The Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation in brief
Founded in 1916, the Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation is an operational foundation for people with physical and multiple disabilities. Its purpose is the rehabilitation, care, support and advancement of people with physical and multiple disabilities as well as the furthering of research in this area.
Establishment of the Foundation
In 1914, the industrialist and property developer Guido Graf Henckel Fürst von Donnersmarck, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the German Empire, set up and financed a military hospital for wounded soldiers at the present-day train station Frohnau immediately after the outbreak of the First World War.
His experiences at the military hospital led him to establish a foundation on May 8, 1916, which was to serve “the scientific processing and therapeutic application of the medical experiences collected during the present war.” However, an active policy for the foundation was delayed by his death on December 19, 1916, as well as the progress of the First World War. The foundation was able to start operations only after the Second World War had ended.
The Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation Today
The Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation stands for innovative action, overcoming social barriers and inclusive coexistence. With a net worth of around € 180 million and over 600 employees, the Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation is active in the areas of rehabilitation, tourism, leisure, education and consulting. Every three years since 2006, the Foundation has awarded a research prize worth € 30,000 for outstanding work in the field of neurorehabilitation.
With the opening of the P.A.N. Center for Post-Acute Neurorehabilitation, the Fürst Donnersmarck-Haus in Berlin-Frohnau has focused on the treatment of people with neurological rehabilitation needs. Here, people with acquired cerebral injuries, e.g. caused by a stroke, are given medical and therapeutic support as they transition back to living autonomously. The Fürst Donnersmarck House also includes a permanent living space. The Ambulant Betreutes Wohnen (outpatient assisted living arrangement) is designed to provide individual housing for people with disabilities, ranging from the assisted single living quarters to the Wohnen mit Intensivbetreuung (WmI – living in intensive care). It is based on the concept of social space and promotes the participation of its clients in the sense of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. People with disabilities receive support from the foundation’s own Ambulanter Dienst (outpatient service). It also operates, in cooperation with the P.A.N. Center, a project Unterstützung bei der Entwöhnung von Beatmung (UEvB – support for the weaning from respirators).
Leisure, Education and Consulting Activities
The Villa Donnersmarck in Berlin-Zehlendorf is a meeting place for people with and without disabilities. It regularly hosts events and cultural activities, various groups, social-political events, counselling for people with disabilities and their relatives as well as further education. Villa Donnersmarck is the only institution in Berlin with a permanent peer counsellor. Self-help groups meet regularly at Villa Donnersmarck or a meeting room in Blissestraße 12.
The foundation’s travel agency is a qualified advisor in all matters of accessible travel, and organises short trips as well as day trips. The Heidehotel Bad Bevensen, located in the heart of the Lüneburg Heide, is the foundation’s oldest holiday offer, providing guests with a health centre, accessible forest paths as well as group facilities. The Seehotel Rheinsberg is the largest fully accessible four-star hotel in Germany. The hotel has a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool, a multi-purpose hall suitable for competitive games, and an accessible seminar and conference area.
Understanding the Foundation
The Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation sees itself as a partner of people with disabilities in their efforts to achieve comprehensive social participation, equality and self-determination. The Foundation as a whole works to promote the social inclusion and self-determination of people with disabilities in their respective social areas, within the meaning of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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