We have two global themes for our community investment: education and entrepreneurship. These were selected because they align with our core business.
Our approach is founded on building sustainable and successful partnerships with non-profit organizations and social enterprises. We achieve impact through a combination of strategic funding and employee volunteering. UBS employees are key to the success of our community program. By providing diverse opportunities for our employees to volunteer their time and skills in support of our community partners, we seek to maximize our impact.
In 2015, we strengthened our global program and strategic focus on education and entrepreneurship through the development of existing and new partnerships in our local communities. In 2015, UBS made direct cash contributions totaling CHF 27.4 million. 91% of UBS's Community Affairs grants were made in the areas of education and entrepreneurship.
Additionally, UBS contributed a total of CHF 37.5m to its affiliated foundations in Switzerland, to the UBS Optimus Foundation and to the UBS Anniversary Education Initiative.
We encourage employee participation by offering up to two working days a year to engage in volunteering efforts. In 2015, 16,359 employees spent 137,732 hours volunteering. This represents 27% of our workforce engaged, an increase of 26% compared to 2014. For the fourth consecutive year, we granted UBS Global Employee Volunteer Awards to employees who had demonstrated outstanding volunteering commitment.
Our contributions have continued to provide substantial benefits to people and projects around the world.
Our global program benefits thousands of young people and entrepreneurs in all of the regions in which we operate. Examples of our investments are shown below.
- Americas: UBS Americas launched two major initiatives in 2015: Project Entrepreneur, a three-year partnership with Rent the Runway Foundation to grow the pipeline of female founders who are building economically impactful companies; and The TalentED Project, a three-year partnership with Tennessee College Access and Success Network and Discovery Education to help increase the number of low-income, first-generation students getting to and through competitive four-year colleges.
- EMEA: We helped launch the Stepping Stones Fund with the City of London Corporation's charity, City Bridge Trust to provide targeted support to social enterprises seeking to increase their impact through social investment. UBS employee volunteers helped assess, coach and then select the grant winners. The first round of funding saw 17 organizations share over GBP 700,000 to improve their social outcomes with the aim of reaching thousands of beneficiaries. We have now launched the second round of funding, with UBS providing both financial support and employee volunteering.
- Switzerland: UBS continues to support longstanding charity partner Young Enterprise Switzerland's Company program. More than 4,000 young students founded and ran real-life companies for a year. UBS supports the national final with volunteers and financial means. UBS has also strongly increased engagement for social entrepreneurs in the country by providing mentoring and supporting respective platforms.
- Asia Pacific: UBS partnered with Yayasan Emmanuel in Indonesia to support international school teachers to raise the capacity of local elementary school teaching up to international standards. The program engages teachers in a process of experiential learning and reflection, ultimately benefiting school pupils by improving teacher quality.
Using the principles of the London Benchmarking Group's model, we are enhancing our focus on measuring the impact of our community investment globally. In 2015, UBS supported over 100,000 people across our education and entrepreneurship programs. We work with young people globally to help increase their educational attainment, and to acquire workplace skills. Also, we work with entrepreneurs to help them build and scale social businesses which have social impact at the heart of their business model.
In 2015 we sought to enhance our measurement of community impact by piloting a global framework to measure, not just the number of beneficiaries, but also how our support has benefitted them. From our pilot, 5,541 beneficiaries have had their lives transformed as a result of UBS's support. This represents 7% of the number of beneficiaries where the depth of impact was reported. Feedback from the pilot will help us to expand and enhance our reporting mechanisms to assess the depth of impact in future years.