The UBS Optimus Foundation: Investing in hope

“The UBS Optimus Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation, which focuses on three distinct and deeply intertwined priorities – child health, education and protection.”

Phyllis Costanza (CEO, UBS Optimus Foundation)

Hope is a priceless commodity. By working together, the UBS Optimus Foundation, our partners and our donors support projects that improve the lives of children facing adversity, so they grow up with more hope for the future.

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Too many children die unnecessarily before their fifth birthday, especially the most vulnerable. Consider, for example, that an estimated 3 million newborns died during their first month of life in 2011. That same year, an estimated 6.9 million children did not live to celebrate their fifth birthday. Worldwide,101 million children under five are underweight. More than 22 million children do not benefit from basic vaccines. These are the children that the UBS Optimus Foundation prioritizes in its efforts to ensure children are safe, healthy, educated – and ready for their future.

A proven approach

The UBS Optimus Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation, which focuses on three distinct and deeply intertwined priorities – child health, education and protection. Since its inception in 1999, the UBS Optimus Foundation has supported 300 projects in 75 countries and regions with contributions from over 20,000 donors, totaling CHF 200 million (HKD 1.6 billion or SGD 275 million). Funding comes primarily from UBS clients, and because UBS bears all overhead costs, 100 percent of donations go directly into philanthropic projects.

A classroom at the School in a Box in Hyderabad, India

Your partner for strategic philanthropy in Asia

With over 100 years of accumulated experience, the staff of UBS Optimus Foundation are able to provide UBS clients with access to the best philanthropic giving options. Recently, interest in philanthropy has increased significantly. In fact, a study on family philanthropy by UBS with the leading business school, INSEAD, revealed that Asia possesses a time-honored tradition of philanthropic giving, motivated by ensuring the continuity of family values and by creating a meaningful legacy.

In order to serve UBS clients in Asia, the UBS Optimus Foundation opened an office in Hong Kong in May 2013, making readily available its wide range of philanthropic options, in response to the unique needs of children in the region. Currently, the foundation actively supports 42 projects in Asia.

Employees of UBS also have the opportunity to engage with the foundation through financial contributions. Since launch, UBS Wealth Management has matched staff donations in Hong Kong.

Nourishing young minds

Optimal nutrition is a critical issue in Asia and beyond: preventable under-nutrition is responsible for the deaths of more than 8,000 children every day. Thus, at this year’s G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, the UBS Optimus Foundation, government donors and developing countries signed an agreement that placed good nutrition among the highest priorities on the development agenda. Donors to the UBS Optimus Foundation will have access to an exclusive vehicle, set up in collaboration with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), to double their financial commitment to end child under-nutrition. These funds will help to provide millions of pregnant women and children with the right nutrition, at the right time, and reduce preventable stunting and death.

Helping children reach their full potential

Many people believe that the poor can only be reached through state education. In the past few years, low-cost private schools have emerged across the globe. The ‘School in a Box’ project supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation provides better quality education, and parents on minimum wages and poverty-line incomes can afford the low fees - approximately USD 14 a month, paid daily.

Studies have shown that children gain better numeracy and literacy skills at a lower cost compared to other private schools, and at nearly the same cost as the government schools. This project has recently been replicated in Hyderabad, India so that more children can access high-quality education.

These are just a few examples of how the UBS Optimus Foundation is investing in solutions that work. In 2050, there will be an estimated 1.9 billion children, equaling 20 percent of world population. Their future parents and grandparents need our help today. Join us in accelerating progress for children’s health, well-being, education and protection.

These funds will help to provide millions of pregnant women and children with the right nutrition, at the right time, and reduce preventable stunting and death.

The importance of good nutrition at an early age cannot be overstressed

In China, the malnutrition rate among rural children is approximately three to four times higher than kids from urban surroundings, making this group particularly vulnerable.

In response, the UBS Optimus Foundation is funding a project to enhance China’s National Nutritional Improvement Program (NNIP). NNIP is implementing universal nutrition supplementation for children aged six months to two years in 699 poor counties by 2015. The UBS Optimus Foundation is working with its partners – the China Development Research Foundation, the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago and a research team led by 2000 Economics Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman – to support the parental training in these counties and ensure that the nutritional gains achieved by the program are sustained at home and for life.

It feels good knowing you’re making a difference to a child’s life. For more information on contributing to the UBS Optimus Foundation, contact your Client Advisor. To watch a short video on Stories of Hope, visit www.ubs.com/optimus

Watch the video