List of the 300 largest foundations Switzerland [2023 Update]

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Features-of-ResearchgermanyContains the largest charitable and non-profit foundations in Switzerland with various focuses, such as research, education, social affairs, art & culture, etc.

Excellent level of detail: foundation focus (health, politics, etc.), foundation assets (if available), contact persons and contact information.

Last updated: 03.05.2023. Free preview available on request via contact [at]

Only with us: High-quality lists thanks to manual data maintenance by our experienced research team in Munich. Boutique research instead of unchecked crawler data.

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family foundation

List of 3 large foundations in Switzerland

Switzerland is a foundation paradise. This is not only due to the liberal framework conditions and the long foundation tradition, but also in view of the fact that there are 16 charitable foundations for every 10,000 people living in Switzerland. Here are a few examples of foundations from our list.

1. Jacobs Foundation, Zurich

The Jacobs Foundation, headquartered in Zurich, focuses on promoting the future of young people and, in terms of foundation assets, is one of the major players in the Swiss foundation market. The core objective is to guarantee the growing generation extensive access to educational opportunities from infancy onwards, thus creating optimal conditions in which children and young people can realize their full development potential.

Programmatically, the foundation has three sub-areas with a focus on “Learning”: Minds, Schools and Societies. New impulses and ideas regarding optimal child development and lifelong human learning are to be combined and interlinked in the “Learning Minds” area. In the “Learning Schools” portfolio, schools are supported in gaining scientific knowledge and disseminating best practices. The task and goal of the “Learning Societies” is to strengthen evidence-based decision-making at the political level and within companies in order to contribute to positive systemic change overall.

2. Ernst Göhner Foundation, Zug

The entrepreneur Ernst Göhner (1900-1971) is the name giver and foundation father of the Ernst Göhner Foundation (EGS) based in Zug. This foundation has both an entrepreneurial and a philanthropic character and also pursues the purposes of a classic family foundation. The foundation’s work focuses on a wide range of charitable areas – in particular culture, the environment, social issues, education and science.

EGS invests in an entrepreneurial sense with a long-term horizon, particularly in companies and real estate. In addition, this heavyweight in the Swiss foundation landscape has a broad portfolio of financial investments and also provides venture capital for start-ups. The active management of the assets is intended to generate the most stable possible income for the fulfillment of the foundation’s purposes. Asset management and investment activities of the foundation also take sustainability aspects into account.

The Ernst Göhner Foundation is also a founding member of SwissFoundations, the association of funding foundations in Switzerland.

3. Fondation Botnar, Basel

A very important player in the philanthropic foundation sector is Fondation Botnar. The foundation’s primary goal is to improve the health and well-being of young people, especially in urban areas. Investment priorities are primarily in the area of innovative programs, research, AI and digital technologies.

What is interesting here is the very specific approach to bringing about the improvements in smaller cities in particular, so-called secondary cities. These benefit – in contrast to international metropolises or capitals – less from large investments, so that the Fondation Botnar starts exactly there with its financing projects. Consequently, only cities from countries with low to medium income index are relevant: Romania, Tanzania, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Senegal, India (Odisha or Rajasthan), Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Update 2023: In response to accelerating global urbanization, cities in the future will need to deploy data-driven and digital technologies in ethical and equitable ways. Within this framework, Fondation Botnar has launched a research program called TYPCities. The program will run for three years (2023-2026).

Image Source: Claudio Verna via Unsplash (01.08.2023)

corporate foundation

Overview of the Swiss foundation landscape

The density of foundations in Switzerland is exceptionally high: on average, there are just under 16 foundations for every 10,000 inhabitants – an absolute top position worldwide.

At the beginning of 2022, approximately 13,500 charitable foundations were registered in the land of the Swiss, and one new foundation was added every day in 2021 – in fact, 365 in total. This growth is significant even by Swiss standards and compared to the previous year. In particular, the major metropolitan areas saw the highest number of new foundations, and in the following order by canton: Zurich (51 new foundations), Geneva (48), Zug (36). If we take the absolute number of foundations, the city of Zurich is in the lead (2,232 foundations in total).

Our research team has compiled the largest foundations in Switzerland as part of an intensive research process. With just a few clicks, our list of foundations can be downloaded as an Excel file and edited as desired. The list contains a variety of data points: from foundation assets to the founder(s) to foundation focus (education, research, art & culture, health, etc.) and contact details. This allows you to easily identify the right foundations for your project and immediately start targeting them. We support foundation consultants, banks, investment boutiques, real estate professionals, social institutions and many more in finding the optimal business partners.

Foundation assets, foundation purpose and contact details

Our list is ideally suited to start your work around the relevant foundations in Switzerland. In some cases we can provide an estimate of the foundation’s capital and the founder behind it. For each foundation, contact details, the purpose of the foundation and more detailed information about the focus are given. The contact details range from the relevant contact person to e-mail, URL, telephone and address. We thus save you hours of research by compiling, structuring and clearly presenting the publicly available information.

Family foundations, corporate foundations, investment foundations

The foundations included in our list are diverse in nature. Our list includes both the major family foundations (e.g. Sandoz Family Foundation) and the private foundations of wealthy Swiss entrepreneurs (e.g. Kühne). Some of the major private foundations were established several decades ago. Through far-sighted financial management and a sensible spending policy, it has usually been possible to preserve or even increase the foundation’s assets. Also included in the list are some investment foundations (e.g. Zurich Investment Foundation).

Funding for education, research, health and more

Our list can be filtered by what is funded with just a few clicks. Many foundations specialize in education funding. This is done by supporting schools, universities, their own programs and awarding scholarships. Also, a major focus is the promotion of research projects, with particular emphasis on medical research. In addition, the promotion of democracy, social causes, environmental protection and the promotion of art and culture are in the repertoire of many foundations.

Image Source: Medienstürmer via Unsplash (01.08.2023)


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