On Service-Learning, who we are & what we do

Stiftung Lernen durch Engagement


Our vision is a society that values the competencies of everyone and embraces cultural diversity – based on common democratic values and mutual empathy. It is our mission to develop and establish Service-Learning* so that young people, regardless of their background, can experience high-quality education while reaching their full individual potential and taking an active part in our democratic society.   


Service-Learning is an educational approach which combines formal learning with meaningful civic engagement. The combination of learning and civic engagement reflects two core goals of Service-Learning: strengthening democracy through changing learning culture. Service-Learning is suitable for all school types, age groups, and subjects and can be adapted to a variety of educational concepts and backgrounds. We concentrate on students in the general school system (from elementary school to vocational school).


Our organization is based in the heart of Berlin and comprises 17 dedicated staff members and a network of over 240 participating schools as well as over 70 partners from civil society (e.g. community foundations, volunteer agencies) in Germany. We are grateful for numerous cooperation partnerships with ministries of education and the continuous support of both public as well as private donors.

Stiftung Lernen durch Engagement ("Foundation Learning through Civic Engagement") was founded in 2017 as a spin-off of the Freudenberg Foundation which had run Service-Learning programs since 2001. We are recognized as a non-profit organization and member in various networks.


Our three fields of action:

  1. Strengthening good practice of Service-Learning in schools

  2. Collaboration with politics on a national and state-wide level

  3. Raising public and scientific awareness of Service-Learning

At the core of our work is the Network Learning through Civic Engagement. Its members exchange ideas (e.g. at an annual national conference), reflect experiences and receive a variety of further qualifications. We continuously aim at improving the quality of Service-Learning practice and increasing awareness of Service-Learning in education politics.  

Our state recognized trainings support and qualify teachers both online and on-site. Aiming at a sustainable change of schooling, we also train Service-Learning coaches: These are usually employees of local organisations promoting democracy and civic engagement, which assist schools in implementing Service-Learning. They introduce Service-Learning to schools, provide trainings for teachers, and help with organisational tasks.

Can Service-Learning Save Our World?

In this video first published in 2020, Prof. Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa, gives an inspiring talk on Service-Learning and its impact as Democracy Education:

English with German subtitles | 39:12 Min | 2020
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