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How do you create an alumni network? Lessons from the Robert Bosch Stiftung

Author: The Robert Bosch Stiftung
Published Date: 3 October 2017

In 2017, the Robert Bosch Stiftung launched the International Alumni Centre, a cross-foundation, cross-sector competence centre for change-driven alumni work.   The International Alumni Centre commenced operations on June 27 2017 at its office in Linienstrasse 65a in Berlin. It is led by Darius Polok, who himself is a former alumnus of the Foundation and has long been the CEO and cofounder of MitOst - a civil organisation that was set up twenty years ago by alumni from the Lectureship Program of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

"In an era of dwindling cohesion within society and a renewal of international animosities, we are consciously harnessing the power of cooperation between foundations and building close working relationships with partners from other sectors. We regard alumni as partners and co-creators of peaceful, fair, and forward-looking societies. By setting up iac Berlin as an open platform, we want to help former scholarship holders, funding recipients, and foundation employees come together as a global network of people who drive change and shape society," explains Professor Joachim Rogall, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Working globally and across sectors, iac Berlin brings together private and public bodies and their networks, both in a digital and analog manner, in order to define joint goals and develop solutions for complex challenges. Knowledge and experience are pooled; new networking methods are developed and made available to stakeholders in society in the form of "open knowledge." iac Berlin advises foundations and other charitable organisations on their alumni work, assists them with practical solutions for building change-driven networks, and initiates new forms of cooperation.

It also coordinates the newly founded Bosch Alumni Network on behalf of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The aim of the network is to bring together former scholarship holders, people who received long-term funding, and foundation employees, support their activities, maintain contact with the Foundation, and work in partnership with them in the furtherance of the Foundation’s goals. This global network of stakeholders in society comes together at - a portal that has been developed in conjunction with the network members in line with the motto "Let’s do it together!". 

You can see more about creating a global alumni network in their recent Playbook here.