December 2010 - Human charity: A tenth for humanity
25 years ago, Peter Dornier established the same-named foundation and hence set an example even beyond his death; an example showing that entrepreneurial spirit is not contrary to the awareness of one’s own social responsibility.
Initiator of the foundation: Peter Dornier
Human charity: A tenth for humanity
The Peter Dornier Foundation has supported projects for the people’s good here and all over the world for 25 years
By Isabel Kubeth de Placido
LINDAU - 25 years ago, Peter Dornier established the same-named foundation and hence set an example even beyond his death; an example showing that entrepreneurial spirit is not contrary to the awareness of one’s own social responsibility. Far from it! From 1985 until today, the foundation has supported more than 250 different organizations and their projects with more than 6.6 million Euros.
During the anniversary celebration in the Old Town-hall, Maja Dornier, who took the chair of the foundation after her husband’s death, said that the founder wanted to give back to the people a part of the material values he and his employees have accomplished. Following the biblical direction to give the tenth part, ten percent of Lindauer DORNIER’s business capital formed the basis when establishing the foundation. Since that time, ten percent of the annual business profits have poured into the foundation.
With this money, it supports a wide range of projects, whether for the protection of the environment, nature or landscape, care and preservation of historical heritage, protection of animals, general benefaction, social peace, public health, but also science, research, arts, culture, education, religion, international understanding, development aid and sports. „You should rather ask what it does NOT do“ Maja Dornier summarizes in her speech in which she gives her numerous guests an understanding of the foundation’s work. And with a wink, she answers: „Politics. It does not pursue any policy.“
It attends to projects all over the world, from Lindau to Ethiopia, from Berlin to Cuba, which sometimes seem to be small but have a lasting effect. Since the foundation with its founder and the current foundation board are closely connected to the people who live here, they turn their attention especially to Lindau and the region. Here, numerous projects are supported which benefit the town, the administrative district and its people. A support for which both mayor Mrs. Petra Seidl and the administrative head of the district Mr. Elmar Stegman express their thanks. „25 years of Peter Dornier foundation mean 25 years of commitment to our society, a quarter of a century of helpfulness and generosity, commitment to the homeland and the entire country“, said Seidl. As an example, she mentioned the conference of the Nobel prize winners, the farm „Haug am Brückele“, the procurement of the new seating for the town theatre’s concert hall and the visiting service for ill and dying persons in the hospice “Haus Brög zum Engel”.
Following Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Stegmann compared the foundation with an oak that has put down roots and consistently grows new branches. Furthermore, he did not only acknowledge the services of the foundation and its founder but especially emphasized Maja Dornier’s commitment for the hospices movement which made of it a nationwide pioneer. „Peter Dornier and his wife Maja set themselves the goal to help people who are in difficulties – not only through financial support but also with a lot of personal commitment and dedication”, he closed.
Apart from the politicians’ speeches and Maja Dornier’s representation of the foundation, Dieter Feddersen, the chairman of Lindauer DORNIER’s supervisory board, drew an impressive portray of the founder Peter Dornier. Jürgen Regge, who established several foundations and who is vice-chairman of the Federal Association of German Foundations, informed about foundations related to companies. The „Collegium Musicum“ provided in the meantime a celebratory musical framing for the evening.
1985 marked a watershed in the history of company Dornier. At that time, the Daimler Benz AG had acquired the majority stake on the entire Dornier group. However, Peter Dornier achieved to keep Lindauer DORNIER GmbH in exchange for his complete shares. In the same year, he established the charitable Peter Dornier foundation. „As mentioned in the Bible, I give the „tenth“ so that my employees realize that a part of what we have earned must serve the public’s interest“, he said when establishing the foundation. Ten percent of the company’s business capital formed the basis and since then, 10 percent of the business profits have poured into the foundation annually. The lion’s share (50 percent) is invested in social projects with a main focus on youth and children’s welfare. 15 percent each are allotted to the fields science, care and preservation of historical heritage, 11 percent to arts and culture, eight percent to the protection of the environment and almost one percent to sports. After her husband’s death, Maja Dornier became chairwoman of the foundation’s board.
Dieter Feddersen, who is also supervisory board chairman of the Lindauer DORNIER GmbH, supports her. The advisory council is represented by her four children Kerstin, Aimée, Karin and Peter as well as by the former and the current commercial CEO of Lindauer DORNIER GmbH, Mr. Heinrich Ahner and Mr. Hans-Jürgen Schmidt.
About the person Peter Dornier
Peter Dornier was not only engineer and entrepreneur but also a person who cared about other people. He was born on 31st January 1917 as the second son of the aviation pioneer Claude Dornier and his first wife Olga and grew up in Friedrichshafen. Fascinated by aviation, he started to keep a diary at the age of eleven in which he used to draw construction plans. Already as a student, he was involved in the development of new aircrafts in his father’s company. Even before he had completed his degree in engineering, he was awarded the aviation prize in 1943 for the best contribution to the development of aviation which was the joint development of the Do 336. Still today, it is considered the fastest propeller plane in the world.
Since aircraft construction was not allowed any more in Germany at the end of the war, Dornier concentrated his enthusiasm for technique on the needs of the textile industry and started to build up the Lindauer DORNIER in 1950. Since then, weaving machines and specialty machinery which can be found all over the world have been produced here. Later on, subsidiary companies were built up in the USA, China, India and Turkey. In this field, DORNIER is considered a worldwide technological leader. Apart from that, Peter Dornier designed the vertical take-off plane Do 31, applied for 134 patents and was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit in 1983. Until shortly before his death on 28th January 2002, Peter Dornier was head of Lindauer DORNIER’s management board as well as chairman of the foundation. Today, his son Peter is in charge of the company.
Advisory council: Peter D. Dornier, Heinrich Ahner, Dieter Feddersen, Aimée Dornier, Maja Dornier, Hans-Jürgen Schmidt and Karin Preisser (from left to right).
Maja Dornier holding her speech at the 25th anniversary of the foundation.
Source: Lindauer Zeitung of Saturday, 18 December 2010
Text: Isabel Kubeth de Placido
Photo: Christian Flemming