Top Definition
German, *noun*: "foundation"; a type of business organization dating from the late 19th century in which one or more companies are owned by a foundation. The foundation, in turn, is governed not by shareholders, but by whomever is chartered as a stakeholder in the firm, such as workers, financial planners, local residents of the town where the firm operates, and so on.

The biggest company owned by a foundation is Robert Bosch GmBH, which is 92% owned by Robert Bosch Stiftung (Stuttgart, Germany). Bertelsmann AG (Guetersloh, Germany) is owned by the Bertelsmann-Stiftung, which appears to possess the largest endowment of any German foundation; the affiliated company owns an enormous media empire.

Plural: Stiftungen
The prevalence of the *Stiftung* in German industry probably contributed to the excellence of German manufactures, since the affiliated companies were managed by engineers.
by Abu Yahya February 23, 2009
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