The Self-Image of the SK Stiftung Kultur

The SK Stiftung Kultur der Sparkasse KölnBonn is an independent private foundation based in Cologne. With an endowment of 38.3 million euros it is one of the largest foundations in the Deutschen Sparkassen- und Giroverband (German Savings Banks Association, DSGV).

According to its charter, the Foundation, which was established in 1975, has the purpose of promoting the social and cultural relationships between peoples and as such to offer a wide range of educational and recreational activities. Thus, the foundation serves as an important building block in the social commitment of its benefactor in the Cologne/Bonn metropolitan region. The Foundation’s main activities have evolved over the years to further topics such as cultural education and mediation in literature and in the field of media arts, the preservation and the advancement of the Cologne regional language, “Kölsch,” as well as fine art photography, and the documentation of dance.

“Promote, Preserve, and Inspire”

As an foundation the SK Stiftung Kultur has defined certain topics that it recognizes as deserving of promotion and support: it has acquired a number of photographs and dance archives that are important to the city of Cologne and its history; the Foundation has furthermore undertaken the task of their respective preservation, research, and presentation. The dynamic approach as concerns the collection has played an important role in the Foundation’s work ever since; this approach may take different forms depending on the theme. Temporary exhibitions, tours, lectures and workshops allow visitors the opportunity to have access to the collections.

The issue of education is firmly rooted in the Foundation’s mandate and has been since its founding. In fulfilling its objectives, the Foundation is continuously breaking new ground and has developed programs on the cutting edge, for example, at the request of the various target groups.

The aspect of preservation and advancement is an important part in promoting the Cologne regional language, “Kölsch.” Through a wide range of seminars and a variety of events scheduled throughout the year, the Foundation is committed to keeping one of the most popular German regional languages alive.

In addition to the many operational tasks, through its work, the Foundation considers itself to be an initiator of projects. As such the Foundation initiates programs that it supervises for a certain period of time as the project sponsor until the project is self-sufficient or released to another trusteeship. As a result, meaningful initiatives that are important for the cultural scene in Cologne have been made possible, such as the Theaterserver (Theater Server, an online theater program listing) LabNRW/Die Kunstproduzenten (a media arts collective), or the Kölner Literaturatelier (Cologne Literature Studio).

“A Strong Foundation”

The sustained support provided by the benefactor, the Sparkasse Cologne/Bonn, is a contribution toward social responsibility concerning the cultural interests of the region in which it conducts its business. The strong network and cooperation in the local and cultural spheres as well as the extensive expertise and commitment of the Foundation’s staff are the cornerstones for successful work.