Written by 22:14 World

Group of Austrians Picks 77 Charities to Receive Heiress’s Fortune

After six weekends of deliberating, a group of Austrian citizens this week decided how to divvy up the riches of the heiress Marlene Engelhorn, who is donating the bulk of her inheritance to charity in an attempt to challenge a system that allowed her to accumulate millions of euros.

The Guter Rat für Rückverteilung (“good council for redistribution” in German), a group of 50 residents in Austria advised by experts, chose 77 organizations that would receive money from Ms. Engelhorn’s fortune over the coming years.

Ms. Engelhorn, 32, made headlines this year when she turned to the public to help redistribute her wealth, challenging the lack of inheritance tax in her native Austria. In January, she sent invitations to 10,000 Austrian residents, asking them for help spending 25 million euros (about $26.8 million) of her fortune, which she inherited when her grandmother died. The research group Foresight selected 50 of those residents, from various backgrounds, to form the council.

Each organization will receive an amount ranging from €40,000 (roughly $43,000) to €1.6 million ($1.7 million). The groups receiving money include the left-wing think tank Momentum; Attac Austria, an organization that opposes neoliberal economic policy; the social organization World Inequity Lab; climate organizations; human rights groups; and dozens of others.

There were some rules in place, according to the council’s website. The money could not be given to groups or people who are “unconstitutional, hostile or inhumane,” and it could not be invested with for-profit institutions. The money also couldn’t be redistributed to group members or “related parties.”


Last modified: 20 June 2024