UBS Optimus Foundation launches India chapter to deepen philanthropic engagement
UBS headquarters in Zurich, SwitzerlandPhoto:UBS

UBS Optimus Foundation launches India chapter to deepen philanthropic engagement

Mumbai, September 15, 2021

UBS, one of the world’s largest wealth managers and a leader in sustainable finance, on Tuesday launched the India chapter of its independent philanthropic arm, the UBS Optimus Foundation.

For more than two decades, the UBS Optimus Foundation has been at the forefront of impactful philanthropy, delivering scalable solutions for social and environmental issues, a press release from UBS said.

The new chapter will give philanthropists and UBS clients a direct channel to participate in some of the ground-breaking work achieved by the UBS Optimus Foundation in India and elsewhere. It also deepens UBS’s commitment to the region and to clients seeking to alleviate social inequality and its root causes, the release said.

"UBS Optimus Foundation is an independent philanthropy and world leader in social finance and effective philanthropy, serving clients, and partnering with governments and development agencies to address social issues that underly inequality and that support the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, UBS offers philanthropy advisory services to wealthy clients and family offices seeking to put their wealth to work in socially mindful ways," it said.

Since 2002, the Foundation has granted Rs 350 crore ($ 47 million) to support causes across multiple social sectors in India. Most of these grants have supported educational interventions, with a growing focus on health and child protection. These programs have benefited 4 million children and helped train nearly 240,000 professionals since 2015, the release said.

"This includes issuing the world’s first development impact bond (DIB) for education in 2018, the Quality Education India DIB, for Indian NGO Educate Girls. It also includes a direct $1.5 million donation from UBS in May, 2021, to support COVID-19 emergency and long-term relief programs," it said.

"The India expansion comes as UBS’s philanthropic activities gather pace around the globe, with new initiatives in climate, health, education and child protection issues, and extended activities in social finance," the release said.

Phyllis Costanza, Head of Social Impact at UBS and CEO UBS Optimus Foundation, said: “By deepening our presence in India we hope to mobilise capital for systemic, positive change through client advisory, partnerships, innovative philanthropy, and social finance.”

Uday Odedra, UBS Country Head India and Chief Digital Information Officer APAC, said: “Since the time UBS set up its presence in India, we’ve been active within our communities and have built deep and long-standing associations with key NGO partners through financial and volunteering support. The launch of the UBS Optimus Foundation in India gives us the opportunity to multiply our impact by connecting clients and capital to focus on areas that can improve lives and create lasting change.”

Dhun Davar, Head of Social Finance at UBS Optimus Foundation and India Head for UBS Optimus Foundation and Philanthropy Services, said: “Solving the most pressing social and environmental issues requires collaborative effort that drives impact at scale. Philanthropy can play a catalytic role and we look forward to working together with new corporate, philanthropist, non-profit and government partners on evidence-based, scalable solutions in India.”


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