In 2007 benefactors Martin and Gerda Essl and their children decided to donate a substantial portion of their assets to social activities.
The Martin and Gerda Essl Social Prize Private Nonprofit Foundation ("Essl Foundation") was established in March 2008. It was endowed with adequate financial resources in order to ensure the annual presentation of the Essl Social Prize and other social activities in the long term - even after the death of the benefactors.
The tasks of the foundation are concentrated on the following areas of priority:
- Awarding the Essl Social Prize
- Zero project Report and Conference
- General philantropic support (One example of this is "Sinnstiften", a joint initiative by private Austrian benefactors)
The purpose established in the deed of foundation is:
- to support people in need and
- to promote public awareness about the necessity of support for those in need and to provide the individuals concerned with the appropriate training.
Decisions are made by the board of directors, which from the outset has included:
- Martin Essl
- Gerhard Eckert
- Rudolf Humer