In this research project we aim to investigate enterprise foundations and foundation-owned companies in Europe. How many are there? How large are they? What is their share of output and employment? How does foundation ownership influence company behavior and performance? We aim to understand both commonalities and differences in the way foundation ownership is structured, for example differences between the German, Swedish and Danish models.
The purpose of the project is to provide a fact- and research based background for policy and strategy discussions about enterprise foundations. We intend to investigate whether it is meaningful to talk about a “European Enterprise Foundation”, how this structure can create value for business and society, how it should be governed, regulated and taxed.
Enterprise foundations have the potential to address many concerns about contemporary capitalism. As long-term owners they are less sensitive to short-termism. They are purpose rather than profit driven (as stipulated in their charters) in line with recent recommendations. They are socially responsible (e.g. philanthropic) they counteract rising economic inequality since their wealth is owned by the foundations rather than by private individuals. Therefore it is particularly important to examine their strengths and weaknesses and to what extent they can be a corporate governance model for the future.
The 9 research areas:
1) Growth and value creation in foundation-owned companies - update of existing research and review of value creation measure.
2) Foundation-owned companies in Europe – economic and legal mapping, economic analysis of behavior and performance, case studies.
3) Value creation in listed foundation-owned firms – global analysis.
4) Stewardship – comparative analysis of responsible long-term ownership by enterprise foundations, family business and mutuals.
5) Foundation governance and value creation - the impact of board structure, tenure and leadership practices.
6) Philanthropy and the social impact of enterprise foundations.
7) Foundation ownership, CSR and sustainability.
8) Synthesis: The European Enterprise Foundations (book)
9) The role of Enterprise Foundations in the Corona crisis