The emergence of the sponsoring association is closely linked to the social change in 1989 in the GDR. On November 7, 1989, before the Wall was opened, an appeal to save the historic Cranach courtyards was read out in the churches of Wittenberg. Following the appeal, an active group of Wittenberg citizens emerged who took a stand for their city and supported the project with advice, donations and volunteer work. For such a task, however, a structure was needed, and this at a moment when all the usual structures of society had just collapsed. In January 1990, the citizens' initiative drew up a charter for the "Cranach-Höfe Foundation" and submitted it for registration at the district court of the time. Due to the social upheavals, registration was delayed - there was no foundation law in the GDR at the time.
Thus, this initiative became the first association in Wittenberg, registered as "Stiftung Cranach Höfe e. V." In addition to regular actions in public, the first cultural activities were developed, which took place between and in the dilapidated houses. The association also sought contact with the city. Donations were collected so that one day the establishment of a civic foundation would be possible, which would require an endowment capital. In September 1994, the Cranach Foundation was founded by the association. To this day, the sponsoring association is an important companion of the foundation's work and also financially supports the comprehensive cultural work with its membership fees.