The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization. Its official seat is located at the Vatican. The Foundation owns a building in Rome at 1200 via Cassia where the secretarial offices are located. The main goals of the Foundation include:
- preservation and development of the spiritual heritage of John Paul II as well as Christian heritage and culture;
- providing educational assistance and scholarships to young intellectuals from Eastern European countries (outside of the European Union) to study at the Catholic University in Lublin, and the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków, Poland.
- collection and preservation of documents and propagation of Pope John Paul II’s teachings;
- assistance to Christian pilgrims on visits to the Holy See, particularly pilgrims from Poland and Eastern countries;
Some specific activities of the Foundation include:
- The Center for Documentation and Research of the Pontificate of John Paul II preserves documents relating to John Paul II’s pontificate and is passing on this patrimony to future generations. The collected materials are used in leading scholarly researches, studies and press articles. The Center is also organizing symposia and exhibits. Approximately 30,000 volumes located in the Center's library are available to scholars researching the teachings of John Paul II.
- The Museum of gifts offered to John Paul II by pilgrims. So far 10,000 items were formally catalogued.
- Scholarships for students from Eastern Europe. The John Paul II Foundation prepares future intellectual leaders for the countries of Eastern Europe. It does this through scholarship assistance given to students attending the Catholic University of Lublin and the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków, Poland. The Foundation covers all costs of education, and provides scholarships to 161 students from 7 countries. Students reside in the John Paul II Foundation Home. As of today over 900 students have completed their courses of study, received their academic degrees, and returned home to work.
- Short-term scholarships are provided to individuals who come to Rome to do research on the John Paul II teachings.
- John Paul II Foundation - Casa per Ferie in Rome is open to all pilgrims. At the home scholarly meetings and religious and cultural gatherings are held. The Home is a place where pilgrims experience religious and cultural dimensions of their pilgrimage.
All activities of the John Paul II Foundation are possible thanks to the continuing financial help and support provided from around the world. The John Paul II Foundation is open to cooperate with organizations and institutions that are dedicated to promote and disseminate the Pope John Paul II teachings in their Christian outreach and in cooperation with the Apostolic See.