Vienna, Austria – Marlene Engelhorn, a 31-year-old Austrian millionaire and descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, the founder of BASF, has unveiled an innovative approach to distribute her substantial €25 million inheritance from her late grandmother, Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto.
The heiress, who inherited the staggering sum in September 2022, is pioneering a groundbreaking initiative named the “Good Council for Redistribution.” Motivated by a sense of responsibility and a desire to address the lack of state taxation on her inheritance, Engelhorn is involving the Austrian citizens in deciding the fate of her wealth.
In a unique move, 10,000 individuals were randomly selected to participate in the initiative, with plans to eventually choose 50 of them to form a council responsible for determining the allocation of funds. Attendees of the council meetings will be compensated with €1,200 for each weekend they contribute, and provisions for childcare and interpreters will be made available for those in need.
Engelhorn sees the initiative as a “service to democracy,” emphasizing that she holds no veto rights and is entrusting these 50 individuals with the responsibility of deciding how her assets should be utilized.
“If the 50 people cannot reach a ‘widely supported’ decision on the use of the funds, the money will revert to me,” Engelhorn stated. She expressed frustration with the political system, stating, “If politicians don’t do their job and redistribute, then I have to redistribute my wealth myself.” In her view, the struggles of many individuals to make ends meet despite full-time employment and heavy taxation reveal a failure of politics, prompting her to take matters into her own hands.
This unprecedented initiative by Engelhorn underscores a growing trend of individuals challenging traditional wealth distribution methods and seeking innovative, community-driven solutions to address societal inequalities. The outcome of the Good Council for Redistribution will undoubtedly be closely watched as it unfolds in the coming weeks.