A young man loses both parents at the age of ten and is placed in an orphanage where he trains to be a baker. By chance his design talent is recognized and his life takes a different course. It’s the 1850’s and the young man in this story is my great-grandfather, Wilhelm Maybach. With the patronage of Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm went on to design the first hi-speed internal combustion engine, motorize the first boat and cycle, and in 1901 design the first Mercedes – the first modern car.
It’s this story that inspired me to double down on my great-grandfather’s legacy and invest in talented young adults facing adversity. I imagined a mentor and protégé who worked together on a project with significant and measurable impact in their lives and in the world.
Since 2007 we have worked with the Harvard School of Public Health to advance Dr. Conrad Muzoora to become Kenya’s most published medical researcher; Sbu Duma to train with the Argentine masters to become the first black polo player on the South African national team; and Nicole Tung to advance her craft photo documenting the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and to later capture the Arab Spring at its birth. We have advanced the careers of four food movement leaders through cooperation with Sarah Weiner at the Good Food Foundation. We connected Vahakn Arslanian with Julian Schnabel and Garrett Suhrie with David Lachapelle to help them find their voices as international artists.
While our mission as Foundation has been the mentoring of excellence in global leadership it remains a priority to acknowledge our heritage of innovation and to connect our past to a meaningful and relevant future. To that end we are establishing the Maybach Museum and archive in Germany featuring the world’s first hi-speed train, fully restored to its 1930’s élan and powered by my grandfather Karl Maybach’s original engines.