returning to his home country a few years ago, he is increasingly dedicated to supporting innovative technology companies: “Like no other institution, the Max Planck Society offers great breadth and excellence in basic research. The knowledge gained from this is the most important raw material for innovation and prosperity. The purpose of the Hanrieder Foundation for Excellence is to make a modest contribution to the success of outstanding young researchers. “

Dr. Gross and his wife Irmgard were associated with the Max Planck Society for many years. With the establishment of her own foundation within the Max Planck Foundation, Irmgard Gross fulfilled the dream of her late husband, thus ensuring the continued appreciation and lasting effect of his commitment.

The Dr. Gerhard und Irmgard Gross-Stiftung supports excellent projects of the Max Planck Society in medical-physiological research, especially relating to the function, disease and therapy of eyes and other organs, as well as in ornithology. In addition, the Foundation promotes research in the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society, especially in the Rhine-Main area.

Now that both spouses and their son, Joachim Gross, have passed away, the MPF continues the family’s generous commitments in keeping with their vision.

Stefan Gasz from Salzgitter-Bad founded the “Stiftung Jugendbildung Familie Gasz” at the beginning of 2012 – in memory of his wife Ivana, who died in 2008, as well as his mother Theresia Gasz. The foundation, set up in the spirit of Ivana Gasz, is intended to provide educational opportunities for young people from economically and/or socially disadvantaged family backgrounds who are willing and able to perform. It should also increase their potential for the benefit of society. In 2018, the foundation (now the “Familienstiftung Gasz”) was transferred to the MPF and expanded to include the support of excellent science and research.

Werner-Heisenberg-Stiftung, founded in 2012, is a fiduciary foundation in the Max Planck Foundation with the aim of supporting the Werner Heisenberg Gesellschaft.

The Heisenberg Gesellschaft e.V. helps to keep Werner Heisenberg’s work and person alive. 65 founding members support this goal through regular meetings, lectures and a series of publications. The estate of Werner Heisenberg has been taken over by the archives of the Max Planck Society and is being made accessible to science in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Dr. Michael Lebert is an alumnus of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart (MPI-FKF). He wishes to support the scientific community that inspired him during his time there. So in the summer of 2023, he founded the QuantumLeaks Foundation under the umbrella of the Max Planck Foundation, which is dedicated to research and science. The focus is on promoting and honouring the structural interpretation of quantum entanglement.

Copyright of the pictures:
Herrmann-Neuhaus-Stiftung ©Max-Planck-Förderstiftung, Dr. Helmut Storz-Stiftung ©Max-Panck-Gesellschaft, Hanrieder Foundation for Excellence ©Dr. Wolfgang Hanrieder, Dr. Gerhard und Irmgard Gross-Stiftung ©private, Familienstiftung Gasz ©private, Werner-Heisenberg-Stiftung ©Max-Planck-Gesellschaft