Grant areas

Based on detailed landscaping studies, and often building on our existing relationships with partners and our extensive networks, we search for interventions and partners who offer something special.

This can be an inspiring entrepreneur or a new technology or intervention model that bridges a gap that’s preventing children from thriving.

We focus our support on the areas of Health, Education (including Early Childhood Development), Child Protection and a child-specific response to emergencies.



Child health

Approximately 7 million children still die every year from largely preventable causes, two-thirds of which are infectious diseases. Although this has fallen by 40 percent since 1990 thanks to worldwide action, we still need your support to save more lives.

We conducted extensive research to determine the areas where we can help most. Within child health we focus on three key areas:

First minutes of life

The period just before and after birth is the most precarious time for mothers and their babies. We are bringing down high mortality rates in mothers and babies by delivering effective healthcare solutions.

Child-friendly care

Many children suffer due to a lack of basic nutrition and healthcare. We’re helping by reformulating healthcare and nutritional solutions to suit children. We also make sure these solutions reach communities, however remote and poor.

Communities caring for children

We work with native experts and frontline health workers who understand the local conditions which affect a community's health. Their knowledge ensures we find a solution that’s local and lasting.


In the area of child health, we focus on innovations and proven programs which tangibly improve the health of vulnerable children worldwide and reduce child and infant mortality.

Magic Glasses

Magic Glasses is a successful "edutainment" project, which has dramatically reduced re-infection rates with parasitic worms through cartoons delivered in schools. It has been replicated in Africa with additional sanitation and community health education.


Child education

Nearly 70 million children around the world remain out of school. More than 40% of those lucky enough to be in school are not able to read at a level appropriate for their age. We are helping to enhance the quality of education by focusing on the following areas:

Encouraging early education

Helping parents, educators and communities to embrace and understand early education.

Children fit for school

Giving teachers, administrators, parents and communities the skills and resources they need to create and support preschool programs and the transition from preschool to primary schools.

Schools fit for children

Giving schools the right equipment and helping them put systems in place so they can give children a quality education.

In the area of children's education, we invest in innovations and proven programs which tangibly improve the education of vulnerable children worldwide and improve learning outcomes.

In Early Childhood Development we focus on innovations and proven programs that promote early childhood development, including health, nutrition, early stimulation, caregiving and protection from violence and maltreatment.

Optimus Impact

We have partnered with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to conduct a four-city scoping study of slum-based preschools. Read more about:

Huffington Post blog post

Read about an interesting entrepreneurial trend that has emerged here and is fueling a promising transformation in early childhood education.


Keeping kids safe

There are little global data about the scope and context of child maltreatment. We do know that it has a significant financial impact on countries - estimated at 124 billion dollars for the US alone each year. However, we have less information on the tremendous emotional and developmental costs it has on the lives of children who are abused.

To address the problem, we are working hard to shed light on the causes and impacts of child maltreatment by focusing on the following priorities:

First minutes of life

The period just before and after birth is the most precarious time for mothers and their babies. We are bringing down high mortality rates in mums and babies by delivering effective healthcare solutions.

Strengthen capacity

We capitalize on and add to local knowledge in order to bolster the efforts of program funders and implementers in tackling sexual abuse.

Build a culture of evidence

To deal with sexual abuse effectively, child protection policies must be based on evidence. We’re doing research at grass roots level within projects to build this knowledge base and develop assessment tools and best practices.

Create knowledge, communicate and advocate

Creating and sharing knowledge about child abuse will help to ensure that children are better protected in the future. We are helping to drive change by gathering and sharing information among all our stakeholders. This will improve policy and practice, boost funding and provide greater legal protection for children.


In the area of child protection, we focus on proven innovations to prevent violence against children committed by adults or peers.

Optimus Study

The Optimus Study represents the most detailed and comprehensive assessment of both the frequency and the forms of sexual abuse affecting minors today in Switzerland.

Optimus Impact

Drawing on the findings of the Optimus Study, a group of leading experts generated a series of detailed recommendations tailored to address the identified challenges. Read an article summarizing the paper here:

Emergency response


Emergency Response

There are now more people affected by crises than at any time since World War II - and children are the most vulnerable and neglected; their specific needs are not properly understood or met.

The speed of any response is crucial – but so are the first thousand days of a child's life when 80% of brain development occurs and the foundations for the future are laid.

Long-term support is also needed. We make sure that both our immediate and long-term response delivers measureable benefits to children, families and communities.

The hallmarks of the UBS Optimus Foundations:

Focused: We know children need more and different support.

Swift: We aim to have UBS and donor emergency funds working in the field within 72 hours.

Effective: We work with our trusted partners –Médecins Sans Frontières, Action contre la Faim, Save the Children, and the International Rescue Committee– and local partners that understand community needs.

Transparent: We know where the money goes and how cost effective it is through our partner framework agreements

Sustainable: A swift response to a crisis saves lives and reduces damage, but we know the stamina to stay the course is also important.

Our Emergency Response portfolio addresses the needs of children affected by rapid onset and chronic emergencies. We seek to increase and better target funds towards young children in a manner that is fully transparent, measurable, focused on overlooked populations and dedicated to long term rehabilitation.

Nepal Earthquake

The UBS Optimus Foundation has established has partnered with world-renowned organizations like Médecins sans Frontières and Save the Children, that have deep experience in disaster relief to ensure that children's health and security needs are met.

Ebola Response

Find out more about the projects we are supporting in Liberia, which were very much affected by the crisis and at the heart of supporting an adequate response.

Emergency Rapid Response for the Philippines

In response to Typhoon Haiyan we launched our Emergency Rapid Response Fund and raised 2.9 million CHF from clients, staff and UBS matching funds. In total almost 100,000 children and caregivers were reached.