The competence center for charitable foundations A journey into the world of philanthropy: Discovering Ticino
In Ticino, the Charitable Foundations Competence Center established by Credit Suisse in 2019 has been represented since the beginning by Francesco Andreazzi and Ohan Inian – two ambassadors who dedicate themselves to this important sector with commitment and passion. Their role is to build bridges between the clients’ needs and Credit Suisse's wide-ranging global expertise.
In order to address the challenges and changes that charitable foundations are confronted with, it is important to have a reliable and professional banking partner locally that is close to regional requirements. “As ambassadors for Ticino, we are committed to supporting the foundations in our region not only in the area of investment strategies, but also to accompany them as a true partner through the various stages of their existence. This is why we decided to focus our business in Ticino around three topics that we consider to be particularly important: Skills, network, and innovation”, Francesco Andreazzi explains.
Credit Suisse has a long-standing relationship with charitable foundations in Switzerland in various forms. Among these, one of the key elements is the development of specific skills in the nonprofit sector. For years, Credit Suisse has offered its employees a special training program to equip them with skills that they can use in favor of the non-profit sector– for example, by taking on an active role on a foundation board.
As Ohan Inian explains: “There has always been a great deal of interest in this training program, even though interested employees have had to travel to Zurich or Geneva. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic in 2021, as regional ambassadors we were able for the first time to offer this training also in Ticino, in cooperation with the Foundation Competence Center for Nonprofit organizations – cenpro, and the Credit Suisse Corporate Citizenship unit. This enabled the participating colleagues to broaden their knowledge of the nonprofit sector. For us it was a great satisfaction and, given the enthusiasm and great demand, we are already planning the second event.”
A further objective of the Credit Suisse Competence Center is to offer foundations the opportunity to network with specialists and other nonprofit organizations. “In Ticino,” says Francesco Andreazzi, “we were the main sponsor of the first edition of the Strategic Philanthropy Biennial, which cenpro organized on September 30, 2021, at Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano.“ The symposium, which was the first of its kind in Ticino, with leading sector experts attending – such as Henry Peter (Director of Geneva Centre for Philanthropy, University of Geneva), Georg von Schnurbein (Director of Center for Philanthropy Studies at the University of Basel), Lukas von Orelli (President of SwissFoundations), Christoph Degen (Director of proFonds), Andrew Holland (Director of Mercator Foundation Switzerland), Sabrina Grassi (Director of Swiss Philanthropy Foundation), and Daniela Bertoli (Deputy Director of Credit Suisse Foundation) – attracted over 160 participants from the world of donor foundations.
“The event was a chance to exchange information and discuss best practice in the philanthropy sector. The various networking opportunities stimulated an intense exchange of views and networking among participants. As regional ambassadors, we are very pleased with the collaboration established with cenpro, which benefits the philanthropy sector in Ticino, and we are confident that together we can make a real difference,” say Franceso Andreazzi and Ohan Inian.
“During the last two years,” continues Ohan Inian, “we have realized that people who want to give something back by financially supporting initiatives or projects often lack the necessary expertise to do so or believe it is too costly and time-consuming. For this reason, on the first of December 2021, we organized the first training session – entitled Fit4Philanthropy – for our clients who wish to enter the world of philanthropy and are considering setting up their own foundation, but first want to gain insight and lay the groundwork to make their project more concrete.”
Francesco Andreazzi says: “The first meeting was about emotion and the spark that triggers the desire to engage in philanthropy. At the events planned for 2022, we would like to go into more detail about the legal entities available for this purpose, as well as governance issues and investment methods for foundations (with a special focus on sustainable investments). We are convinced that a core aspect of our ambassadorial role is to offer our clients a meeting space where they can acquire new knowledge, but also simply have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other people who also want to get involved in good causes.” The two Ticino ambassadors are very pleased with the success of this first event and can hardly wait for the next ones.
"The passion for philanthropy drives us each day in every meeting with charitable foundations. We both believed in this competence center from the very first moment, and we wanted to become its regional ambassadors. The philanthropists and foundation board members we interact with are passionate and committed to driving the purpose of their foundations and associations, and it is a privilege for us to be part of that. We are happy to make ourselves truly useful in a sector with such a noble purpose, building bridges between the needs of our region and the global skills that our bank has,” conclude our two regional ambassadors.