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Austrian Heiress Plans To Give Away Her $27 Million Inheritance — She’s Asking For Help Spending Her Money

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Marlene Engelhorn is 32 years old, worth millions of dollars, and is taking a bold stand to redistribute her wealth.

The Austrian heiress is giving away her $27 million inheritance and she wants help spending her money.

Englehorn is a vocal advocate for change, and she’s putting her money where her mouth is, quite literally.

She’s a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, who founded BASF, a German chemical and pharmaceutical company. When Englehorn’s grandmother died in September 2022, she inherited her family’s immense wealth, yet she didn't quite see why she deserved it.

"I have inherited a fortune, and therefore power, without having done anything for it," she proclaimed, critiquing the narrow avenues through which wealth is amassed in our world.

   

   

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In 2008, Austria abolished the inheritance tax, meaning Englehorn owes no taxes on the millions she received. Yet she disagrees with the Austrian government in that regard and thinks that the wealthy class should be taxed, for the benefit of society.

Englehorn is an advocate for taxing the richest 1%. She is the co-founder of an organization called Tax Me Now, a collective of wealthy people in German-speaking countries who are addressing the massive inequalities arising from tax policies. 

She's someone who thinks outside of her own perspective and actively considers what her fellow humans need to survive and thrive, as she has.

Englehorn is also part of the organization Millionaires For Humanity, and takes a strong stance, stating, “We need redistribution of wealth, land and power and we need this to be a transparent and democratic process — to me, this means: wealth taxes!”

Englehorn has spoken out on how she's only wealthy due to winning "the birth lottery," and is actively critical of the way wealth is passed through families, without consideration for the rest of society.

Englehorn’s initiative, the Good Council for Redistribution, is seeking out Austrian citizens to help her spend her inheritance.

"If politicians don't do their job and redistribute, then I have to redistribute my wealth myself," she stated.

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She’s enlisting the help of everyday people and crowdsourcing which avenues will be the most effective to fund. Her initiative will team up with academics and civil society organizations to determine the best way to spend her inheritance.

The Good Council for Redistribution will be made up of 50 people and 15 alternates. The group will meet in Salzburg, Austria, from March until June, to decide on various social causes to give Englehorn’s money to. The people involved in the initiative will receive $1,300 for each weekend that they attend, to cover travel costs and childcare.

"Many people struggle to make ends meet with a full-time job and pay taxes on every euro they earn from work. I see this as a failure of politics, and if politics fails, then the citizens have to deal with it themselves,” she proclaimed. 

Englehorn’s decision might seem radical, yet really, it comes down to having compassion for other people. Her decision to give away her inheritance is rooted in community care, and her effort toward wealth redistribution is how true change gets made: One step small at a time.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.