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2nd European Corporate Foundations Knowledge Exchange


Walter B. Kielholz
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Swiss Re
Walter B. Kielholz was elected to the Board of Directors of Swiss Re in 1998. He was Vice Chairman from 2003 to April 2009 and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2009. Walter B. Kielholz began his career at the General Reinsurance Corporation, Zurich, in 1976. In 1986, he joined Credit Suisse, where he was responsible for relationships with large insurance groups. He joined Swiss Re in 1989 where he became an Executive Board member in 1993 and was CEO from 1997 to 2002. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group Ltd from 1999 to 2014 and served as Chairman from 2003 to 2009.
Input: «What a Corporate Foundation means to the company»
Stefan Huber
Deputy Head Swiss Re Foundation

Stefan joined the Swiss Re Foundation in 2015. From 2001 to 2005 and again from 2008 to 2015, he worked as a CSR consultant. In the last three years of that time, Stefan was both an executive committee member and a partner of the company. From 2005 to 2008, he worked at an Ecuadorian foundation to support a social entrepreneur launch a recycling business.
In his role as deputy head of the Swiss Re Foundation, Stefan manages the global project portfolio, supports strategy development and manages operations.

Welcome address

Leslie Johnston
Executive Director C&A Foundation
Leslie Johnston joined C&A Foundation as its first Executive Director in August 2013 and brings over 20 years of management experience across multiple sectors, including smallholder agribusiness, entrepreneurship and corporate philanthropy. At C&A Foundation, Leslie led the development of the foundation’s first global vision, mission, and strategy, anchored on making fashion a force for good.  She oversees team of over 50 people across 10 countries, working to improve lives and livelihoods across the foundation’s five signature programmes.
Input:  «Reflection on the relationship between the corporation and the foundation»
Davide Triacca
Secretary General of Costa Crociere Foundation

Davide Triacca joined the Costa Crociere Foundation in 2015 and become its Secretary General in 2017. By managing the Foundation resources and contributing to shape its strategy, Davide’s role is to lead its evolution and growth in the global arena. In its past experiences Davide held senior positions in the sustainability and climate finance industries, for national and international key players. He is currently a board member of the Liguria Cluster for Marine Technologies and part of the scientific committee of the Sustainable Logistics Association - SOS Logistica. 

Input:  «Reflection on the relationship between the corporation and the foundation»

Dr. Manuel Rybach
Global Head of Public Affairs and Policy of Credit Suisse and and Managing Director of the Credit Suisse Foundation

Dr. Manuel Rybach is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse and serves as Global Head of Public Affairs and Policy. In addition, he serves as Head of Corporate Citizenship and International Relations in the Chairman's Office and as Managing Director of the Credit Suisse Foundation. Previously, he was Head of Public Policy APAC as well as Chief of Staff to the CEO APAC, based in Hong Kong, managed the Credit Suisse Research Institute and served as Head of Governmental Affairs, based in Zurich. He has also been based in Singapore and Washington, DC, working on public policy issues. Manuel is member of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System and the WEF's Steering Committee on Promoting Global Financial Inclusion.

Input:  «Reflection on the relationship between the corporation and the foundation»

Curdin Duschletta
Managing Director, Head of Community Affairs Switzerland & Foundations, UBS Switzerland AG

Together with his team, Curdin facilitates UBS' community engagement in Switzerland. He holds a Federal Diploma as Swiss Certified Banking Expert as well as Certificates in Methodology & Didactics, Education Management and a CAS in Global Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Basle. In addition to his day job as head of UBS Community Affairs Switzerland & Foundation he is the Executive Director of the UBS Foundation for Social Issues & Education and serves on boards of foundations and social enterprises such as the Zurich James Joyce Foundation or Bookbridge.

Prof. Dr. Georg von Schnurbein
Assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Basel and founding director of the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) at the University of Basel

Georg von Schnurbein is assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Basel  and founding director of the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) at the University of Basel, Switzerland. The Center was initiated by SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grandmaking Foundations.
He is the author of various publications on subjects such as foundation management, governance, and nonprofit management and marketing. Georg von Schnurbein serves as member of the board of the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP).

Input: «Managing Corporate Foundations – Does the context matter?»

Steven Serneels
Chair EVPA, Corporate Initiative Task Group

In 1992, Steven started his own company specialized in Supply Chain and Operations Strategy. As business entrepreneur, he grew the company before selling it in 2008.In 2011, he joined Ashoka Global in Washington as strategic advisor, focussing on how citizen sector organizations and corporations can work together successfully.
Steven is actively involved in multiple activities bringing together the corporate world and the social space to create value for both, in following capacities:

  • Board member of EVPA and chair of the task group on the Corporate Initiative, Connect 4 Change.
  • Investor of SI² and chairman of Kampani, both impact investment funds
  • Chairman of I-­Propeller, a consultancy on ‘shared value’
  • Visiting Professor at Hult International Business School, Dubai, lecturing on Business in Society.

He co-authored EVPA’s report on ‘Corporate Social Impact Strategies – New paths for collaborative growth’; May 2015, and the book ‘Everyone Social: Can entrepreneurs save the world’.

Input: «What do the SDGs mean for Corporate Foundations?»

Malgorzata Zdzienicka
President Foundation BGZ BNP Paribas

Malgorzata has been President of the BGZ BNP Paribas Foundation since 2008 and is CSR head at BGZ BNP Paribas Bank. She is engaged in ethical business initiatives among others at the Polish Banking Association (ZBP) and active in promotion of the sustainable business development in Poland. Malgorzata lectures CSR & business ethics at the Psychology Faculty Warsaw University - arguing that the integrity of personal values and business attitudes defines the core of meaningful business in 21st century.

Input: «What do the SDGs mean for Corporate Foundations?»

Paul Streets OBE
Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation

Paul joined the Foundation in May 2013 after a career which has spanned the voluntary and public sector and work in International development (DfiD/Sight Savers), Human Rights (Amnesty International), professional and service regulation and health and social care. He has been Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, the Health Development Agency and the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. Immediately prior to the Foundation he worked as a Senior Civil Servant in the Department of Health heading up Public and Patient Engagement and Experience. He is currently Chairman of Contact a Family the leading UK Charity supporting families of children with severe disabilities and Chair of the UK Rare Diseases Advisory Group. He was Deputy Chairman at the Healthcare Commission from 2000 until 2009 and the first lay member of the Royal College of Physicians Council.

Input: «Corporate Foundations speaking out – challenges in playing an advocacy role»

Patricia Benchenna
General Director of Schneider Electric Foundation
Patricia Benchenna is Corporate Philanthropy director at Schneider Electric. She leads the Schneider Electric Foundation which mission is to contribute to close the energy gap. She is also responsible for the robust Volunteering initiatives at Schneider Electric (Schneider Electric Teachers and VolunteerIn). Recently she has contributed to  launch a task force to develop social innovation in Schneider Electric around fuel poverty. Patricia coordinates several initiatives in this field at the European level including an European call for projects “Social innovation to tacke fuel poverty” co-created with Ashoka two years ago. Previously, Patricia hold different positions within Corporate Coms for Schneider Electric and was head of communications in Sustainability for several years. She is also member of the board of directors of le Centre Français d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP).
Input: «Corporate Foundations speaking out – challenges in playing an advocacy role»
Amanda Jordan OBE
Chair of Association of Charitable Foundations (UK), Executive Chair of Corporate Citizenship

Amanda Jordan is a founder and now co Executive Chair of Corporate Citizenship a global sustainability and CSR business. Amanda’s career began in the voluntary sector and since moving into the business world in the early 90s she has held a number of advisory roles with successive governments.  In addition to her varied client experience spanning all sectors she has written and presented on issues related to responsible business practice and self-regulation in both established and emerging economies.  She was a founder board member of the UK National Lottery Charities Board and amongst her many current commitments she is a member of the IC-CSR Advisory Committee at Nottingham University Business School, Chair of the Association of Charitable Foundations, former Chair of The Baring Foundation, Vice President of The National Literacy Trust, co-founder of the Step up to Serve campaign and an Ambassador for Uprising.

Input: «The Big Elephant in the room - Is the Corporate Foundation model still relevant?»

Beate Eckhardt
Executive Director SwissFoundations

Beate Eckhardt has been heading SwissFoundations as Managing Director since 2005. Founded in 2001, SwissFoundations is the leading membership organisation and voice of Swiss grant-making foundations.
Prior to assuming the management of SwissFoundations, Beate Eckhardt worked as a freelance communication and project manager, specialized in the fields of education, culture and architecture as well as urban development. Beate Eckhardt studied German linguistics and literature as well as social and economic history at Zurich University. In 2004 she acquired an Executive Master of Science in Communications Management at the University of Lugano and UCLA. In her honorary capacity she serves as board member of the Swiss public-benefit Association (SGG), of the Neumarkt Theatre in Zurich as well as member of the Zurich Philanthropy Roundtable.

Dr. James Magowan
Coordinating Director of DAFNE

James has had a diverse career working in a range of disciplines, from agriculture, through European affairs, to philanthropy, in the private, public and not for profit sectors. James took up his position as Coordinating Director of DAFNE in January 2015.  DAFNE is the European network of national associations of trusts and foundations which involves participation from 25 countries across Europe.  He has also maintained a part-time role with the Association of Charitable Foundations in the UK as their Northern Ireland Development Officer. 


2nd European Corporate Foundations Knowledge Exchange 2017

Images © 2017 SwissFoundations, Regina Jäger

Conference Reports

DAFNE | «Corporate Foundations in Zurich: A significant ‘second’»

by Theresa Gehringer

About 96 representatives from corporate foundations, national foundation associations and research institutes from eleven European countries came together on 21 and 22 November 2017 at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon/Zurich. Following the first European Corporate Foundations Knowledge Exchange in December 2016 in Fontainebleau, DAFNE, the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe, and SwissFoundations, the association of Swiss grant-making foundations, invited to a second conference in Switzerland.


Alliance Blog | «The good, the bad and the unspeakable – corporate foundations gather in Switzerland»

by Theresa Gehringer

Under this striking slogan, the second European Corporate Foundations Knowledge Exchange took place on the 21 and 22 of November 2017. Following the first edition in December 2016 in France, DAFNE and SwissFoundations invited to a second meeting in Switzerland hosted by the Swiss Re Foundation in Rüschlikon.

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