Heiress gives away €25 million

32-year-old Marlene Engelhorn, a descendant of the founder of the major German chemical and pharmaceutical company BASF, is giving away most of her inheritance to organizations chosen by a group of 50 Austrian citizens assigned to the task earlier this year selected .

The BBC reports that €25 million will go to 77 organisations, charities and think tanks working on a range of issues including environmental protection, education, integration, healthcare and social issues, as well as poverty, homelessness and affordable housing in Austria.

One million euros went to the Momentum Institute, a left-wing think tank, and Attac Austria, which, according to the BBC, opposes neoliberal economic policies and ‘deregulated financial markets’.

The recipients were chosen by a panel selected by a pollster as representative of Austrian society.

In a statement, Engelhorn said: “A large part of my inherited wealth, which elevated me to a position of power simply by virtue of my birth, which contradicts every democratic principle, has now been redistributed in accordance with democratic values.”

She inherited millions when her grandmother, Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto, died in September 2022. Forbes magazine estimated Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto’s fortune at $4.2 billion (€3.8 billion).

The BBC reports that the amount Engelhorn will keep has not been disclosed, but in 2021 she said she wanted to hand out at least 90% of her wealth because she had done nothing to earn it and had only gotten lucky in a “birth lottery.”

According to Wikipedia, Engelhorn studied German language and literature at the University of Vienna, but did not receive a degree. In an interview published by Le MondeEngelhorn said she would like to work as a proofreader for a publishing company.

(Image: Jan Zappner / re:publica,

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