Arts Sponsorship (AKF)

Arbeitskreis Arts Sponsorship (AKF) at Folkwang Museum, 2010  © Herbert Höltgen

Topics discussed by the AKF have included:

... Digitalisation and Culture – Using New Media Correctly / Culture and Branding: Who Helps Whom? / Art Tax or Tax Art? / On Monetary Value: Benefits and Drawbacks / Guerilla Marketing and Participation – For and with Culture...

In 1996, the Kulturkreis established the Arbeitskreis Kultursponsoring (AKS, Working Group for Cultural Sponsoring), which was renamed the Arbeitskreis Kulturförderung (AKF) in 2017. The working group is a unique network for corporations and corporate foundations committed to art and culture. Members from all industries exchange perspectives about the goals and frameworks involved in all forms of corporate cultural support, including sponsoring, corporate volunteering, corporate cultural programmes, public-private partnerships, and arts patronage.


The AKF connects culturally committed enterprises, facilitating an industry-wide exchange that pools together various forms of experience and knowledge. In sessions that take place every six months, the AKF aims to professionalise corporate support for the arts. Each session is dedicated to a different topic, which is explored from multiple perspectives through presentations, examples of best practices, and interactive workshops.

The AKF represents the interests of its members in questions of cultural sponsorship and advocates for a cultural policy framework that supports corporate cultural engagement. Through its expert knowledge and professional public relations work, the AKF raises awareness of corporate cultural engagement within society. To honour companies that have demonstrated a commitment to culture, the AKF initiated the Deutscher Kulturförderpreis (German Arts Sponsorship Award), which is conferred annually by the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft in partnership with Handelsblatt.

Working Group Sessions

The next AKF session takes place in November 2020 in Stuttgart at LBBW. Please find here an overview of the topics and hosts of previous AKF-working sessions.

Vorstand des AKF

Anja Lehner, Leiterin Corporate Marketing & Sponsorship, Daimler AG (Vorsitzende)
Rando Aust, Head of Corporate Citizenship, ECE Projektmanagement G.m.b.H. & Co. KG (stv. Vorsitzender)
Dorothea Gregor, Project Manager, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Jens Häußler, Teamlead Corporate Sponsoring, Siemens AG
Pia D'Hondt, Besuchermanagerin Kunstmessen Messemanagement, Koelnmesse GmbH
Kirsten Wagner, Geschäftsführerin, NORDMETALL-Stiftung

AKF Members

At present, some 50 companies are AKF members. With regard to size and industry, they represent a cross section of the German economy. They are united by the idea that essential impulses for creative and unconventional thought and action can be gained through dialogue with artists. Simultaneously, they represent the numerous potential forms that cooperation between culture and industry can take.

Aareal Bank AG, Wiesbaden
Ahlers AG, Herford
Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG, Iserlohn
AUDI AG, Ingolstadt
AXA Art Versicherung AG, Köln
BASF SE, Ludwigshafen
BASF Coatings GmbH, Münster
Bayer AG, Leverkusen
Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg
Berliner Volksbank eG, Berlin
Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh
BMW Group, München
British American Tobacco (Germany) GmbH, Hamburg
Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e. V. (BDI), Berlin
Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken e.V. (BVR), Berlin
Commerzbank-Stiftung, Frankfurt a. M.
crescendo - das KlassikMagazin / Port Media GmbH, München
Daimler AG, Stuttgart
DATEV eG, Nürnberg
DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, Frankfurt a. M.
Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt a. M.
Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband e. V., Berlin
DIE ZEIT, Hamburg
Dr. Arend Oetker Holding GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin
ECE Projektmanagement G.m.b.H. & Co. KG, Hamburg
EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, Karlsruhe
E.ON SE, Essen
Ernst & Young AG WPG, Eschborn
Evonik Industries AG, Essen
GASAG AG, Berlin
Hamburger Volksbank, Hamburg
innogy Stiftung, Essen
Itzehoer Versicherungen AG, Itzehoe
KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt a. M.
Koelnmesse GmbH, Köln
KPMG AG WPG, München
KRAVAG-Versicherungen, Hamburg
Lange Uhren GmbH, Glashütte
NORDMETALL-Stiftung, Hamburg
ODGERS BERNDTSON Unternehmensberatung GmbH, Frankurt
Otto Group, Hamburg
Philip Morris GmbH, München
PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH WPG, Frankfurt a. M.
RheinEnergieStiftung, Köln
Siemens AG, München
TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen
thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, Duisburg
UniCredit Bank AG, München
UNIQA Österreich Versicherungen AG, Köln
Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg
Vollack Gruppe, Karlsruhe
Werbegemeinschaft Sony Center GbR, Berlin
Wilo-Foundation, Dortmund

AKF Award

Preisträger AKF-Award 2020

Stiftung Ahlers Pro Arte &


Each year, the AKF awards a prize for an exceptionally innovative cultural sponsorship project initiated by one of its members. Since 2012, this distinction is made during one of the working group’s sessions.

Gewinner AKF-Award 2012-2020

Stiftung Ahlers Pro Arte für "#Depicting Women" und Volkswagen für "Volkswagen ART4ALL" (2020)
Commerzbank-Stiftung für "ZukunftsGut" und
Vollack Gruppe für "Karlsruhe Multiple" (2019)
GASAG AG für "ACADEMY" (2018)
DATEV eG für "Talking about Borders" (2017)
KfW Stiftung für "Cairo Short Storiees" (2016)

KfW Stiftung für "Cairo Short Stories" (2016)
Otto Group für "The Young ClassX MusikMobil" (2015)
GASAG AG für den "berliner kindertheaterpreis" (2014)
ZEIT Verlagsgruppe für den "Bundesweiten Vorlesetag" (2013)
BASF SE für "School of Rock" (2012)

The Power of the Arts © Philip Morris GmbH

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Continue to:

Deutscher Kulturförderpreis 2015, DSGV Berlin © Peter Himsel

Arts Sponsorship Award

Dr. Susanne Ehrenfried ( ACC) and Dr. August Markl (Chairman ACC), Hamburg 2016 © Henning Rogge

Corporate Collecting

CEEP Workshop © Helene Altenstein

Cultural Education

Behaim Globe, Jahrtausendturm, Magdeburg © Holger Talinski

Cultural Tasks Abroad