A thousand years ago, the institution of foundations was already known in Germany. Today, the majority of these institutions follows tax-deductible targets and is therefore considered as non-profitable. A third of the today about 12.000 registered foundations in Germany that take part of the alliance of German foundations, were raised in the last 10 years, about 50% in the last 50 years. Since the reform of the tax-law for foundations in 2000, the number of foundations increases by 300 new foundations per year. With a percentage of at the most 0,5% of the added-value-tax-paying business companies in Germany, foundations have a very small influence on the economy.
About 31 percent of the foundations in Germany are involved in the social sector, around 30 percent in art, culture, education and upbringing, 16 percent in economy and research and 3 percent in the sector of family and enterprises. The remaining 20 percent of the foundations follow targets in the sectors protection of historic buildings and monuments, understanding among nations, health, sports, religion, economy, politics and the protection of the environment and of animals.