In the late 1980s Roswitha Haftmann was already planning to set up a foundation to which she could leave the greater part of her fortune. The relevant documentation was drawn up on 28 January 1998 and the Foundation was recorded in the Register of Companies in autumn 1999 after the death of Roswitha Haftmann.
The aim of the Foundation is to recognise outstanding achievements in the visual arts. To this end, the Foundation regularly awards the valuable Roswitha Haftmann Prize to a living artist. Prizewinners are selected solely on the basis of the artistic significance of their work, without regard to their personal circumstances (nationality, age, gender, etc.).

The Prize is awarded in Zurich, as far as possible during a public event in the Kunsthaus.

The Roswitha Haftmann Foundation can also instigate, support or present exhibitions of representative works by the prizewinners in the institutions specified by the Foundation.
The value of the Roswitha Haftmann Prize, the timing of the award and the selection of the prizewinner are all under the jurisdiction of the Board of the Foundation.