Press release 6 March 2008
Zurich/Basel, 6 March 2008
Swiss Foundations Competence Center at the University of Basel
The University of Basel is to serve as home to Switzerland’s first interdisciplinary competence center for foundations and philanthropy. This project estimated to cost 2.5 million Swiss Franks was launched by SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grantmaking Foundations, in view of promoting and offering scientifically founded research, training, and services in this field.
As of autumn 2008, the University of Basel will establish an interdisciplinary competence center for foundations and philanthropy. This idea was initially proposed by SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grantmaking Foundations, which will also be providing start-up financing of 2.5 million Swiss Franks over five years thanks to various member foundations. The following members have already agreed to contribute: AVINA FOUNDATION, Hurden; GERBERT RÜF FOUNDATION, Zurich; the Sophie and Karl Binding Foundation, Basel.
Within the scope of a call for tenders, several Swiss universities were invited to bid for this funding. The University of Basel was chosen on the basis of its convincing concept for the establishment of such a center.
The foundations sector in Switzerland is a growth industry. Every year, new foundations are formed in addition to the estimated 11,000 existing non-profit foundations in place. According to estimates, the annual volume of grants currently amounts to approx. one billion Swiss Franks. This corresponds to approx. two percent of the overall budget of the Swiss federal government - and it is an upwards trend. Nevertheless, beyond the field of foundation law, foundations and common public utility have never been investigated scientifically in Switzerland. There is a lack of reliable data on the size, development, and significance of this sector as well as an absence of a science-based orientation frame for strategic and operational foundation work. These gaps are now to be bridged at the new competence center in Basel. In addition to this, this new center will also be offering to grant-makers, foundation representatives, and other interested parties advisory and training services.