In its 2020 edition of the series “The 300 richest in Switzerland”, the magazine Bilan devoted a dossier on philanthropy and the strong mobilization of donors for health, reinforced by the current health emergency context. Etienne Eichenberger contributed to this notebook by reviewing in particular the collaboration of the foundation he chairs Swiss Philanthropy Foundation with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation in setting up an international emergency fund fight against COVID-19.
“They had an American partner, but they were looking for a European partner. The idea of having a foundation in the heart of Switzerland made sense. Swiss Philanthropy Foundation allowed a partnership with 20 foundations in as many countries. What we brought in was the agility of a structure with a network and a community “, explains Etienne Eichenberger, President of the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.
In the current context and conditions, it is often complex to carry out large-scale actions in the event of a planetary emergency, hence the need to resort to new funding, as evidenced by Thomas Zeltner, former Director of Public Health. in Bern and former head of the Swiss delegation to the WHO: “The increase in global health challenges generates rapid reaction needs […] the implementation of a concerted response is all the more fundamental. But member countries have never found a consensus to increase resources. ”
Philanthropy then appears as one of the alternative and complementary solutions to face major and urgent health challenges. Today in Switzerland, out of the 13,293 foundations listed in 2019, 21% were active mainly in the field of research (particularly medical) and 10% in the field of public health, or nearly a third of all foundations .
“A lot of people have been wondering over the past few months, when many organizations have had to improvise, how much a funded approach with dedicated funds allows for an effective response. What I observed is that the partner must support, with non-dedicated funds and with room for maneuver to react, the causes that can suddenly emerge, as is the case with the health emergency of this year ”, observes Etienne Eichenberger.
Indeed, the classic operation of most philanthropic foundations provides for specific goals, which implies a rigidity on the devolution of funds. However, in the field of emergency, humanitarian, social and health, organizations in the field sometimes need the means to react very quickly.
To face these challenges, the collaborative hosted fund model is one of the alternatives that exist today in Switzerland and abroad. In recent months, Swiss Philanthropy Foundation has thus created three funds on emergency issues. Flexible, structured and guaranteeing rapid and rigorous execution, the hosted fund is a quick alternative solution in favor of long-term actions.
We invite you to consult the full dossier (French): .“Philanthropy comes to the rescue of health”.