Trusts are set up when their founder(s) wish to fulfil the purpose of their foundation without having to deal with the administrative work and outlay of an independent foundation/foundation with legal capacity. This includes a governing board, statements of accounts, supervisory authorities, minimum capital etc.
A trust (Treuhandstiftung) is also known as a subfoundation (Unterstiftung). An agreement between the founder and the trustee (umbrella foundation) is drawn up. A trust can be set up during one’s lifetime or at the time of death. The founder transfers the trust capital to the trustee, who must administer it separately from his own assets.
The purpose of the trust is laid down in a constitution (charter) which is part of the agreement between the founder and the trustee, although the purpose of the trust must overlap to a certain extent with that of the umbrella foundation. The trustee represents the trust for external purposes since the latter has no legal personality and is not subject to oversight by the supervisory authorities for non-profit organisations. This is an ideal way to implement the founder’s wishes.
Among the common reasons for setting up a trust are:
- continuation of the family name
- the lack of suitable heirs
- altruistic use of the legacy/assets of the testator
The Sonnenfeld Foundation has been the home to one such trust, the Antje Bürgel Foundation, since May 2013. This trust was founded in accordance with the wills that were left by its founder. Her wishes were laid down in the trust’s constitution. This states that revenues from the legacy be used for PhD grants to promote medical research.
In 2018, one scholarship will be funded by the “Antje-Bürgel Foundation”. For the application the guidelines of the Sonnenfeld Foundation apply.
The wills also establish that the foundation be responsible for the upkeep of the founder’s grave, a personal wish that is of course reflected in the constitutional document.
In October 2015, another trust foundation was established with Professor Dr. Hans Ebel and Mrs. Elona Ebel. The Trustee Foundation is under the name “Prof. Dr. Hans and Elona Ebel Foundation“. The focus of the foundation is the promotion of young scientists in medical research in Berlin, in particular in the field of basic research.
The statutes of the Trust Foundation as well as the corresponding fiduciary contract were signed jointly by the married couple Ebel and the management of the SONNENFELD-STIFTUNG.
In October 2020, the trust foundation, „Herrmann-Foundation-Berlin for the research of muscle diseases“ (Herrmann-Foundation–Berlin) was founded by Susanne and Ralf Herrmann. The foundation purpose is not solely focused on muscle diseases, but also on providing support for young scientists in the field of medical research in general.
The statutes of the Trust Foundation as well as the corresponding fiduciary contract were designed in close cooperation between the married couple Herrmann and the management of the SONNENFELD-STIFTUNG. Based upon these documents the non-profit-status was requested and granted by the Senatsverwaltung Berlin and the Finanzverwaltung.
In January 2021, a new Trust Foundation, the „Pfohl-Family-Foundation“ was established by Ms. Pfohl. The purpose of the foundation is closely aligned with that of the SONNENFELD-STIFTUNG and will therefore support young scientists in the field of medical research in Berlin.
The non-profit-status was granted after the request was filed with the porper authorities.