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Motivations for the foundations
A pious endeavour for fellow citizens, families and salvation

Saint Ulrich, statue at the Augsburg Cathedral



With the Fuggerei, Jakob Fugger was continuing a Christian tradition: donation as an expression of one's responsibility to God and to one's fellow citizens. At that time, charitable foundations were a matter of honour and social position – especially for successful merchant families. Jakob therefore established the Fuggerei on behalf of his deceased brothers Ulrich and Georg as well. It thus became an expression of common charitable aims for the executors. Religious goals played another important role. Then as now, Catholics believe in purgatory as a purification of the soul. Charity, indulgences and penitences can help with the purgatorial process.

The Fuggerei was part of the great work

Jakob Fugger was deeply religious and remained with the old Catholic Church. A sign of this is the fact that the foundations have a Catholic aspect, such as the prayers in the Fuggerei and the memoria of the monks in St. Anna. The Fuggerei is the best-known of three foundations that were established together in the 1521 deed of foundation. These included the housing complex for fellow citizens, the Fugger Chapel in St. Anna Church as an honorific work for the family and the financing of a sermon endowment in St. Moritz for the improvement of religious provision in the parish.

St. Ulrich as a partner in the firm

Jakob Fugger designated an account in the firm (also on behalf of his deceased brothers) in the name of Augsburg's patron saint, St. Ulrich, which was provided an endowment of 10,000 florins. It guaranteed 500 florins in interest yield annually for the foundations. Thus, St Ulrich, who was canonised in 993, became a partner in the firm. The concept behind this: A saint as an account holder was meant to bring blessings for the firm's work. In addition, the church only sanctioned interest collection of 5%. Within this framework, it was possible to increase the endowment with a good conscience. Including a saint in one's firm was based on precedents in Italy and was practiced by many other German benefactor families.

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