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Stiftelse, the Norwegian Foundation is an independent juridical entity that has assets at its disposal, given by will, gift, or other juridical disposition to the foundation for a given purpose; that might be for idealistic, humanitarian, cultureal, social, educational, economic or other purpose. Foundations are led by a board of directors and must follow the statute created by the founder(s). Foundations are governed by the Foundation Act of June 30, 2001 (#59).
At the creation of a foundation, the creator loses the right to dispose the assets that are transferred to the foundation. Like other companies and organizations, a foundation is an independent juridical entity, so the foundation itself can be owner, that is can accept obligations and financial commitments and it can be subject to agreements and processes. Foundations are self-owning. Thus they do not have any owner. This differs the foundation from companies, where the participants have partial ownership of the companies assets, right to part of the companies profit and governance through the power vested as owners. The foundation also differs from the organization. Like the organization, the foundation is self-owning, but in the organization the members that govern it, and it is based on the goal set by the members, not based on an asset.
Foundations have a wide specter of goals. Traditionally foundations were based to promote an idealistic goal, for instance of social, humanitarian, religious or educational nature. The activity of the foundation has then been to operate passive capital management and pay out return on capital. The foundation is also used for other types of activity or perform certain types of commercial activity. In later years it has been increasingly common for foundations to perform the idealist work themselves, to become holding companies within certain fields or as research organizations. The Constitution of Norway §108 has some limitations on the possibility to create foundations that have as purpose to make beneficiary the relatives and kin. Foundations must have Stiftelse in the official name, though through older practice some foundations are also called legat, institusjon (institution) or fond (fund).
- Bellona Foundation (environmental organization)
- Dagsavisen (newspaper)
- Fritt Ord (free press idealism and media company holding)
- Kavli Foundation (owns the Kavli and Q-Melk food companies)
- Norwegian Computing Center (research)
- Norwegian School of Management (business school)
- Queen Maud's College of Early Childhood Education (pre-school teacher college)
- SINTEF (research)
- Sparebankstiftelsen DnB NOR (owns 10.95% of DnB NOR)
- Svalbardposten (newspaper)
- Zero Emission Resource Organisation (environmental organization)
- Foundation Act of June 15, 2001 #59 (Norwegian)