We help our project partners to realise their initiatives responsibly, for the well-being of others and of our society as a whole.


Founder Dr. h. c. Peter Schnell

The rapid pace of change in today's world has two sides:

On the one hand, some changes are merely fads. These changes are driven mostly by individuals who live out their egoism in order to obtain transitory goods such as fame, wealth and power.

On the other hand, there are changes that result from continued spiritual development, and these changes endure.

One of the latter forms of change consists in slowly overcoming the outdated structures of society, a legacy of the Romans, which even today are clearly evident in artificial hierarchies, bureaucracy and the social Darwinism of the economic world.

By nature, the principle of brotherhood should govern our economic lives, as freedom governs our intellectual existence and equality our legal existence. Today, although we are still so far away from a true awareness of our brotherhood, we must work to set tangible examples for the future of the world.

Brotherhood does not consist in giving alms out of pity, but in developing real interest in another human being. When we discover someone's intentions and what he values most in the world, we can determine whether we are able and willing to unite ourselves with him.

This basic principle requires from us as a foundation that we personally visit every project we support.  In this way projects are not reduced to an administrative procedure; rather, we consult with the persons involved about what is desired, what is possible and what is reasonable.

Almost all projects consist of the idea of a few individuals - social seeds that can be supported with the right amount of money, but corrupted or destroyed with too much. Avoiding the latter is possible only through open, direct conversations with the individuals themselves. In such a conversation it is perhaps possible to ascertain how much money, where, will mean the growth and flourishing of greater humanity.

When in 1992 I personally transferred almost all shares of the Software AG company (now a large, publicly traded company) to the Software AG Foundation, it was in order to adequately ensure that these substantial assets would be used by a charitable foundation in a way that is beneficial to the world and sustainable beyond my own personal time on earth.

Earning money (e.g. with production, trade and services) and making money (e.g. with stock market speculation) is relatively simple. But it is difficult to distribute large amounts of money wisely. When giving, one is called upon to commit oneself to the future of a project and to a group of people. Signing a cheque is only the beginning.

Control of assets in the amounts held by the Software AG Foundation does not constitute a right to egotistical fulfilment, but rather a large responsibility towards the world. One can ignore this responsibility, refuse it, or seize it. We want to seize it.

Peter Schnell as developer in the 1970s
1997: Peter Schnell receives the Order of Merit of the State of Hesse from Hans Eichel, then Premier of Hesse
2002: Peter Schnell receives the gold medal of the Association of German Foundations from German President Johannes Rau
2009: Peter Schnell receives the Federal Cross of Merit First Class for "outstanding achievements in a political, economic, cultural, intellectual or volunteer realm"