Robert Bosch: Entrepreneur, Citizen, and Philanthropist

Mission and Establishment of the Foundation

"It is my intention, apart from the alleviation of all kinds of hardship, to promote the moral, physical and intellectual development of the people."
Robert Bosch, 1935

This was Robert Bosch’s message to Vermögensverwaltung Bosch GmbH (VVB), the company he had founded in the course of drawing up his will in 1921. It was to receive his shares in the company after his death. Bosch entrusted his entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities
to the directors of Vermögensverwaltung Bosch, who were personally appointed by him and subsequently named as executors of his will. They were to decide within the statutory period of 30 years whether, and if so when, the 86 percent of shares that devolved to his heirs after his death in 1942 should be transferred to Vermögensverwaltung Bosch.

Between 1962 and 1964, the executors found a forward-looking way of reconciling the commercial and charitable objectives of the company founder. Vermögensverwaltung Bosch acquired the shares and simultaneously waived the concomitant right to vote, which was transferred to the newly founded Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, which held an 0.01% interest in Robert Bosch GmbH. Vermögensverwaltung Bosch was renamed Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH in 1969. For their part, the heirs acted in the spirit of the founder, using the vast majority of the inheritance for their own charitable foundations. In his foundation guidelines, Robert Bosch cited examples of how his philanthropic vision should be realized: "Health, education, training, support for gifted children, international reconciliation and the like…"

The statute of the Robert Bosch Stiftung follows these injunctions and states as the foundation’s main purpose public health care. Other purposes include: international understanding, welfare, education, the arts and culture, and research and teaching in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.