We aim to overcome disadvantage in our local communities by supporting education and entrepreneurship through a combination of targeted funding and the commitment and skills of our employees. Coordinated globally, our initiatives are implemented regionally and based on local need. This enables us to generate sustainable and measurable impact in our local communities while offering volunteering opportunities for our employees. Apart from direct cash donations and the commitment of our employees, our community investment program also includes employee matched-giving schemes and disaster relief efforts.
We continue to take our responsibility towards the communities we are part of very seriously. In 2013, UBS and our affiliated foundations made direct cash donations totaling CHF 28.3 million to carefully selected non-profit partner organizations and charities. These donations were primarily aimed at our Community Affairs key themes of education and entrepreneurship. Additionally, spending on the UBS Education Initiative amounted to CHF 14.0 million. Our contributions, combined with the volunteering activities of employees, have continued to provide substantial benefits to projects and people around the world, as demonstrated by the regional examples provided below.
Contributions were also made to other causes, in particular disaster relief, including a commitment of CHF 1.9 million in total financial contributions to both short-term relief and long-term rebuilding efforts in response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Community Affairs and the Optimus Foundation, UBS’s independent grant-making foundation, joined forces to offer a unique and integrated approach including both clients and employees in its matched-giving programs. This combined (client and UBS) commitment raised the total financial contributions to the rebuilding efforts in the Philippines to more than CHF 3 million.
Across all business regions, our employees continue to play a very active role in our community investment efforts, in particular through their volunteering activities. In 2013, 10,648 employees spent 91,370 hours volunteering. Our employee engagement focuses increasingly on direct societal impact in the areas of education and entrepreneurship. We support their commitment by offering up to two working days a year for volunteering efforts. For the second year in a row, employees who have demonstrated outstanding engagement were rewarded with the UBS Global Employee Volunteer Awards.
Furthermore, we undertook a global pilot assessment of the impact of our Community Affairs activities. We measure impact of projects across all regions using the London Benchmarking Group model. Understanding where we make an impact provides vital data that helps us evaluate and focus our program. Therefore we plan to further expand measurements of our strategic programs across all regions in 2014.
In Switzerland, our community investment efforts are also advanced by the UBS Culture Foundation, the UBS Foundation for Social Issues and Education, and the A Helping Hand from UBS Employees association. In 2013, these organizations made valuable contributions to important social causes, including fostering the humanities and the creative arts, supporting communities in need, and helping disabled and disadvantaged people.
The UBS Optimus Foundation is an expert grant-making foundation established by UBS in 1999. The Foundation works to break down barriers that prevent children from reaching their potential by funding leading organizations to improve the health, education and protection of children.
The UBS Optimus Foundation supports programs in places where children face adversity. Since its establishment, the Foundation has received more than 25,000 donations totaling over CHF 195 million. By the end of 2013 the Foundation supported 107 projects in 48 countries. As UBS bears all administrative costs related to the UBS Optimus Foundation, 100% of every donation goes directly towards the projects funded.
In 2013, the Foundation opened offices in Hong Kong and London in order to extend the donation possibilities for clients. In a comprehensive research and analysis effort the Foundation refined its philanthropic strategy. This Strategic Plan for 2014 - 2019 was approved by the Foundation Board in November. In response to Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in November 2013 the UBS Optimus Foundation established an Emergency Rapid Response Fund and UBS committed to double donations from clients to the fund.
Photo credit: Save the Children/Jonathan Hyams
Photo credit: Save the Children/Jonathan Hyams
Doubling the impact of every donation with the Emergency Rapid Response Fund for the Philippines (367 words)
In response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines on November 8 2013, the UBS Optimus Foundation set up an Emergency Rapid Response Fund and UBS committed to match client donations to the fund.
In disasters like these, children are often the most vulnerable and most in need of special attention. According to UNICEF, 5 million children in the Philippines were affected. This is why the UBS Optimus Foundation took action, by establishing a fund and partnering with world-recognized organizations with long-standing experience in disaster relief, to ensure that children's health and security needs were met.
A different approach
The emergency work of the UBS Optimus Foundation is guided by three core principles. First, it aims to maximize transparency by directly channeling funds to carefully selected high-impact humanitarian relief efforts with clear program goals, activities and budgets. Second, relevant and robust monitoring and impact evaluation are built into supported rebuilding efforts from the start. Third, the Foundation is working with partners in the Philippines who are "on the ground" for the long term and engaging local expertise, thereby linking relief to rehabilitation and development.
Immediate, tangible action
With the funds immediately distributed to Save the Children, 3,000 children were reached in the difficult-to-access eastern part of Panay Island and their essential needs for water, shelter and hygiene were met for a minimum of two to three months. Médecins Sans Frontières then received additional funds that has partially financed the efforts of their nine mobile clinic teams who have treated more than 12,500 patients as well as a vaccination campaign that has protected more than 16,000 children. Moreover, MSF provided emergency nutrition biscuits for around 18,000 people, focusing on children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The UBS Optimus Foundation will continue to fund rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines throughout 2014. In this second phase that links immediate relief to longer term rehabilitation, the UBS Optimus Foundation will look to build on the programs that provide integrated, essential services in health and education to children and will particularly focus on supporting international organizations with local expertise.
Products and services in these webpages may not be available for residents of certain nations. Please consult the sales restrictions relating to the service in question for further information.
© UBS 1998 - 2014. All rights reserved.