At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, higher commercial education was introduced as a new study in several European cities. In the meantime Rotterdam had developed into a considerable port city with everything that goes with it. But the city lacked opportunities for higher education. Three initiators, Mr A. Ruys, Mr C.A.P. van Stolk and Mr W.C. Mees, managed in 1913 to mobilise enough people, mainly from the Rotterdam business community, to make the establishment of the Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool possible. After a preparation time of only a few months, the Vereeniging tot Oprichting eener Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool was founded on 29 April 1913, which is the legal predecessor of the current Trust Fund. On July 23, 1913 the statutes could be established and the final name Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Hooger Handelsonderwijs (Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool) was established. The festive opening of the Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool took place on Saturday November 8, 1913 in the Groote Zaal der Sociëteit Harmonie, at the time located at Coolsingel near the Hofplein. When the lessons started on Monday 10 November 1913, 55 full-time students had enrolled.
In 1939, the legal basis of higher education changed the name to Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Hooger Onderwijs in de Economische Wetenschappen (Nederlandsche Economische Hoogeschool).
Considerations of an organisational, financial and legal nature formed the reason that led to the 1956 amendment, whereby the two tasks of the Association, namely the educational-technical and the financial-manager, were split over two legal entities. For the second task, a separate institution, the Vereniging tot bevordering van de belangen der Nederlandsche Economische Hoogeschool (the Trust Fund), was established. In 1963, the NEH was expanded to include the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law. First 10 years later the name of the association was adapted to the new situation to Vereniging Trustfonds voor Maatschappijwetenschappen. Meanwhile, after a short preparation time, the Medical Faculty Rotterdam (MFR) had officially started on 7 October 1966.
The Rotterdam Medical Faculty Fund Foundation was established on 3 March 1967, thanks to a donation of one million guilders from the municipality of Rotterdam.
On 1 February 1973, Erasmus University Rotterdam was formed by a merger between NEH and MFR. The Trust Fund supported this foundation with an amount of one and a half million guilders. Subsequently, years were spent discussing the establishment of one fund for the entire university. On November 8, 1977, the time had come for the foundation of the Stichting Fonds Medische Faculteit Rotterdam and the Vereniging Trustfonds voor Maatschappijwetenschappen, the Stichting Universiteitsfonds Rotterdam, to be set up as a result of the merger.
However, the Trust Fund Association was not completely dissolved, but continued to exist for the purpose of the nomination rights (including professors) that the Association had.
As of 1 January 1991, both the assets and the nomination rights were transferred to one association and the current name was established, Vereniging Trustfonds Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
At the end of 2005 the merger of the Vereniging Trustfonds with the Vereniging R. Mees & Zoonen Fonds 1920 came about, which after a change of name and legal entity came from the Stichting Hoogeschool-Fonds 1920. The Hoogeschool-Fonds 1920 Foundation was founded that year by the banking house Mees en Zoonen on the occasion of the bicentenary of the company.
The specific objectives of the Hoogeschool-Fonds are anchored in those of the Trust Fund, especially when it comes to granting interest-free loans to poor but promising students.
On 1 May 2017, a legal restructuring of the Erasmus Trust Fund separated the association activities in the Erasmus Trust Fund Association (VET) from the management, issuance of return on assets / target expenditures and the recruitment activities in the Erasmus Trust Fund Foundation (SET). The SET is the legal successor of the old association (1913) and is designated as an Institution for General Benefit (ANBI). This means that no gift or inheritance tax needs to be paid on a gift or inheritance.