M Philanthropy

The Founding - A Look Back In Time


As we launch Annual Giving 2023, we want to remind our community of our school’s history and the tangible impacts of your philanthropic efforts and funding.  How you contribute to this community today will affect future generations of students, the excellence of MIS education, and even our physical campus and environment.  

MIS was founded as a non-profit organization 57 years ago.  On the morning of September 19, 1966, Munich International School opened its doors for the first time to 120 students in grades Reception through 8.  Prior to MIS, the only English-language medium school in the area was operated by the American military.  As the US Army reduced its Munich-based forces, the diplomatic and corporate communities were expanding operations in Munich.  The need for an international school serving a diverse and mobile expat community became essential.   

At that point in time, multiple individuals came together to create an incredible legacy.  These individuals founded a school that has served multiple generations of students. MIS has graduated 3,298 students.  Thousands more passed through our school’s doors for multiple years before moving on to other parts of the globe.  Each student and each family have left a footprint, a legacy, an impact (i.e. a strong effect and influence on the school).     

Twenty thousand USD was the estimated start-up cost for the school.  Adjusted for inflation, that equals 190,000 USD today.  Money was not the only obstacle.  Human capital was just as essential.  Weert Hunersen initiated discussions around the need for a school and he also became the first Headmaster.  Funding was organized mainly through the efforts of George W. Snyder.  Snyder was the manager of Pan Am’s Munich office, and he was known to be an “extremely civic-minded altruist”.  He negotiated funding from major airlines, radio companies, and other corporations and individuals. Radio Free Europe was the first donor, with a 10,000 USD donation.  Radio Liberty donated 5,000 USD.  A fundraiser and dance was held at the Lowenbrau Keller.  “Though other donations were soon to follow, raising money was no easy” writes Nathan R. Harrington, author of Munich International School: The First Twenty-Five Years.  Later contributing corporations were Texas Instruments, and First State Street Bank of Boston.  Boeing provided 20,000 USD and Snyder’s employer, Pan Am eventually donated 75,000 USD.   

Through these initial donations, the school was able to immediately invest in a larger campus.  One of MIS’s first teachers, Ingrid Hesse remembers that when the school moved to the Schloss just a couple years after opening its doors, “it wasn’t cleaned”.  So, the teachers swept out the historic building and got to work.   

At that point, the Schloss was the single building at the school.  The barns were later converted into the Senior School and all the other buildings on our campus have been built over multiple decades. The old sports hall building is now under reconstruction and will become the Learning NeXus. 

To date, 1.5 million Euro has been raised.  Annual Giving 2023 is dedicated to funding the interiors of the Learning NeXus.  Through the Learning NeXus, we will provide our students with a futuristic workspace. Head of School, Mr. Timothy Thomas explains that “the Learning Nexus will reflect adult working spaces, like one might find at a tech company. Students will have access to academic resources, human resources, and spaces that suit the research, ideation, and creation elements of our modern curriculum. The Learning Nexus will help make school more authentic, more vital, and more inspiring for our students”.  

Thank you for your contribution!  

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