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UBS Optimus Foundation plans to raise 65 million Swiss francs to improve nutrition for children

London Media Releases EMEA

UBS Optimus Foundation is partnering with government and private donors in a major new global initiative to put nutrition at the centre of the development agenda. The Foundation plans to raise 65 million Swiss francs for these efforts over the next eight years. This significant scale-up will dramatically improve children's nutrition, reduce stunting, and help prevent death from under-nutrition.

In the lead-up to this year's G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, leaders from foundations including the UBS Optimus Foundation, government donors and developing countries, met on 8 June 2013 in London to sign an agreement placing good nutrition among the highest priorities on the development agenda. Preventable undernutrition is responsible for the death of more than 8,000 children every day. It also has a negative economic impact, and is believed to reduce GDP in Africa and Asia by up to 11 percent every year.

During the meeting, the UBS Optimus Foundation announced a commitment of 15 million Swiss francs for nutrition related projects in developing countries. In addition, the Foundation agreed to contribute to a novel "Nutrition for Growth Facility" announced during the 8 June meeting. Through a new agreement between the Foundation and other partners involved in the London meeting, all donations from UBS clients which the Foundation directs to the new facility will be doubled. Partners include the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Jamie Broderick, CEO, UBS Wealth Management UK, commended the opportunity, adding; "In effect, the UBS Optimus Foundation is announcing a double-your-money pledge drive and intends to raise up to 25 million additional Swiss francs over the next eight years, which, through the new agreement, will be matched by other funders to reach 50 million Swiss francs over and above the Foundation's current commitment of 15 million. The funds will be used to expand priority, evidence-based programs; support innovations to deliver nutrition at scale; and strengthen nutrition governance and monitoring and evaluation systems."

"The commitments made in London will have a significant impact on child survival, and help more children achieve their full potential. We stand at an historical threshold. The end of under-nutrition is possible," said Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation. "We are so grateful for the generosity of UBS clients and impressed by their desire to improve the world. We are delighted that this new agreement allows us to double the impact of their charitable investments in children's nutrition."

Since its creation in 1999 the UBS Optimus Foundation has received more than 21,000 donations, raising 200 million Swiss francs to support more than 300 projects in 75 countries around the world. The Foundation currently supports nutrition-related projects in 18 countries including, for example;

Happy meals: In Uganda and Kenya, more than half of pre-school children suffer from micro-nutrient deficiencies which are known to contribute to 60 percent of deaths in children under the age of five. The neediest families lack access to fortified foods. Private sector delivery is fragmented and expensive, while public sector systems are under-funded and under-stocked. This project supports Living Goods, a non-profit organization, to develop and deliver a new line of low-cost fortified foods to low-income families.

Magic Glasses: Children in rural China suffer from a high burden of parasitic worm infections. These infections are linked to malnutrition, anemia, stunting and poor school performance. Since 2009, the Foundation has supported the development and testing of an "edutainment" intervention in the rural China that uses a humorous cartoon to sensitize children. Results just published in the New England Journal of Medicine show a 50 percent reduction in re-infection rates among school children.

Vitamin D: In this study, 12,423 newborns and 2,490 hospitalized children in Jordan were tested for vitamin D deficiency and respiratory viruses. Early evidence has found a very high percentage of children there are deficient in Vitamin D. External evaluation of this project found that it "could play a significant role in public health interventions in Jordan and across the region."

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UBS Optimus Foundation - A better future for children

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 projects in any country where children face adversity. UBS covers all the Foundation's administrative costs so that 100 percent of all donations go directly to the projects.


UBS draws on its 150-year heritage to serve private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. Its business strategy is centered on its pre-eminent global wealth management businesses and its universal bank in Switzerland. Together with a client-focused Investment Bank and a strong, well-diversified Global Asset Management business, UBS will expand its premier wealth management franchise and drive further growth across the Group.

UBS is firmly committed to corporate responsibility and actively strives to create sustainable value for the company.  UBS has a long-standing, vigorous community affairs program that makes a sustained and measureable impact within the communities in which we do business through a combination of funding and employee volunteering.  In the UK, UBS’s flagship Community Affairs partnership with the Bridge Academy in Hackney has been recognised by the UK Government through its 2011 Big Society Award to the project.   This new partnership between the UK Government and UBS Optimus Foundation is a further affirmation of the values that UBS holds and has operated to through its long-standing Community Affairs programme.