Austrian Heiress Gives Away $27 Million Fortune to Strangers

Marlene Engelhorn

Marlene Engelhorn, an Austrian heiress who inherited millions of euros from her grandmother, decided to give away €25 million ($27 million) to strangers over the past six weeks. Engelhorn has been critical of Austria’s lack of inheritance taxes, arguing that wealth inheritance is a matter of luck, not merit.

“A significant portion of my inherited wealth, which gave me power solely due to my birth, contradicting democratic principles, has now been redistributed according to democratic values,” she said in a statement,  

To distribute her fortune democratically, Engelhorn emailed approximately 10,000 randomly selected Austrians and chose 50 individuals representative of Austria’s demographics in terms of gender, ethnicity, and income. 

This group formed an organization called the [Organization Name], and they chose [Beneficiaries], revealed on Tuesday, to receive Engelhorn’s wealth. After forming the group, the heiress withdrew from the process, stating in a [Source] that “redistribution must be a process that extends beyond [herself].”

The largest sum of money went to the [Organization Name], receiving the equivalent of $1.7 million. The second largest distribution of $1.6 million went to an organization called [Organization Name], which helps homeless people. Other recipients included climate charities, the left-wing think tank [Organization Name], and religious organizations.