Financing the work of the german caritas association

Financing the work of the german caritas association

Financing the Work of the German Caritas Association

The German Caritas Association is not an affiliated group; it is an amalgamation of its member organizations. Each member organization is financially and economically independent and controlled by the head office, but has its own supervisory board.

The financial statements 2016 (balance sheet, income statement, notes and management report) presented hereafter only the figures of the German Caritas association as the legal entity of the head office in Freiburg with its branch offices in Berlin and Brussels. It does not include the financial results of Caritas’ approximately 24,300 welfare services and facilities in Germany.


Maintaining a stable income that can finance the comprehensive work of the German Caritas Association sustainably is a difficult task. Financial results mainly result from the dependency on public funds. Altogether in 2016 the grants at EUR 94.4 million, whereof EUR 10.6 million were spent on financing the statutory tasks at the federal level of the Caritas Association’s headquarters, while EUR 83.8 million were assigned to special tasks and projects and were directly forwarded to the work of local providers.

Although for the next years a positive development of the national tax revenue as well as the church taxes is expected, a decrease in grants from these sources could not be excluded. Even if these subsidies remain nominally unchanged, owing to the increase in costs and wages in real terms they are decreasing.

The Grants We Receive Include

  • Church grants amounting to EUR 10.9 million. Of these funds EUR 7.4 million were spent on social projects and worldwide disaster relief of the International Department of Caritas Germany.
  • Grants from the Federal Government amount to EUR 73.0 million.
    EUR 68.8 million of these funds were forwarded to welfare services in Germany (including the Federal Voluntary Service, asylum and immigration advice services, youth welfare services and support services for handicapped persons) as well as international aid. Only EUR 4.2 million were spent on the statutory tasks of the federal head office.
  • Grants from the European Union amounting to EUR 1.7 million. All of these funds were directly transferred to social projects.
  • Search for charity stamps and lotteries such as GlücksSpirale and Aktion Mensch.

The movements in donations are becoming increasingly disproportionate to disasters with high levels of media coverage, leading to major changes in donation proceeds for Caritas International. While EUR 41.5 million was collected in 2015, most of it was due to aid projects in the Middle East, the victims of the earthquake in Nepal and for other emergency and disaster relief programs, EUR 30.5 million in donations were received in 2016 primarily for aid projects ameliorate the refugee situation and the victims of Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean.

Funds donated to charities through charitable legacies or bequests in wills to EUR 7.5 million. They are used according to the testator‘s wishes.

Donations and legacies are important and indispensable for the funding of the German Caritas Association. They can diminish the dependency on public funds, but they can not abolish it. Furthermore, donations and legacies are usually assigned to specific purposes, primarily to the Worldwide Aid of Caritas International, the International Department.

Investment income to EUR 10.1 million. The proceeds result from short and long-term capital investments as well as rental and lease contracts. Parts of the investment income are destined for specific purposes, e.g. international aid.

Membership fees from the member organizations of the German Caritas Association and charitable religious orders to EUR 6.9 million. The revenue from sales and events accounted for EUR 12.8 million, they are used to cover the expenses incurred.

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