Purpose and aims
Since 1999, and in accordance with its stipulated purpose, UBS Culture Foundation deploys the annual yield from the Foundation’s capital to support cultural and artistic life and creativity in Switzerland. We are committed to the free exchange of ideas between artists, scholars and society, and to the diversity of cultural expression. In particular, we encourage and promote artistic and cultural creativity and the mediation of artistic and cultural achievements.
We offer grants in the fields “Visual Arts,” “Heritage Conservation & Archaeology,” “Film,” “Literature,” “Music” and “Humanities & Cultural Sciences.” Within this framework UBS Culture Foundation supports professional artists and scholars of Swiss nationality, foreign artists and scholars with permanent residence in Switzerland, as well as cultural projects with an explicit focus on Switzerland. On the basis of its stipulated purpose UBS Culture Foundation follows a practice of promotion and support that is independent of, but complementary to, public and private funding in the field of arts and culture. We take into account the different fields of art and culture as well as Switzerland’s different language areas. We not only support the conservation of existing cultural achievements but notably also foster the innovation of art and culture in all its forms of expression.
UBS Culture Foundation was founded on the occasion of the merger of Union Bank of Switzerland (SBG) and Swiss Bank Corporation (SBV), together with the UBS Foundation for Social Issues and Education, which replaced the predecessor banks’ so-called Anniversary Foundations.
The main purpose of the SBG Anniversary Foundation at the time was “the promotion of cultural, artistic and scientific life and activities in Switzerland” (statutes, Jubiläumsstiftung SBG 1962) whereas the SBV Foundation was additionally committed to the “support of […] charitable and social institutions and ventures.” For this purpose SBG and SBV endowed their newly established foundations with a capital of 10 million and 15 million Swiss francs respectively. By 1992 the responsible bodies of SBG had raised the capital stock by further 15 million francs. These capital increases had direct influence on the foundation’s funding potential since the annual gains on capital constituted the means through which the grants were financed. From the start, the founder companies SBG and SBV covered the costs of management and administration so that the entire capital yield could flow into funding and support activities.
UBS Culture Foundation follows a practice of promotion and support that is independent of, but complementary to, public and private funding in the field of arts and culture. We take into account the diverse fields of art and culture as well as Switzerland’s different language areas. We not only support the conservation of existing cultural achievements but notably also foster the innovation of art and culture in all its forms of expression. The Foundation Board carries full responsibility for all the funding activities. The board members are nominated by UBS. The body consists of representatives of UBS and external members from the fields of culture, arts, and society.
UBS Culture Foundation processes between 500 and 600 grant applications per year. Roughly 50 percent of these meet the criteria as specified in the various subject fields. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the applications receive approval and are awarded grants totaling between 1 and 1.5 million Swiss francs per year.
UBS Culture Foundation is a founding member of SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grant-making Foundations, which was established in 2001.