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28 June 2006

New at the University of Heidelberg: The Center for Social Investment (CSI)

The Rector of the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff, extends a cordial invitation to the media and the public to attend the opening panel organised by the CSI on 5 July 2006 (5-7 p.m.) in the Great Hall of the Old University — With Dr. Uwe-Jean Heuser of Die Zeit as moderator, executives from various European foundations will be discussing the programmatic statement of the the new center and its role in implementing the University's strategy "Looking Ahead. Since 1386"

With its new center for Social Investment (CSI), the University of Heidelberg will be supporting foundations, social entrepreneurs and public-benefit organisations in their work by engaging in research, policy analysis and graduate and executive education programmes for executives from non-profit organisations. The establishment of an interdisciplinary research center in this sector fulfils one of the central objectives of the University's strategic project called "Looking Ahead. Since 1386". The CSI Center's mission is to become the European academic center of excellence for the study and teaching of social investment in Europe. The initiative is sponsored by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the Hertie Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

Social investment

Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world, has announced that he will be bequeathing the greater part of his 44-billion-dollar fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dedicated to the global campaign against disease and the advancement of education. This is an overwhelming private contribution to public benefit, an immense social investment. But how can this money be used responsibly?

What skills and abilities are required to run a foundation? How can foundations gauge the social impact of their activities? How much capital do public-benefit organisations in Europe have at their disposal? What new forms of public-benefit activity are emerging in Europe at present? What legal parameters are required to ensure that the work of foundations and non-profit organisations can become more efficient, effective and transparent?

These questions are central to the research, teaching and consultancy services of the University of Heidelberg's newly established center for Social Investment and Innovation headed by Prof. Dr. Helmut Anheier and Dr. Volker Then. Professor Anheier, the academic director of the CSI, is new to Heidelberg. He is a scientist of international renown who has taught at such prestigious institutions as the London School of Economics and the University of California (Los Angeles).

"We haven't even started operations yet," says Dr. Andreas Schröer, head of the research department, "but we already have a host of project-related inquiries from the Third Sector. They are especially interested in the question of how the social impact of innovative measures undertaken by public-benefit organisations (foundations, institutions providing support for the elderly) can be measured. Alongside consultancy in connection with the establishment of foundations and strategic management development for existing organisations, devising instruments for measurement purposes will be a crucial part of our work."

In addition, the CSI will be engaging in basic research for the Third Sector in Europe. As of the winter semester 2007/08 it will also be offering an MA and a doctoral course on governance and leadership in public-benefit organisations.

At the opening panel on 5 July, at which the participants will be welcomed by Rector Professor Hommelhoff, the round-table discussion will bring together Dieter Berg, chairman of the management board of the Robert Bosch Foundation, Flavio Brugnoli, regional head of the Compagnia di San Paolo (Turin) and the directors of the CSI, Prof. Dr. Helmut Anheier and Dr. Volker Then. Moderator is Dr. Uwe Jean Heuser, chief editor of the business section of the German weekly Die Zeit. The venue is the Great Hall of the Old University, Grabengasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Andreas Schröer
phone: 06221/543260, fax: 542996

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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