First-ever evaluation of vitality of lemanic philanthropic sector published

media releases

First-ever evaluation of vitality of lemanic philanthropic sector published

A series of prestigious academic institutions, foundations, and philanthropic sector partners, has today launched a ground-breaking study of the vitality of the philanthropic sector in the Lemanic region, at the initiative of Fondation Lombard Odier.

The rigorous study, titled Doing Better, More Efficiently: Measuring and Enhancing Philanthropic Vitality and carried out to mark Fondation Lombard Odier’s 15th anniversary, follows in the footsteps of the 2010 study, Advancing Philanthropy in Switzerland.

The unprecedented series of partnerships at the heart of the work is an inspiring example of the ‘spirit of Geneva,’ and represents a continuation of Lombard Odier’s tradition of leadership in philanthropy.

Based on a comprehensive analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and a holistic framework that captures the different indicators that jointly determine philanthropic vitality, the study not only takes stock of the state of philanthropic vitality in the region today, but also identifies strategic opportunities to further enhance the dynamism of the sector.

Reflecting the diversity of the region and its organisations, the study is the fruit of a collaboration between the private sector, academia, the cantonal governments of Geneva and Vaud, and the philanthropic sector itself. Several foundations, spanning both the French- and German-speaking regions of Switzerland, funded the work. The project’s Steering Committee includes representatives of Fondation Lombard Odier, SwissFoundations, proFonds, the Centre on Philanthropy of the University of Geneva, the Center for Philanthropy Studies at the University of Basel, FSG, and the Directorate General for Economic Development, Research, and Innovation of the Canton of Geneva.

Key findings of the study include the presence of very high levels of public trust in the philanthropic sector in the Lemanic region, as well as a system of fiscal incentives conducive to encouraging donations. To further enhance the cluster’s attractiveness, the Lemanic philanthropic sector would benefit from strategic action to align cantonal best practices and procedures, accelerate the trend towards transparency, promote board and staff education, accelerate the growth of umbrella foundations, and communicate sector needs and opportunities to enhance its vitality. Assembling a coalition of funders for the vitality of the Lemanic philanthropy hub would be a logical step to co-ordinate these actions.

This methodology will enable us to define fact-based strategies to develop the ‘competitiveness’ and viability of the philanthropic cluster, seize opportunities such as digital transformation, and ultimately direct philanthropic resources where they make the greatest difference.

The study’s Steering Committee envisages the assessment as a proof of concept for a new methodology for assessing philanthropic vitality, which could be repeated regularly in the future to assess progress and change over time. In addition, one of the reasons for including Swiss German organisations in the Steering Committee was to lay the groundwork for the future expansion of the study to cover the entirety of Switzerland. 

Patrick Odier, President of Fondation Lombard Odier, said that “we are proud to have acted as the incubator and facilitator of this pilot project and hope that it will inspire others to take a similarly strategic approach to the development of their philanthropy ecosystems. Additionally, we hope that the approach could be extended to cover the rest of Switzerland in the future. The unprecedented series of partnerships at the heart of the work is an inspiring example of the ‘spirit of Geneva,’ and represents a continuation of Lombard Odier’s tradition of leadership in philanthropy.”

Dr Claudia Genier, Deputy Director of SwissFoundations, and François Geinoz, President of proFonds, pointed out that “philanthropic action is crucial to an equitable and sustainable society in the 21st century. The vitality study represents an important step towards providing us with the tools to continuously improve the enabling environment of philanthropy.”

Professor Henry Peter, Head of the Geneva Centre on Philanthropy (GCP), said: “Just two years after the launch of the Centre, we are delighted to provide world-class research and education on philanthropy in the region. Via this project, we have piloted a methodology that enables us to take our understanding of the sector and the interactions among its players to the next level.”

Marc Pfitzer, Managing Director at FSG, found that “a Lemanic philanthropic hub is both an aspiration and a reality, in tune with the region’s legacy as a global centre of human solidarity: a vitality assessment is about being rigorous in shared measurement and learning to fulfil that vision.”

Alexandre Epalle, Director General, Directorate General for Economic Development, Research, and Innovation, République et Canton de Genève, complimented the project team for “highlighting the core strengths of the philanthropic sector in Geneva and the Lemanic region, for which the region is internationally renowned. Such research will contribute to further professionalising the sector, not only creating increased impact for beneficiaries, but also adding to both the intellectual dynamism and the sustainable economic and financial innovation development of the region.”

Commenting on the structure and goals of the project, Dr Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier, and Chair of the Steering Committee, added that “the unique methodology builds on the learnings from the past decade of professionalization of philanthropy. It will enable us to define fact-based strategies to develop the ‘competitiveness’ and viability of the philanthropic cluster, seize opportunities such as digital transformation, and ultimately direct philanthropic resources where they make the greatest difference.”

The entire study is available online at www.philanthropic-vitality.ch

Important information

This media release has been prepared by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd, a bank and securities dealer authorised and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) (hereinafter "Lombard Odier"). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This media release is provided for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to enter into a relationship with Lombard Odier, nor to subscribe to, purchase, sell or hold any security or financial instrument.
This document may not be reproduced (in whole or in part), transmitted, modified, or used for any public or commercial purpose without the prior written permission of Lombard Odier.
© Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd – All rights reserved