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UBS Optimus Foundation marks first anniversary in Hong Kong with 18 new projects across Asia Pacific
UBS Optimus Foundation invests more than CHF 6 million in new projects
New projects benefit more than 100,000 children in the region
Hong Kong - In the twelve months since the launch of the UBS Optimus Foundation's operations in Hong Kong, the Foundation has already had a significant impact on the lives of more than 100,000 children who are facing adversity in the region. The Foundation continues to establish a strong footprint across the region together with the clients of UBS - initiating 18 new health, education and protection projects benefiting underprivileged children in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. UBS Optimus Foundation has committed more than CHF 6 million to support these new projects. The Foundation is currently supporting 42 projects across Asia-Pacific and has invested a total of more than CHF 20 million.
"We are very grateful that we have received such tremendous support from our Asian clients during our first year in the region. With our team of experts, we are able to evaluate, monitor and assess philanthropic projects for our clients. We will continue to ensure that our clients' donations will make a positive and lasting difference to improve the lives of the children in need," said Kathryn Shih, CEO Asia Pacific, UBS Wealth Management.
Established in 1999 by UBS AG, the Optimus Foundation is a network of charitable foundations in Switzerland, the UK, Germany and Hong Kong. The foundation makes strategic investments in child protection, health and education programs, prioritizing the most vulnerable children and the most pressing threats to their survival and wellbeing. It has supported more than 300 programs in more than 75 countries with funds from clients, employees and UBS itself. In 2013, more than one-third of the total new grants from the Foundation were given to programs in Asia. UBS supports all of the Foundation’s administrative costs so that 100 per cent of donations go directly to support programs that improve the lives of children.
"Our clients in Asia have a strong appetite for practical philanthropy, so we seek to provide them with a range of practical opportunities to support children in need. We also have a strong pipeline of new donations this year and we will be launching a few new projects in the second half of 2014," said Wei Wei, Director, Asia Pacific, UBS Optimus Foundation.
Below is an update of two projects initiated by UBS Optimus Foundation during the year:
"Magic Glasses" in China
Our health-focused project "Magic Glasses" in China aims to reduce children's (re-)infection with parasitic worms through educational videos shown at schools. The project has resulted in a significant reduction in re-infections of children with parasitic worms to 40% from 80% previously. Based on this successful outcome, UBS Optimus Foundation, in partnership with the Australian government, is financing the expansion of the project to additional regions in China and the Philippines. The project was also featured in the April 2014 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
In response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the UBS Optimus Foundation launched an Emergency Rapid Response Fund for the Philippines to help highly affected children and families.
UBS clients and employees donated more than HKD8 million to the Emergency Fund and with UBS matching these donations, UBS Optimus Foundation is providing HKD16 million of support to help children and families in the area.
Some 3,000 children and their families in the difficult-to-access eastern part of Panay Island benefitted immediately from the distribution of 1,000 household and hygiene kits to address the essential needs of water, shelter and hygiene. A total of 12,500 consultations were conducted by mobile teams from Médecins Sans Frontières to provide health services on remote islands in the Western Visayas region. A further 18,000 people, including children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women were provided with emergency nutrition biscuits.
The Optimus Foundation continues to fund rehabilitation efforts throughout 2014 in Visayas, working with "Action Against Hunger", an international organisation with strong local expertise, to rehabilitate maternal and childcare health services and treat malnutrition of children and pregnant women, helping more than 30,000 children directly with many more to benefit in the longer run.
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 present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 countries, with about 35% of its employees working in the Americas, 36% in Switzerland, 17% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 12% in Asia Pacific. UBS employs about 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
UBS Optimus Foundation
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 places 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 Optimus Foundation – A better future for children.