AURELIUS employees campaign for refugees

On October 1, 2015, the employees and Executive Board of AURELIUS laid the foundation for a long-term aid program for refugees with a symbolic action. A minibus full of toys collected by the employees was handed over in collaboration with Flüchtlingshilfe München in the main refugee processing facility at Bayernkaserne, Munich.

"We are aware that toys do not save lives. But if we can contribute to easing the often difficult fate of refugees with this and further actions in the future, then we have already accomplished something", says Dr. Dirk Markus, Chief Executive Officer of AURELIUS. The toys were donated by employees of the AURELIUS Group and doubled by the Executive Board. 

What we do

It all started with toys

We just wanted to help, quickly. Do something nice for people who had been uprooted through no fault of their own. 

It started in October 2015 with a few Aurelius staffers’ spur-of-the-moment idea to take a minibus full of toys to the kids at a refugee processing facility in Munich. Over the years it has steadily expanded and has accomplished much. As of November 2019 we are gratified to say that the donations we have generated have supported numerous beneficial projects and activities.

Many of our portfolio companies also help refugees in many different ways, and support our efforts or our Initiative directly.

Helping people help themselves

It’s something we still care deeply about. Our donation campaign at the company Christmas Party for employees and Executive Board is a tradition. 

But we have moved the focus from the short-term fun of playing with new toys to long-term success through education. We see education as the key to sustainable integration, not just to make it easier for refugees to find employment, but also to improve the outlook for better and happier lives overall.


Generous donations for a variety of education projects

Our employees and Executive Board are passionately and financially involved in numerous aid projects for refugees:

  • Scholarships for successful careers: Since 2018 we have supported the START Foundation, which supports high-achieving youths from migrant families. 

​More about START


START-Stiftung gGmbH is a leading Civic Leadership program – an education and involvement program for promising young people with migration experience.

For three years the START Foundation, a subsidiary of the charitable Hertie Foundation, accompanies and helps grant recipients take responsibility for a vital democracy and cohesive society.  

START is thus a talent forge for outstanding youth, an incubator for new initiatives, and a loudspeaker for the protection of the values of a free society.

START Bavaria gets started, thanks to the Aurelius Refugee Initiative

An initial € 100,000 donation by the Aurelius Refugee Initiative in August 2018 enabled the launch of the first START class in Bavaria with 16 grant recipients. The program provides these students with extracurricular instruction in values and skills which will help them take an active part in our society and democracy. Grantees learn how to take responsibility successfully, and set examples for others.

Personally involved: Dr. Dirk Markus on the Board of Trustees of the START Foundation

The foundation works throughout Germany with partners from government, the private sector and society. Dr. Dirk Markus is member of the Boards of Trustees. Currently START is supporting around 500 young people from over 60 countries of origin.

For more information see