A donation by Helene Elsass (1921-2003) created a foundation in 1975, which was initially named after her parents, Ludvig and Sara Elsass. Helene Elsass was born with cerebral palsy, and her wish was to set up a foundation that would primarily support people with CP and other persons with physical and mental disabilities.
As the daughter of Ludvig Elsass, who was a director and shareholder of the companies Sophus Berendsen and Rentokil, Helene inherited a considerable fortune, which she bequeathed to the Elsass Foundation upon her death in 2003.
In 2007, the Helene Elsass Centre (later renamed the Elsass Foundation) was established to bring together people with CP, their families and researchers. Since then, the foundation’s researchers and practitioners have succeeded in bringing more focus on CP by building bridges between families of children with CP and university researchers. Today, the Elsass Foundation is an internationally recognised academic centre in the field of CP.
At the end of 2015, the charitable foundation known as the Ludvig and Sara Elsass Foundation and the commercial foundation Helene Elsass Centre were consolidated into a single foundation which today goes by the name of the Elsass Foundation.
Two of Helene Elsass’ relatives are still a central part of the foundation: Chairman and Helene’s nephew, Nick Elsass, and board member and first nephew once removed, Alexander Elsass.
The foundation and “Uglemose”
The Elsass Foundation’s premises were designed by the architect Aage Lønborg-Jensen and dubbed “Uglemose” (Owl Moor). The premises were constructed in 1920 as a wedding gift from the estate owner and court hunting master Valdemar Uttental to his wife, Countess Elizabeth Scheel of Gammel Estrup castle on Djursland.
The Elsass Foundation acquired Uglemose in 2004 and conducted a careful and thorough modernisation. In 1920, the property included a large area of surrounding land, which has today been converted into a roughly 4.5-acre park.
The park was designed by one of Denmark’s greatest landscape architects, G.N. Brandt, who was the head of parks and landscaping for 28 years in Gentofte Municipality. G.N. Brandt also designed the Ordrup and Mariebjerg churchyards, Brandt’s Garden (Ellensvej) and Hellerup Beach Park.