The Bürgermeister-Reuter-Stiftung (Mayor Reuter Foundation) was founded on 17 April 1953 by the governing mayor Ernst Reuter under the patronage of Federal President Theodor Heuss and the founding board of trustees, which included public figures from the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, as an organisation under private law.
Where did the capital for the foundation come from?
The funds were collected by the International Rescue Committee, a charitable organisation founded in 1933 in the USA that especially looked after displaced persons and refugees, using voluntary donations from the American people. Ernst Reuter, who came to New York on 14 March 1953, understood how to make Americans aware of the difficulties of refugees in Berlin. He gained friends and helpers wherever he went. After his trip to the USA, the donations collected by Ernst Reuter amounted to approximately one million US dollars, which were put into the foundation as capital.
The Bürgermeister-Reuter-Stiftung was founded against the backdrop of the Cold War and the division of Germany. The initial purpose of the foundation was to support those who had fled to West Berlin from the GDR for political and economic reasons. In doing so, the foundation concentrated on practical aid measures for the socially disadvantaged, young people and senior citizens. The aim was to directly improve the everyday living conditions of GDR refugees. They were found a place to live, an education, a livelihood and, therefore, a home in West Berlin’s free democratic order. The foundation regarded its activities as an additional support of state benefits. Educating young people and student support were soon added as further key areas.
Even though political conditions have fundamentally transformed over the past 67 years, the foundation today still feels committed to its original founding purpose. Its mission is to offer students, young people and senior citizens in particular communal housing suitable for their respective ages. An area of particular concern is internationality and assisting people who are new to Berlin. The organisation’s other goals include child and youth recreation services, extracurricular education for young people and services for the elderly.
Arriving in Berlin
Today, the foundation provides housing notably for students, school pupils, apprentices and workers. Those who come to Berlin find their first place to stay with us. We provide apartments in various price ranges and furnishings. People from around 80 nations live with us.
Student residences, apartment buildings, assisted living for young people, apartments, shared apartments, hotels and much more. We stand for the most varied forms of temporary and communal housing. People meet in the common room (assisted living for young people) or the lounge (student residence), or in the breakfast room (hotel).
Starting your own life – education and training
We provide training in various professions, offer internship positions and accompany young people on their way to independence in our assisted living services. Language development and exercise are particularly important to us in our child day-care facilities’ pedagogical work.
Hospitality and internationality
The Bürgermeister-Reuter-Stiftung provides more than 2500 furnished apartments and single rooms for students, apprentices and professionals in 7 different locations.
Community and participation
The Bürgermeister Reuter Soziale Dienste gGmbH is the non-profit subsidiary and offers a diverse range of decentralised, mobile services and assisted living for young people as well as the creation and operation of child day-care facilities.
Service for our customers
The other subsidiary, Arwon GmbH, provides facility management services and manages hotels in Berlin.
Welcoming culture and internationality
We stand for cultural openness, understanding between people from currently 132 different countries and, therefore, also for religious neutrality. We are making a contribution so that Berlin can continue to give people the opportunity to find a home, education and income here. We would like our foreign guests to be Berlin’s ambassadors in their home countries.
Orientation towards the common good and democratic basic order
We realise our goals with communal, ecological and social responsibility. We stand for freedom and democracy in accordance with the wishes of Ernst Reuter. For us, this means political and religious neutrality and tolerance. We encourage conscious peaceful coexistence in our facilities.
Self-determination through community and education
Community is strength. Education and training are one of the most important keys to a self-determined life and they provide the ability for a person to build a working life for themselves. We want people from all over the world to be able to study and work in Berlin. As a youth welfare organisation, we are there for people who need special support. We stand for early childhood education. This is our contribution to beginning a self-determined and independent life.