The UBS Optimus Foundation makes UBS unique in the financial industry. Because only UBS has a foundation staffed by leading experts in philanthropy and a client offering designed to deliver measurable long-term benefits to the world's most vulnerable children. In the following stories you'll find just a few examples of the work we are doing with our partners and we hope you find it an interesting, informative and thought-provoking read.

Addressing children's healthcare in emerging markets

20/12/2018 | UBS Optimus Foundation

More children are likely to develop cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, as more survive early childhood. We're partnering with World Child Cancer (WCC) to build West Africa's first Center of Excellence for pediatric oncology at Korle Bu, in Ghana.

Too little schools, not enough education – we shed light into low-fee private schools in Abidjan

28/08/2018 | Maya Ziswiler

When government funded schools reach their limits, the private sector is stepping in. Abidjani private schools are part of a mature and profitable market; but more resources to build additional classrooms, construct new buildings, make renovations, build toilets or develop facilities such as laboratories or libraries are needed.

The world's oldest trade and our enduring power to change the odds

15/08/2018 | Sergio P. Ermotti

We've just published the 2017 Annual Review of the UBS Optimus Foundation this week. It's worthwhile reading and provides a number of facts and statistics documenting our impact. One way, however to truly understand what the foundation does is to shine a light on the work of the programs it supports. I had a chance to visit one of these programs in India earlier this year.

Changing the game. Together.

15/08/2018 | Sergio P. Ermotti, Phyllis Costanza

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.

An end to leaving children in orphanages

24/07/2018 | UBS Optimus Foundation

Together with major organizations we're launching a new Taskforce to strengthen care systems, promote family based care and end orphanages worldwide, echoing UK Government’s landmark commitment.

When violence wears a familiar face

13.06.2018 | UBS Optimus Foundation

Children should feel safe at home, in school and in their communities – the exact places where most children experience violence. This is what we discovered in our latest Optimus Study.

Is quality education for all a close reality?

30/04/2018 | UBS Optimus Foundation

An increasing trend towards private schooling has the potential to drive innovation, expertise and talent when regulated and funded effectively. These models have a significant role to play in providing a more diverse range of education options to complement traditional publically-operated institutions.

Can we buy social impact? The world’s first Social Success Note could be the answer to the SDGs funding gap.

11/04/2018 | UBS Optimus Foundation

It’s estimated that an extra $2.5 trillion of funding will be needed each year in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In order to bridge such a gap it is vital that the development community looks to the financial industries for innovative solutions. The Social Success Note blends funds from donor organizations, governments and private debt and equity. It seeks to build a larger pool of both investment and outcome funding in order to successfully scale up solutions to the funding gap - and to provide safe and clean water to over 1.4 million school children in Uganda.

Saving lives is more rewarding than ever – thanks to UBS innovation

30/11/2017 | UBS Optimus Foundation

The world’s first development impact bond in healthcare enables clients to put their capital to work and improve maternity care in India. We’re pioneers in the innovative development financing space, which aims to secure new and much needed sources of finance and deliver significant and sustainable social returns. Two years ago we launched the first-ever development impact bond (DIB) in education, which is on track to deliver on its ambitious targets. Now we're taking another important step with a ground-breaking healthcare DIB.

Find out how we are putting impact first in our Annual Review 2016

02/08/2017 | UBS Optimus Foundation

In 2016, we achieved a new fundraising record of CHF 61 million, but more importantly, this allowed us to improve the lives and futures of 1.6 million vulnerable children globally. Read more about the exciting successes of our partners and the groundbreaking work we have done to create innovative development financing products to achieve more impact.

World's first Development Impact Bond in education delivers robust results

29/06/2017 | UBS Optimus Foundation

After two years, the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond (DIB) remains on track with regards to its ambitious three-year targets. The second-year results show enrolment targets exceeded and continued learning gains, with improved results for the hardest to reach girls. It is delivering real social returns and the indications are that we will recoup our initial investment.

The road to bad charity is paved with good intentions

15/01/2017 | UBS Optimus Foundation

I'm currently going through a mid-life crisis; my husband's. He's bought himself a big black motorcycle and is out every weekend pretending to be Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. And he's always saying I should come with him. I’m happy he’s happy, but there's no way I'm getting on that death trap, although I must admit I do like the idea of the leather jacket. So I smile, and then I give him some pre-planned excuse why I can’t go.

New financial instruments will help increase money flows and scale our impact

30/12/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

1.4 trillion dollars, that's how much extra money will be needed each year so low- and lower middle-income countries can reach the ambitious sustainable development goals and lift the world's poorest 700 million people out of poverty by 2030, according to a recent UN report (PDF, 2 MB). That's a huge price tag especially when you contrast it with the fact that this year the OECD reported that Official Development Assistance totaled a "mere" 134 billion dollars.

Your next doctor's appointment is…never

15/12/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

One billion people have no healthcare, and millions of children die each year as a consequence. Proven ways exist to prevent this, but they're not being given a chance. Our new Health: Going Further portfolio aims to change this.

Ignoring child sexual abuse effectively condones it. Period.

01/12/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

The levels of sexual abuse of children in South Africa are far worse than elsewhere. It's a commonly held view, but an erroneous one according to the recently published Optimus Study: Sexual victimisation of children in South Africa (PDF, 3 MB). The study, together with previous Optimus Studies in Switzerland and China (PDF, 3 MB), found that in all three countries around one-third of children and adolescents report exposure to some form of sexual abuse. So South Africa appears to be in line with the rest of the world.

Dads, diapers and drinking water

30/01/2017 | UBS Optimus Foundation

Racing with a baby, and a water bucket on the head: how dads in Tanzania are learning to be better parents and providers

Suniya's story – a life shattered in seconds by the Nepal earthquake

15/11/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

In April 2015, a devastating earthquake tipped a poor country into one in desperate need of aid. Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation explains how donations of UBS employees and clients have helped.

Measurement and performance – there's an app for that

01/11/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

I recently returned from Bhilwara, in Rajasthan, India. I was there to see how the innovative Educate Girls (EG) Development Impact Bond (DIB) financing model has changed the way impact is delivered. Whilst it is still early days, I was delighted to see that not only are girls enrolling in bigger numbers and boys and girls are learning more, but also that the DIB framework is enhancing Educate Girls’ ability to do that.

Looking back at our work – with Médécins Sans Frontières

15/10/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

“When people think about the conflict in Syria they often picture boats crossing the Mediterranean, or makeshift camps in neighboring countries. But the people we see on TV or in the newspapers are just some of those displaced. The vast majority of Syrians have been displaced internally."

Addressing violence at its roots: a quest for philanthropy

01/10/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

With the ongoing conflicts around the world, and devastating images reaching us on a daily basis, the effect of violence has become very present in people’s minds. Research has shown that exposure to violence at a young age is a major predictor of crime and violent behavior later in life.

Looking back at our work – with Roots of Empathy

15/09/2016 | UBS Optimus Foundation

"In 2016, Roots of Empathy celebrates its 20th anniversary. We started in Canada and are now in ten countries and have reached almost 800,000 children. We are an evidence-based school program that has shown significant effect in reducing the levels of aggression among elementary school children by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy."