The Jewish Museum Berlin has the legal status of a foundation regulated by public law and thus carries the full name "Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation." The purpose of the Foundation is to research and describe Jewish life in Berlin and Germany and to create a meeting place.
To this end, the 14th German Bundestag passed the law to form a "Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation" in 2001. The Foundation Regulations have since remained unchanged and are amended through rules of procedure for the Board of Trustees. As a foundation directly under federal government control, the Jewish Museum Berlin has since been an independent legal entity under public law and part of the so-called indirect public administration at federal level. As a result, in contrast to private foundations, public authority regulations apply. For example, public procurement law applies to all purchases made by the Museum.
The highest decision-making body of the Museum is the Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Federal President. The Foundation is represented judicially and extrajudicially by its director, who also makes all decisions concerning the interests of the Foundation that are not made by the Board of Trustees. The director is in turn represented by vice directors. The Museum currently has 120 permanent employees salaried according to TVöD (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst des Bundes: collective agreement for civil service employees). In addition, there are volunteers, student assistants, interns, self-employed workers, and specialists who work for the Museum through a service provider. Around 500 people currently contribute to the Museum’s success.
Based on the Foundation Regulations, the Federal Republic of Germany awards the Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation an annual allowance – distributed by the Minister of State for Cultural and Media Affairs – that covers around three quarters of the total budget. The remaining funds are raised primarily through donations and also through takings.