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UBS launches a new philanthropy offering for US clients


UBS Financial Services’ wealth management clients in the US are now able to make philanthropic donations to the UBS Optimus Foundation (the Foundation). 

The Foundation is dedicated to the health, education and protection of children around the world. Investors with an interest in improving the lives and potential of children will now have the opportunity to join UBS clients in other parts of the world in accessing the Foundation’s verified and focused network of community-based partner organisations as part of their own philanthropic giving and wealth management planning, via the recently-established Friends of UBS Optimus Foundation Fund.

Established in 1999, the Foundation is a charitable grant-making vehicle dedicated to ensuring children are healthy, safe and ready for their future. To date, it has received over 20,000 donations, totaling more than USD250 million. The Foundation currently funds projects in 40 countries reaching 1.8 million children, and offers UBS clients a range of options to support causes and charities that are important to them without the burden of doing their own research, vetting and monitoring. The Foundation works with experienced partner organisations around the world to identify, track, and supervise the programs, and provides regular updates to clients to ensure that they remain properly informed of the impact of their support. Because UBS bears all administrative costs of the Foundation, 100% of client donations go directly to the intended service organisations.

“Our clients are increasingly looking for advice regarding their philanthropic giving — both in directing and executing their social investments, as well as ensuring they are achieving their desired impact,” says Bob McCann, CEO of UBS Group Americas. “Through the UBS Optimus Foundation, we can provide a unique giving experience that is aligned with clients’ overall wealth management goals. We are proud that our US clients now have the opportunity to invest in established programs that we believe will deliver tangible and measurable results.”

“By choosing to work with only the best-in-class partners — including the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in South Asia, a regional office of J-PAL Global based at the Economics Department at MIT— we are providing clients with a turnkey offering that will deploy their resources in ways that create meaningful and lasting impact,” says Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation. “We focus on aiding children in areas of the world that are impoverished or isolated, which typically present a challenge for individual philanthropists. Our mission is to eliminate those barriers and make investments early in children’s lives in order to yield both social and economic results.”

As one of the first banks to engage in philanthropy solutions for wealth management clients around the world, UBS' commitment to giving has a strong history and deep roots in the bank's culture. UBS was voted the Best Private Bank for Philanthropic Services by Euromoney 2014 based on the strength of its Client Philanthropy Services, which covers the complete value chain in philanthropy, providing giving, investing and networking resources to align clients' wealth with their values. Nicole Sebastian, previously with the Robin Hood Foundation, UNICEF and Heidrick & Struggles, will oversee this new philanthropic offering for US clients.

This new philanthropy offering is being made available in the US as the Friends of UBS Optimus Foundation Fund, through a collaboration with National Philanthropic Trust, which manages one of the largest donor-advised funds in the world.

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