SouthPark area resident Kurt Waldthausen is a member of over 15 local and international organizations including the Greater Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte World Affairs Council. Also on the list is the German Language and Culture Foundation, which he co-founded. The foundation provides students of Mecklenburg County public schools, colleges and universities with scholarships to study in Austria, Germany or Switzerland. The foundation helps to promote a better understanding between the people of German-speaking countries and the Charlotte region. For more information, visit www.germanfoundation.com.
I’m inspired by my grandfather, Walter Cramer, who spoke up against indifference and the Nazi regime in Germany during a dark period in German history and by so many other humanitarians around the world who every day choose the difficult path of doing “the right thing,” oftentimes risking their lives.
If I had to tell people one thing about the German Language & Culture Foundation, it would be that it provides students an experience that not only will begin to broaden their outlook on what the rest of the world is like, but probably change their outlook on the country visited, establish transatlantic friendships and make them a better-informed person. Founded by the German speaking business community of this region, it is a great opportunity for us to give back to a community that has welcomed us with such wonderful Southern hospitality.
Knowing students are able to experience the world because of an organization I co-founded feels very rewarding and is probably the most meaningful community effort I have spearheaded, been personally and very closely associated with, in my life. Over 100 students have traveled to Europe on our scholarships during the last four years, and hopefully many more will in years to come.
Charlotte is special because I have witnessed how a community can grow from a rather sleepy, small town in 1982 to an amazingly international city that I proudly represent at every opportunity I get.