We accomplished a great deal in 2017, raising CHF 61 million and reaching 2.1 million children. This outstanding performance is testament to the generosity and foresight of our donors, the passion and professionalism of our team, and the hard work and dedication of our inspiring partners in the field. Nonetheless, we remain driven to do even more, even better.
At the UBS Optimus Foundation, we’re committed to harnessing the power of partnerships with philanthropists, organizations and governments to drive bold change that improves the lives of children. We’re not content with giving that merely hopes for change – we’re constantly looking for ways to achieve better social outcomes by giving strategically. Similarly, we’re not satisfied with the amount of money that is active right now in driving change – we aim to mobilize private capital and bring it to bear effectively and efficiently to address critical social challenges. Connecting like-minded individuals together around these aspirations, we can unlock opportunities and overcome obstacles that are impossible for any one entity or individual to address alone.
To these ends, in 2017, we reshaped the way we work around two focal points: philanthropic programs and social finance. With our philanthropic programs, we find and foster innovations from nonprofit and change agents that deliver bold social outcomes across the world. And we amplify impact by working alongside our philanthropist partners, providing leverage through our expert staff, networks and resources. With social finance, we increase our philanthropic strength by leveraging UBS’s financial expertise. Innovative financing mechanisms can rapidly accelerate the scale of successful interventions by bringing philanthropists together with businesses, nonprofits and governments in results-based partnerships. We believe these mechanisms truly have the potential to transform how development happens and harness significant levels of funding.
Through our philanthropic programs and social finance, we’re proving we can add tremendous social value through collaboration. The following are just some examples of how we are achieving powerful results by working together.
- In November, we launched the Utkrisht impact bond, the world’s largest development impact bond (DIB) to date and the first in maternal and child health. This DIB supports government efforts to improve health care in private facilities in Rajasthan, India, which has some of the highest maternal and newborn death rates in the world. We also published the final results of the Educate Girls DIB, the world’s first DIB in education, which pioneered a new way to encourage private sector investment to fund development programs and was 100% focused on measurable impact. The results speak for themselves: the Educate Girls DIB achieved 116% of the enrolment target and 160% of the learning target in its final year.
- Our partnership with Yunus Social Business, the Rockefeller Foundation and Impact Water has yielded the first social success note, an innovative pay-for- performance financing solution to drive return-seeking capital to social businesses looking to address the world’s most entrenched challenges. Using a concessional loan conditional on achieving impact, the social success note will deliver clean drinking water in schools across Uganda, ultimately benefiting more than two million children through better health, enabling them to learn and fulfill their potential.
- We’re also collaborating with the Freedom Fund in its fight against child trafficking and modern slavery. The Freedom Fund brings private philanthropy to the front line of the grassroots organizations fighting trafficking in their own communities. And it maximizes impact by bringing those organizations together around collective objectives.
- In 2017, we joined forces with a group of leading philanthropists on The Collaborative hosted by UBS, a joint initiative between the Foundation and UBS’s UHNW Philanthropy Center. This collaboration is already bearing fruit, with commitments for an initiative to bring digitally-enabled health care to some of the most underserved regions in Africa.
- We continue to realize other opportunities for collaboration that see the best of UBS supporting the Foundation’s philanthropic expertise. For instance, we have worked with the UBS Investment Bank in launching a series of breakthrough investment-themed products aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). In this unique collaboration, a guaranteed part of the revenues will be reinvested as philanthropic contributions managed by the Foundation.
- We take great pride in the fact that an ever growing number of UBS clients and employees recognize the value of our work and see us as their philanthropic partner of choice. Their passion combined with our expertise is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. We will continue to work closely with philanthropists and our frontline partners to make sure programs are delivering impact, driving forward even greater collaboration. And we remain focused on seeking out new and innovative ideas that have the potential to deliver transformative, scalable and sustainable benefits to the lives of even more children.
- We hope you find our annual review 2017 an interesting, informative and inspiring read.
Sergio P. Ermotti
Chairman of the UBS Optimus
Foundation Board of Directors
CEO, UBS Optimus Foundation