Swiss Foundations Are Powering On

    Swiss Foundations Are Powering On

    Lombard Odier has a leadership role in foundations. An interview with Patrick Odier in le Temps coincides with the publication of the annual report of SwissFoundations. Read more about the foundations landscape in Switzerland.

    The creation of foundations continues to gather pace in Switzerland with 349 new ones registered last year. That’s the findings of the latest SwissFoundations report, which was released on Monday, 15 May 2017.

    According to the report, Switzerland now has 13,172 charitable foundations. With an average density of 15.8 foundations per 10,000 inhabitants, Switzerland remains a leader in Europe, behind Liechtenstein (331.3) and Hungary (16.2).

    This year’s edition has a special focus on French-speaking Switzerland home to 3’438 foundations with a total endowment of CHF 13.4 billion. As an example of a successful cluster-building initiative, the report cites the collaboration between the Chancellery of Geneva, SwissFoundations and Fondation Lombard Odier over the past three years, organising roundtables to exchange on issues and best practices. “Geneva holds the highest momentum and benefits from its international significance,” says Professor Georg von Schnurbein, one of the report’s authors “The Canton of Geneva has also seen a strengthening of the co-operation between the state and foundations over the past few years.”

    Supported by tens of thousands of volunteers, foundations in Switzerland are deeply embedded in society. With 48 new foundations, the canton of Geneva is leading the field. While the number of new foundation start-ups has declined by one-third in the Canton of Zurich, Basel-City recorded twice as many new foundations as in 2015, and remains the leader in the number of foundations per capita, with 46 foundations per 10,000 inhabitants.

    The report also shows that foundations’ primary fields of action continue to be an important supplement to the work of the public sector. Some 81.9% of Swiss foundations are active in one or more of the three major areas of culture & leisure, social services and education & research.

    SwissFoundations considers that the wave of foundation dissolutions stemming from the low-financial return environment now lies behind us. Rather, the bottleneck for foundations will in the future be the identification of suitable persons for foundation boards. A total of 62,201 persons are involved in foundation boards, of which 3,868 serve on two boards, and 1,352 on more than two. What will happen when they retire, and how can we help our philanthropic clients to keep making a difference?

    Read the Le Temps interview of 16 May with Patrick Odier: « Les fondations devraient collaborer davantage ».

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