UBS Launches Philanthropic Portfolio to Improve Healthcare in World's Most Neglected Communities

Key facts:

  • One billion people have no access to basic healthcare¹, and 6 million children die each year from preventable causes²
  • Simple, proven ways exist to prevent this but they aren't being financed or scaled
  • Portfolio approach is a highly effective way to ensure large-scale, result-based improvements
  • All client donations will be doubled by our portfolio partners
  • UBS Optimus Foundation plans to co-fund portfolio

NEW YORK--()--The UBS Optimus Foundation today launches Going Further: a philanthropic health portfolio, which breaks new ground in the way we think about financing and delivering large scale, transformational change for the world's most neglected communities. The Foundation plans to co-fund the portfolio. In addition, all donations will be doubled by portfolio partners, increasing the reach and impact of each donation significantly. And the UBS Optimus Foundation guarantees that 100% of each donation will go to portfolio programs because UBS covers all its administrative costs.

A matter of urgency

The currently fragmented approach to development funding isn't working. While billions of dollars are spent annually on aid programs it's estimated that an extra USD 1.4 trillion³ is needed each year to lift 700 million people out of poverty and neglect by 2030 and meet the world's ambitious new development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals. This makes the case for attracting even greater levels of private capital to augment traditional funding streams more compelling than ever.

But it's not just about income. Outcomes are equally important. Despite the resources poured into development aid, the results are not what we're entitled to expect. Today, children in some areas are still 20 times more likely to die than in developed countries⁴. A lack of focus on outcomes means it's often unclear if funds are being used effectively. Many donors only have access to a single standalone program. This may fail, and even if it does work the impact is relatively small. And too many promising programs are being overlooked and not financed or taken to scale. There's clearly a need to explore new ways of financing and delivering change that is concerted, significant and lasting. And that's exactly what the Going Further portfolio seeks to do.

"The new Going Further portfolio offers UBS clients the opportunity to support a diverse set of world-renowned partners with best-in-class, result-focused programs that can drive the large-scale global change needed to ensure children thrive," said Sergio P. Ermotti, UBS CEO and Chairman of the UBS Optimus Foundation Board of Directors.

Ambition and action

Bundling high-quality, result-focused programs designed to address a specific issue within a portfolio structure gives programs access to additional funding. This allows the best ideas to grow faster and reach the maximum possible number of people. And it allows donors to maximize their immediate and long-term philanthropic impact while spreading risk.

The advantages of a portfolio approach:

  • unique access to a diverse set of world-renowned partners
  • tried and tested programs, combined with highly promising new programs
  • creation of funding pool to help successful programs grow faster
  • increased probability of backing successful, transformational change
  • cross-pollination of best-practice between programs
  • robust, pre-agreed performance standards to ensure programs stay on track
  • reduction in the risk associated with supporting a single program
  • support of a proof-of-concept model to build momentum for a new, more effective way to finance and deliver aid

Examples of Going Further portfolio partners

Last Mile Health: In Liberia, Last Mile Health ensures access to quality primary health services for those living in remote communities. Its workers are members of the communities they serve and bring critical health services to the doorsteps of people living in the some of the world's hardest places to reach.

Living Goods: In many countries people lack access to quality health and food products. Private markets are unregulated and erratic, resulting in high prices. And public systems are under-funded, under-managed, and under-stocked. Through an ‘Avon-like’ approach women in the program are providing access to much-needed products and information to improve family health. And, as micro-entrepreneurs, they can also earn a living for themselves and their families.

We Care Solar: Each year, over a quarter of a million mothers die of pregnancy-related complications and nearly one million babies die on the first day of their life, often in health centers without reliable electricity. The Solar Suitcase is low-cost and easy to use and captures the sun's energy during the day to provide a reliable source of electricity at night in health clinics in poor rural areas. This powers lights, medical and communication equipment, transforming the chances of survival for mothers and babies.

mCARE: Millions of newborn babies die each year, many in poor areas where births usually occur in the home. In rural Bangladesh, 90% of births occur at home and the neonatal mortality rate stands at 23 deaths for every 1,000 live births – ten times greater than in many developed countries. mCare uses simple mobile phone-based technology to provide pregnant women with information and link them to a local community health worker and an emergency neonatal care team. It has increased the number of women accessing ante-natal services by 260%.

Robust oversight: Detailed reporting from portfolio partners, regular reviews by the UBS Optimus Foundation's team, and assessments by external experts will allow continuous measurement of the impact of portfolio programs. With this clear understanding of how each program is performing, the UBS Optimus Foundation can make adjustments where necessary and advise on a course of action that will ensure the best outcomes for children, their families and communities.

Notes to Editors

About the UBS Optimus Foundation

We're an award-winning, expert grant-making foundation that helps UBS clients use their wealth to drive positive, sustainable social change for children. We connect them with inspiring entrepreneurs, new technologies, and proven models that bridge a gap preventing children from surviving and thriving. We select programs that improve children's health, education and protection, ones that have the potential to be transformative, scalable and sustainable. And we guarantee that 100% of all donations go to support programs that benefit children because UBS covers all our costs. To find out more about the Going Further portfolio visit Follow us on Twitter @UBSOptimus

About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.

UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Disclaimer: This release was created by UBS Optimus Foundation and is provided solely for information purposes. It does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or other specific service. UBS Optimus Foundation does not provide investment, legal or tax advice and this document does not constitute such advice. Certain products and services are subject to legal restrictions and cannot be offered worldwide on an unrestricted basis. Although all information and opinions herein were obtained from sources believed to be reliable and in good faith, neither representation nor warranty, express or implied, is made as to their accuracy, completeness or reliability, and they are subject to change at any time without notice. Neither UBS Optimus Foundation nor any of its directors, representatives or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of this release. ©UBS 2016. The key symbol and UBS are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of UBS. All rights reserved.

¹Source: WHO. Universal Health Coverage: Report by the Secretariat. January 2013. ² Source: UNICEF. The UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. Levels and trends in child mortality: report. September 2015. 30 million children in the world are not immunized against treatable or preventable diseases. Source: UNICEF. Why are children dying? Available at: ³ Investment needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals ⁴ Source: United Nations World Population Prospects Report.


Maya Dillon, +1-212-713-3130
Ian Welle-Skitt, +41-44-235-90-49


Maya Dillon, +1-212-713-3130
Ian Welle-Skitt, +41-44-235-90-49