Supporting anthroposophy without being a member

Supporting anthroposophy without being a member

29 August 2019 Marc Desaules 7567 views

The Goetheanum Fund – an initiative of the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland – has become an important tool in support of anthroposophic research as well as a movement that has grown beyond the boundaries of the Anthroposophical Society.

Many people value and use anthroposophical products such as Demeter food, cosmetics and medicines and the services provided by hospitals, Waldorf Schools, curative education and social therapy centres, etc. But often they know little about their underlying quality or the long years of research invested in them. The Goetheanum Fund aims to make these «fruits» of anthroposophy widely known and accessible in order to support their development.

Challenges of our time

Over the years a number of eight-page long magazines have been published on a variety of topics: the purpose of cow horns, a humane medicine, developmental stages in education, supporting independence, a dignified end of life, the sources of art, economic solidarity, bees and their relationship to us, responsible seed production, healthy child development, the illusion of unlimited growth, mistletoe and cancer, and biodynamic preparations. The forthcoming autumn edition will focus on ‹climate change›. The authors are practitioners, scientists, personalities of the public life and artists, all of whom are determined to stand up to the challenges of our time.

Several hundred thousand copies of these magazines have been distributed as supplements in a number of German, Swiss and French weekend or Sunday papers (NZZ am Sonntag, Sonntagszeitung, Schweiz am Sonntag, Schweiz am Wochenende, Le Temps). Thirteen such large-scale campaigns have been undertaken so far, each including an appeal to support anthroposophical research and development in the relevant field.

For the benefit of associations and Sections

As a result of these campaigns, many small donations – 60 Swiss Francs on average – come together and 1.2 million Swiss Francs have been raised over the last ten years (after deduction of printing and advertising costs). The donations come largely from the public realm, from a strong and growing movement of around 5000 supporters on the margins of the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland, which has 3500 members (only one in eight donors is a member). All these people support the fruits of anthroposophy year after year. The money goes directly into research; there are no administrative fees. With any funds raised by the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland, which has charitable status and is exempt from tax, it is not the board that decides on its further use but the professional associations in the country in question and the relevant Sections of the School of Spiritual Science.

When a campaign comes to an end, they can access the funds raised in accordance with their needs and initiatives by simply sending a form to the Anthroposophical Society which only holds the money. The system is highly effective and works without committees or elaborate allocation procedures.

A concept worth adopting

The idea of an initiative such as the Fonds Goetheanum (Goetheanum Fund), which is based on the recognition of the fruits of anthroposophy by the broader public, is not new. It is one of the three financial components proposed by Rudolf Steiner at the foundation of the Anthroposophical Society during the Christmas Conference of 1923/1924: in short, this is about giving those who don’t wish to become members of the Anthroposophical Society the chance to support the anthroposophical cause in order to make sure that the fruitful work that they appreciate can continue. What the Goetheanum Fund has achieved in Switzerland can be replicated in other countries. The Anthroposophical Societies in those countries can show their commitment to the Goetheanum impulse both by supporting research and development locally and by supporting the activities that arise from the Goetheanum in Dornch in general (CH). Then the idea of a global Anthroposophical Society as a confederation of country societies representing the universal Goetheanum impulse together can become reality.