Portrait

Together with the UBS Foundation for Social Issues and Education, the UBS Culture Foundation was established in 1999, after Swiss Bank Corporation (SBV) and Union Bank of Switzerland (SBG) merged to become UBS; the UBS Culture Foundation replaced the earlier Jubiläumsstiftung of SBV and SBG. According to its stipulated purpose, the UBS Culture Foundation deploys the annual yield from the foundation capital to support "cultural and artistic life and creativity" in and for Switzerland (statutes, UBS Culture Foundation 1999).

The UBS Culture Foundation sees and understands itself as a constituent part of society with the task of reflecting on continuity and change in politics, economics, science and the media from the perspective of cultural and artistic creativity and production. We promote the advancement of cultural activities and artistic creativity, communication and exchange between artists and society and the diversity of cultural expression. In particular, we support the generation, dissemination and mediation of contemporary forms of art and culture.

The UBS Culture Foundation supports producers of art and culture who are of Swiss nationality and foreign artists and scholars with permanent residence in Switzerland, cultural projects with a clear focus on Switzerland, as well as the acquisition of significant works and objects by art museums or cultural-historical museums in Switzerland. We offer grants in the following fields: "Visual Arts", "Heritage Conservation & Archaeology", "Film", "Literature", "Music" and "Humanities & Cultural Sciences".

On the basis of its stipulated purpose the UBS Culture Foundation follows a policy of promotion and support that is independent of and complementary to public and private funding in the fields of arts and culture. We take into account the diversity of arts and culture as well as Switzerland's different language areas; we not only support the conservation of existing cultural achievements, we notably also promote the innovation of art and culture in all its forms. The Foundation Board bears full responsibility for all promotion activities; Board members are nominated by the Founder Company; the Board is composed of representatives of UBS and external members from the fields of culture, arts and society. At present the Foundation Board consists of eight members; it is headed by Chairman Alain Robert and seconded by Vice-Chairman Dr. Martin Meyer. The Foundation is supported in its operative tasks by the Foundation Office, which is headed by its Executive Manager Mirjam Beerli (since 1 January 2007).

Each year the UBS Culture Foundation processes between 500 and 600 grant applications; approximately 50 percent of these comply with the requirements as set out in the respective fields of activity. In relation to the total figure of applications, 15 to 20 percent of the proposals now receive funding from the Foundation's promotion fund that totals between 1 and 1.5 million Swiss francs annually. This means that in relation to the number of applications that actually comply with the required profile in the various fields of support, more than 30 percent are eligible for funding. The growing gap between the doable and the wishable poses a challenge to all public as well as private funding institutions and forces them to develop more profiled, goal-oriented and transparent funding policies and practices. The UBS Culture Foundation's policy of allocating the means at its disposal to those areas "where others are not in a position to support artistic and cultural creativity" (statutes, UBS Culture Foundation 1999) is to be seen against this background. Therefore the UBS Culture Foundation endorses a close cooperation between public and private cultural funding institutions; it especially advocates an open exchange between the various private foundations engaged in the field of culture. The UBS Culture Foundation is a founding member of SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grant-making Foundations (2001), and has been an active participant in FORUM · KULTUR UND ÖKONOMIE since 2001.

Conscious of its historical roots the UBS Culture Foundation is committed to a practice of support and promotion of the arts and culture in, and for, Switzerland that is independent and complementary, innovative as well as preserving, prioritizing as well as balanced and, above all, professional, goal-oriented and sustainable.