The response of German society to the massive influx of refugees into Germany in 2015 and 2016 has been generally impressive and German philanthropy has played an important role. Charles Keidan talked to Michaela Wintrich of the Hans Weisser Stiftung at the Association of German Foundations’ conference (Budesverband Deutscher Stiftungen) in Osnabruck earlier this year. They discussed how the foundation has adapted its work to the integration of young refugees. Leading a mid-sized German foundation, Wintrich describes how the work of coping with the new arrivals might offer a clue to resolving some of Germany’s long-standing social problems.
Could you tell us about the Hans Weisser Stiftung and your role in it?
I've been the executive director for a little over a year and a half now. The foundation has been around under a different name since 2002, and started off with grants to graduate students who were going abroad, mainly to universities in the US and UK. Hans Weisser, who set up the foundation is an entrepreneur from Hamburg with very deep roots in the region and the city.