Driving change

We pursue social impact in a variety of ways, from traditional charitable giving to sustainable investing. At the UBS Optimus Foundation we are specifically focused on social returns – in particular, social outcomes that benefit vulnerable children. We can help improve the impact of giving by being strategic about where it is focused.

Our results 2018

Through the generous support of our clients and UBS, we raised a total of 65 million Swiss francs.

Across our portfolios and programs, we were able to solve social problems through impactful change for 2.8 million vulnerable children globally (700,000 more than last year).

How do we do this?

Through our two pillars of philanthropic programs and social finance.

Philanthropic programs

Some of our philanthropic programs in 2018 include teaming up with World Child Cancer in an initiative to develop West Africa's first center of excellence for pediatric oncology to improve pediatric cancer care. Our aim is to help them increase one-year survival rates for certain cancers to 70% (currently at 62%) because in many cases childhood cancers do not require highly technical and expensive treatments. Improved basic care and early diagnosis will significantly impact mortality outcomes.

Social finance

Development impact bonds are one way we're encouraging more private sector investment in development programs that are 100% focused on measureable impact. In 2015, we launched the world's first development impact bond for education, the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond, so it could enroll out-of-school girls and improve education in Rajasthan, India. The success of the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond led to the launch of the Quality Education India Development Impact Bond in 2018, which aims to change the lives of 200,000 primary school children in India.

Our results in 2018 at a glance

We supported 200 programs globally, worth approximately 
211 million Swiss francs

We committed 80 million Swiss francs to 92 new programs across several tailored and collective portfolios

Why do we focus on programs that help children?

When children are educated, healthy and free from abuse, they are able to reach their full potential. As adults, they are able to provide for themselves, keep their families healthy and create better societies. Studies show that the highest rate of return comes from investing in children’s development from birth to the age of five, which is why many of our philanthropic partners work with newborns and young children.


  • 1.5 million children benefitted from interventions that cure disease or prevent illness
  • 61,000 health professionals trained to provide vital healthcare

Three-quarters of new pediatric cancer cases occur in low- and middle-income countries. And deaths from childhood cancer are growing rapidly. Most of these children could survive with access to timely diagnosis and treatment. Which is why we’re supporting a project to do just that in Ghana.


  • 1.2 million children benefitted from quality education and development programs
  • 49,000 education professionals trained to help children fulfill their potential

As social investor, we provided the up-front funding to Educate Girls so it could enroll out-of-school girls and improve education in Rajasthan, India, which has particularly poor school access for girls and high illiteracy. Our success with the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond – concluded in June 2018 – shows we’re on the right track.

Child protection

  • 140,000 children growing up in safer, more nurturing environments
  • 23,000 adults educated and counseled to better help children

The evidence is clear. The best place for children to grow up is in a family. Along with our inspiring partners, we’re pursuing alternatives to orphanages. Rather than maintaining a broken system, philanthropy can act as a catalyst for positive long-term change. Change that keeps and brings children home.

A global footprint

We focus the grants we make on close to 20 countries, where based on our experience and network we can have the most impact.

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