1917 – 1981
The Åbo Akademi University Foundation was founded on 18 June 1917 with a starting capital of 3.47 million Finnish marks, donated by 35 private individuals. The yield of the donated capital was to be used to establish and maintain a university in Åbo (the city of Turku) named Åbo Akademi, with Swedish as its teaching language. The Åbo Akademi University was established in 1918 and was operated according to the principles contained in the Foundation’s statutes, without any support from the state or the city of Turku up to the mid-1950s. In 1956 Åbo Akademi received its first state grant corresponding to four per cent of the university’s total budget. Starting from 1963, the grant was paid as a statutory state subsidy. In the period 1970–1981, the state subsidy amounted to 75 per cent of the running expenses of the university.
1981 – 2010
By means of an agreement between the Finnish Government and the Åbo Akademi University Foundation, the state took over the primary responsibility for the finances and activities of Åbo Akademi as from 1 August 1981. The agreement contributes to safeguarding the position of Åbo Akademi, to guaranteeing academic education and research in the fields that were represented at the university when the agreement was signed, and to enabling the development of the university.
According to this agreement, the Foundation undertakes to maintain the property it owns and within which Åbo Akademi was operating at the time of the signing of the agreement in 1981. The Foundation transferred literature collections and other equipment it had acquired with state subsidies to Åbo Akademi. Museal and other collections donated to the Foundation have been deposited at Åbo Akademi under the condition that the university is to maintain and develop them. In addition, the Foundation annually transfers the yield from specified scholarship funds intended for Åbo Akademi researchers and students to the university and puts means at the disposal of the university according to the regulations of the agreement.
The legal position of the Åbo Akademi University changed as the new Finnish Universities Act came into force on 1 January 2010; Åbo Akademi then gained an independent legal status as a corporation subject to public law. The Foundation has continued to support Åbo Akademi in accordance with the 1981 agreement with the Finnish Government.