In its November 24th 2021 edition, the AGEFI newspaper devoted a special report to philanthropy. Aline Freiburghaus, Director of SwissFoundations for French-speaking Switzerland, and Sabrina Grassi, Director General of Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and Co-Vice President of SwissFoundations, had the opportunity to express their views on the changes that the foundation sector is currently undergoing.
In their contribution, Aline Freiburghaus and Sabrina Grassi point out that “More and more foundations want to respond to the needs of society in an efficient and professional manner, in a spirit of partnership and trust”.
The evolution in the will and the way foundation operate is leading to a revolution in the field. The developments and changes underway affect both the management of assets, through sustainable investments, purpose-driven investments or venture philanthropy, and the scope of work, which tends to be international and dedicated to current issues, such as climate change, migration or housing.
This systemic change in Swiss philanthropy has led to the emergence of new forms of foundations. Thus, “in addition to the classic donor foundation model, other forms, such as umbrella foundations, expendable capital foundations, operating foundations or shareholder foundations, are tending to develop”, explain Aline Freiburghaus and Sabrina Grassi.
In addition to the developments inherent to the Swiss foundation sector, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated the need for flexibility in foundations, which have had to adapt in order to be able to respond quickly and effectively to the emergent needs. The surge of solidarity that resulted from the pandemic brought foundations and beneficiary organizations closer together: “From the beginning of the semi-containment, several foundations guaranteed their partners in the field a certain flexibility in the use of the resources that had been allocated to them, in order to cover their immediate needs in the face of Covid-19 and to allow them to postpone or adapt their activities”.