The Nicolaus Gercken Family Foundation was established in 1607 in Salzwedel. In his will, the founder Nicolaus III Gercken (1555 – 1610) set forth that the income of the foundation be used to support the academic education of the descendents of his grandfather, Nicolas I. Gercken, (1501 – 1579). Furthermore the founder stipulated that family members who have fallen upon hard times be supported. The endowment consisted mainly of agricultural lands. To this day, land lease is the main source of income of the foundation. The foundation’s performance and balance sheet over the centuries can be found here:

A detailed description of the foundation’s history can be found here:

Membership in the family foundation is free of charge. Applicants merely must prove their descendence from the founder’s grandfather.

The amount of money granted depends on the foundation’s income. Newborns receive a welcome dotation of 250 EUR if they are registered before their 2nd birthday. The foundation pays high school, college and university students grants. Currently a completed high school diploma or Abitur earns a one-time grant of 250 EUR. For the first six college semesters, upon completion of each semester, 260 EUR are granted.  Thus, 2060 EUR are granted to each college student family member.  Those who have finished a doctorate degree receive an additional grant of 500 EUR upon graduation.

The organs of the foundation are the family conference, which is held at least every three years in Salzwedel, the patronate and the financial auditors. The members of the patronate and the auditors are elected by the family conference for a period of six years.  Family conference XXVIII. is scheduled to be held on May 11th, 2025.

The foundation treats all humans equal, irrespective of gender, political orientation, skin color, religion or lifestyle, in accordance with applicable German law. The foundation prefers communication per e-mail to keep the cost of administration low.

The image shows the plaque of the grave of the founder’s grandfather from 1579. This plaque is located inside St. Catherine’s church in Salzwedel.

Epitaph for Georg II Gercken, † 1726 , the fourth patron of the foundation. FotoClub Salzwedel e.V. for NGS.