Furthermore, we want to identify the environmental fields of action on which foundations spend their money. Based on the previous discussed research, the first task of the article is to provide a closer examination of the structure of environmental foundations in Germany.
With the help of this structure, we want to answer the following research questions:. Research Question 1: What are the fields of action on which environmental foundations work? Research Question 3: Can we find structures in Germany that are similar to those of other countries? Furthermore, we want to discover whether environmental foundations in Germany use their independence from political influence and their sufficient resources to act in innovative fields of action. If so,. Research Question 4: Does the German foundation system have the power to take more responsibility from the public authorities?
To answer these questions, we define an environmental foundation as a foundation that integrates environmental issues into its mission statement and funds or operates environmental projects. We present data from a study of environmental foundations in Germany. The results are based on an online survey conducted in As foundations in Germany are not listed in an official index, the population for the survey was compiled according to the databases from the German Association of Foundations BDS and the Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society. Foundations that focus on domestic animals were excluded from our database.
The term environment and animals , therefore, refers exclusively to environmental issues and biodiversity and wildlife. Through this approach, 1, foundations with valid addresses were invited to participate in an online survey. Most foundations 1, were invited via e-mail. If valid e-mail addresses were not available, the foundations were invited via conventional mail In total, foundations answered the questionnaire. Foundations invited by e-mail could state that they do not serve environmental issues, even if they have the term environment in their mission statement This response was not possible for foundations that were invited via conventional mail.
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For the calculation of our minimum response rate, we decided to exclude foundations that confirmed they do not serve environmental issues Non-Environmental: NE from our population N. We decided against estimating the number of non-environmental foundations in the population that was invited by letter. We only used completed interviews I for the calculation. For COOP, we included the non-environmental foundations.
According to our formulas, the RR, calculated by dividing the number of completed interviews by the entire population and subtracting the non-environmental foundations, is Within the data set, we found eight public foundations that were established by political authorities. These foundations have greater financial strength than the private foundations we found in our sample.
To obtain valid results for our research questions, we decided to classify the sample into two subsamples for different parts of the data analysis. The first subsample consists of private foundations. The second subsample contains the pubic foundations. By an act of the parliament, the DBU promotes innovative and exemplary environmental projects www. The questionnaire was organized in two parts. Initially, the respondents were asked for general information about their foundation, including the type of foundation, mission statement, and resources per year. In the second part of the survey, the questionnaire focused on environmental protection and the conservation of nature.
In this section, we asked questions about relevance and the proportion of foundation issues that were environmental, the activities they perform, and their financial strength. For some of the questions, we used a 7-point Likert item Likert, To compare our data sets, the Likert items were recalculated when we had a group of questions. We recalculated using the following formula:. The formula states that the recalculated value R of a question Q in a group of questions is obtained by dividing the value of the Likert item V by the sum of the values of the Likert items for all questions within a group.
The data we received from the respondents were in accordance with the comparable parameters of the entire population from the Maecenata Institute and the Association for German Foundations Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen: BDS databases cf. Table 1. With the good response rate for a foundation survey in addition to overlapping parameters between the two databases, we can assume that the data are adequately representative of German environmental foundations.
In our survey, we found very few environmental foundations that were established before There were also few foundations established between the s and the s. Therefore, the number of environmental foundations did not start increasing until the s, and the rate kept growing into the first decade of the 21st century cf. In comparison with the entire population of environmental foundations, our data show a higher share of young environmental foundations cf. The establishment of community foundations that started in the late s and boomed in the first 10 years of the 21st century greatly influenced the number of new foundations in the last decade.
The remaining foundations operate their own projects and fund other initiatives as well Regarding their financial situation, Table 1 shows the results of their expenditures in Private grants and membership fees only play a minor role. Even if foundations are not membership organizations, some respondents checked membership fees.
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These foundations belong to membership organizations that built an additional foundation for specific topics and support this foundation using the membership fees of the main association. Therefore, these membership fees are, legally speaking, private donations from an association.
Table 2. As for the importance of sources of income for expenditures on environmental issues, the data show that interest on capital counts for half of the expenditures for the environment.
These three income sources seem to be the most relevant sources in general, as well as for environmental issues. Such sources consist of lottery revenue or administrative fines. Table 3 , column 2 shows the overall importance of these different types of interests within the surveyed foundations. Environmental issues play a major role here.
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However, to better understand the different types of foundations, we used a two-step cluster analysis after the recalculation of the stated values. The silhouette measure of cohesion and separation is between 0. Table 3. By using the cluster analysis, we could identify three types of environmental foundations. This type concentrates on environmental issues combined with educational and scientific activities.
Other topics such as human services and arts and culture do not play a significant role. This type represents The third type includes foundations that have a universal focus on most fields. The environment does not play a major role in this cluster but is a significant part of the whole bundle of interests. With regard to the relevance of foundations as environmental actors, the specific environmental activities they support are important.
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Therefore, we ask which types of environmental issues the foundations focus on see column 1, Table 4. Table 4 , column 2 gives an overview of the different environmental subjects supported by foundations in Germany. Table 4. A two-step cluster analysis allows for a differentiated view of the different types of environmental foundations with regard to their environmental focus. The cluster analysis gave us three types of environmental foundations see Table 4. The silhouette measure of cohesion and separation indicates a satisfactory cluster quality for our measure.
Only 6. To understand the role of foundations within the context of environmental actors, a closer examination of the types of activities foundations undertake to achieve environmental goals may provide us with some evidence of their roles. Table 5 shows the relevance of different activities for all environmental foundations n and the three types of foundations. Table 5.
Our survey shows that specific practical conservation activities are relevant at the regional and local levels. The support of science and political involvement do not play a major role. The small Environmentalists group indicates a different picture. In line with their broad environmental goals, the Generalists support a wide range of activities.
Even if property is important for initiatives in the environmental sector, financial resources are an important indicator for the strength foundations that are not based on volunteer action. Therefore, the real monetary input for the activities on specific environmental issues plays a decisive role as an indicator for the relevance given to these issues. Table 6 shows the financial resources that are spent on each environmental issue by year.
The calculation is based on the relevance of the specific issue for a foundation and the financial resources for each environmental issue each year. However, the fact that these results show no indication for the property that foundations use for conservation should be considered. In general, the results gave evidence that financially strong foundations spread their expenditures over several topics. The comparison between public and private foundations shows that private foundations spend relatively more money on the conservation of nature biodiversity, landscape protection, forest, inland water, and agriculture , while the expenditures for environmental protection waste, energy, and transportation, air, and climate and consumption increase as soon as public foundations are taken into account.
However, it should be taken into account that the largest environmental foundation in Europe is a German foundation funded by the German government.
Therefore, the data show the influence such a major player has related to overall spending. As outlined previously, there are three main functions that environmental foundations can perform. They can act as general partners for the political authorities, as innovators, or as mediators and watchdogs. In line with the first alternative, restrictions can be found for German environmental foundations regarding their financial ability to fulfill this task. The data show that the environmental sector is mainly composed of very small foundations.
These numbers must be discussed while considering that this money is used to achieve not only achieve environmental but also social and cultural objectives see Table 3. Nevertheless, in addition to finances, foundations can also bring their skills and expertise to a public—private partnership. In such partnerships, they can fulfill their second function and act as drivers for innovation.
In our data, we found evidence that both science and education are two important topics for the majority of environmental foundations. For Great Britain, Cracknell et al. It seems to be more likely that the criticism that foundations are mainly supporting mainstream themes cf. Roelofs, ; Walker, is justified.
For the United States, the U. Therefore, it seems very important to analyze concrete projects funded and operated by foundations in greater detail to determine their environmental activities. Our results are confirmed by another investigation of environmental foundations in Great Britain Cracknell et al.
Practical conservation is the leading activity of foundations. Even if this environmental foundation type may be the smallest group in our survey, the development of this type indicates its rising importance as an environmental actor in recent years.
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