History of Kone Foundation

Kone Foundation was established by Heikki H. Herlin and Pekka Herlin in 1956. The foundation cooperated closely with Kone Corporation, as its founding members were executives at Kone.
Susanna Majuri: Kaksoset (Gemini) 2009.

Its operations were modest at first.

In the 1980s, its goals were further specified, its operating methods became established and it found its place in the field of foundations in Finland.

Pekka Herlin died in 2003. After his death, Kone Foundation became increasingly independent of Kone Corporation. Today, decision-making at the foundation is completely independent of the company.

However, most of its assets continue to be invested in Kone shares. The spectacular success of Kone Corporation in the 2000s has enabled the foundation to rapidly expand its operations.

Today, Kone Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation. Its goal is to make the world a better place by advancing bold initiatives in research and the arts.

In addition to scientific research, the foundation also supports art and culture and seeks to be an active operator.

In terms of art and research policy, Kone Foundation wants to be an alert provider of funding that seeks and offers alternatives to the mainstream.

History of Kone Foundation

Tarja Vikström, MA, starts a series of columns in which we learn about the Kone Foundation’s 60-year history. First we will look at the time when the foundation was established, learn about President Heikki Herlin (often referred to by his Finnish honorary title “vuorineuvos”), and look at some of the stories about the grant process in the 1950s and 1960s. In the second part, we will meet Professors Emeritus Risto Alapuro and Erkki Haukioja, previous members of the Kone Foundation Board of Trustees. In the third part, we will discuss the years of change and growth after the turn of the millennium, when the dust of the good old boys from by-gone decades was finally shaken off and Hanna Nurminen and Ilona Herlin laid a new foundation for Kone Foundation’s operations. Finally, we will take a look at the foundation’s whole 60-year history, and show where the money came from and where it went, and how Kone Foundation became a significant promotor of Finnish culture and science.

Read the fourth part 60 years of Kone Foundation

Read the third part River eddies

Read the second part The busy years of growth

Read the first part Grant applications submitted by the president of the corporation

Read also Tarja’s blog entry Good brothers and the best of sisters


Previous members of the Board of Trustees:

  •    Heikki H. Herlin, 1956–1989
  •    Pekka Herlin, 1956–2002
  •    Academician Kustaa Vilkuna, 1956–1980
  •    Bank Manager Kaarlo Kalliala, 1956–1970
  •    Professor Kauko Sipponen, 1980–1997
  •    Professor, Academician Erik Allardt, 1981–1995
  •    Doctor Gerhard Wendt, 1989–1994
  •    Chief Executive Matti Matinpalo, 1987–1989
  •    Professor Erkki Haukioja, 1994–2011
  •    Professor Risto Alapuro, 1995–2014
  •    Professor Maria Lähteenmäki, 2011–2015
  •    Visual artist Terike Haapoja, 2016–2018