Identifying interrelationships, speeding up transformation
On the occasion of his 79th birthday, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein gave himself the greatest gift: with the establishment of the non-profit Wittenstein Foundation, a long-awaited wish that has been close to his and his family’s heart for many years is coming true. The region is to also benefit from the foundation’s work in the future.
Dr. Manfred Wittenstein has held the firm conviction that the great challenges of the 21st century can only be mastered together, especially taking the interests of future generations into account, throughout his professional and personal career from the very beginning. Having taken over his parent’s small sewing machine business DEWITTA in 1979, he then turned it into the internationally leading company WITTENSTEIN SE over the last few decades, and went through the transformation process on his own path from “lone wolf” to “networker”, continuously widening his circles over the years. With the establishment of the Wittenstein Foundation, whose formal certification was confirmed by the Stuttgart Regional Council a few days ago, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein now wants to make a lasting and valuable contribution to shaping a sustainable successful future for as many members of society as possible. Not just in technological and economic terms, but also regionally, culturally and across the breadth and diversity of social groups.
Achieving the foundation’s purpose
Dr. Manfred Wittenstein wants to achieve the Wittenstein Foundation’s purpose above all through fruitful dialog and active collaboration, together with his family who also fully support the foundation in its intention, strategy and endowment. This includes promoting education and training as well as science and research. The foundation’s work focuses on exploring and shedding light on the interrelationships between people, technology, nature and society, as well as the economic, technological, social and ecological requirements to conserve our resources for future generations. In the future, the foundation also wants to make an important contribution to promoting an understanding of the role of business activities for society.
Planned activities include regional formats such as congresses and events that serve interdisciplinary and international exchange among researchers, financial support and awards for researchers, students and young people interested in technology, or art exhibitions. “We will be open to any opportunities to achieve the foundation’s purpose. New ideas will be born through constant dialog with society, artists, scientists and politicians. Keeping the momentum going at all times, all the while keeping everyone on board at their very own pace and rhythm, that will be the key to dealing with the technological challenges and necessities of today in order to master the future of all of us together,” says Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, explaining the foundation’s aspiration.
First funding projects
A change of perspective and a critical and constructive dialog across professional and cultural boundaries are essential factors for the Wittenstein Foundation if society as a whole is to successfully master the necessary transformation process. With the ENTER THE FUTURE event series, which was launched by WITTENSTEIN SE in November 2020 and is now being continued by the Wittenstein Foundation, it wants to enter into continuous dialog with society. The third event in this series, which is open to the public, will take place on November 11, 2021, and will be an integral part of the foundation’s work.
The book release for “outer space v2” by renowned photo artist Michael Najjar, whose series of works “Beyond the Horizon” has been on display at the WITTENSTEIN Innovation Factory in Harthausen since 2019, scheduled for mid-September, is also being sponsored by the Wittenstein Foundation. The book looks at recent developments in space exploration, as well as their influence on shaping our future life on Earth, in the near-Earth orbit, and even on other planets.
The Board of Trustees of the Wittenstein Foundation, consisting of up to seven people in accordance with the Articles of Association, sets the key priorities for measures to achieve the foundation’s purpose and determines the overarching strategy for the foundation’s work, among other things. In addition to Dr. Manfred Wittenstein himself, the members of the foundation’s advisory and supervisory body are Dr. Bertram Hoffmann (CEO of WITTENSTEIN SE), Prof. Dr. Michael Junker (Member of the WITTENSTEIN SE Supervisory Board), Prof. Dr. Eckard Minx (founder and shareholder of DIE DENKBANK), Stefan Schraivogel (Marketing and Communications Consultant) and Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein (Member of the WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board). Dr. Manfred Wittenstein presides as Chair of the Board of Trustees. The administration of the foundation as well as the ongoing foundation work is carried out by the employees in the administrative office: Dr. Sascha von Berchem (Managing Director) and Julia Riedmeyr (Project Management and Communications). The foundation is legally responsible under civil law and exclusively and directly pursues charitable objectives. The basic assets amount to EUR 5 million, consisting of 5,000,000 preferred shares in WITTENSTEIN SE.
Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Founder and Chair of the Wittenstein Foundation Board of Trustees
The family members and shareholders of WITTENSTEIN SE also fully support the Wittenstein Foundation in its intention, strategy and endowment. In the picture from left to right: Wolfgang Wittenstein, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Viktoria Wittenstein, Dr. Daniel Wittenstein, Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, Brigitte Geier, Dr. Michael Geier.