Press Release


More than €4.2 million for the "ZF hilft." project "100 Years – 100 Schools“

  • Global commitment based on three pillars: infrastructure, quality and mobility
  • The UBS Optimus Foundation added a further €1.8 million to the donated amount
  • ZF employees will decide on a new, global relief project

Friedrichshafen. The fundraising campaign for the educational project “100 Years – 100 Schools” announced in the anniversary year of ZF Friedrichshafen AG is now completed. A total of more than €4.2 million were raised. The money is being invested in building and enhancing 100 educational institutions in impoverished regions around the globe. Additionally, children from 100 African villages will receive bicycles to get to school every day.

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More than €4.2 million for the

Many people responded to the call for donations. ZF employees around the globe, ZF retirees and the Group itself as well as the city of Friedrichshafen and its citizens contributed to this campaign. And last but not least, companies from the region also gave generously. As a result, an amount of more than €2.4 million was raised at the end of the campaign. "This is a great result. I am really proud of what we managed to collect around the globe," commented Board Member Human Resources and "ZF hilft." Chairman Jürgen Holeksa on the final amount of money raised. Achim Dietrich, chairman of the ZF Group Works Council and deputy chairman of "ZF hilft.", was also very pleased with the outcome and emphasized: "The result again illustrates the strong social commitment of our employees, which is something they have already proven very impressively several times in the past."

The UBS Optimus Foundation finally added over €1.8 million to the donated amount of more than €2.4 million collected by ZF. "We appreciate ZF's impressive efforts and are happy to be able to give even more children around the world access to a better education thanks to this partnership," says Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation, regarding the commitment of everybody involved.

For what has the money been used?

The "100 Years – 100 Schools" campaign has been the largest relief project in the history of ZF so far. Above all, the fundraising campaign is aimed at creating a basic education infrastructure and thus the prerequisites for the transfer of knowledge in various poverty-stricken regions around the globe. With this goal in mind, a total of 30 new schools are now being built in Bangladesh, India and Sierra Leone – mainly in slums or on their outskirts. The timeline for the completion of the new educational institutions extends into 2018.

Where the required schools are already in place, there is often a lack of means to safeguard the quality of education. This is why "ZF hilft." also focused on integrating young specialists into schools for two years in order to enhance the quality of education, provide additional training to teachers, improve curricula and offer adequate teaching materials. The project identified 70 different educational institutions in China, Mexico, Nepal and Peru as well as in the Philippines which now have the opportunity to introduce new levels of education quality. For these initiatives and the construction of new schools, "ZF hilft." closely cooperated with its long-standing partner, the "YOU Foundation", formerly named "Foundation UNESCO – Education for Children in Need". The timeline of this subproject also extends into 2018.

In cooperation with the international relief organization "World Bicycle Relief", the nonprofit association focused on mobility as the third pillar of its far-reaching relief campaign. Even today, it is still very difficult for students from remote villages in Zambia and South Africa to reach their schools –one third of them walk for more than two hours. Now, robust bicycles for children in need at 100 schools will remedy this urgent problem. This means of transport will allow the students to reach school four times faster. All in all, more than 3,000 bicycles which are now improving the students' mobility were delivered to Zambia and South Africa.

UNESCO Special Ambassador Ute-Henriette Ohoven already paid homage to the extraordinary social commitment of ZF and its employees. "This project is unique and without equal anywhere in the world," she said during the 100 Years of ZF Ceremony when she presented the "Piramide con Mani" award to ZF Board Member Human Resources Jürgen Holeksa on behalf of all employees, the "ZF hilft." organization and the company. ZF is the first company to receive this award. Among recipients of this award are the two Nobel peace prize winners Yasser Arafat and the Dalai Lama.

"ZF hilft." will shortly launch a new, global relief campaign. In a ballot conducted across all ZF locations worldwide, the employees of ZF will decide on which project is to be supported.


Torsten Fiddelke

Commercial and Financial Communication

+49 7541 77-7924