Fondation Botnar is a philanthropic foundation established in 2003 with the core purpose of improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments around the world.

Dr. Stefan Germann
Chief Executive Officer

Message from the CEO

The rapid uptake of digital health technologies powered by sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) is creating unprecedented opportunities for global public health over the next 20 years - including helping to solve the shortfall of health workers.

Fondation Botnar aspires to be an open and honest facilitator and a convener of collaborative solutions among a variety of diverse stakeholders. We have a strong belief in approaches that deeply value local knowledge - bringing in the voices and experiences of those who live in urban communities on a daily basis. This is mirrored in our approach, a community led human centered design methodology that  is effective and pioneering, transparent and distinct, and ensures we’re a reliable partner with purpose. After recruiting our management team, developing our strategy, and a new brand platform, we’re excited to officially begin work and open up into the public sphere. This is only the beginning of our new journey, and we will not rest until our belief of “the future now, for children worldwide” has become a reality.

For every child to be a thriving citizen

We want to ensure that every child has the right to enjoy good health, balanced nutrition and quality education in order to lead a dignified life as a thriving citizen who positively contributes to society.

Creating a better tomorrow for all children by investing in emerging solutions today.

To fulfil our vision, we are seizing the big opportunity to improve the well-being of children and young people in vibrant, growing secondary cities around the world. We do this by connecting diverse players in innovative urban environments, investing in digital solutions and jointly developing scalable and sustainable business models.

From grant maker to change maker

Fondation Botnar was established in 2003 with a primary focus on furthering the Botnar family legacy through grants funding of multiple projects. This was solely managed by the board of trustees.

In 2017 the board appointed a CEO with the purpose of setting up a management team and defining a strategic focus. The aim was to move the foundation away from conventional grantmaking to focus on developing new enterprise-based models that help deliver lasting impact which is both sustainable and scalable. 

From 2018, the foundation adopted a new ‘start-up’ entrepreneurial approach and strategy, which sets out a clear roadmap to achieve our vision. The foundation also remains true to its humble family roots by keeping the Botnar family name, maintaining the Botnar family’s philanthropic legacy and by continuing a number of targeted legacy investments. 

The new strategic purpose allows the foundation to be truly focussed in investing for impact - aiming to be collaborative and innovative in how we seek to meet the most difficult challenges facing children. We will achieve this by putting research at the forefront of all our work, establishing learning hubs in key countries to test potential scalable solutions, and by funding research that puts digital innovation at the heart of improving children’s wellbeing in urban spaces. Learning and evaluation will underpin our ability to successfully contribute to our vision. As we learn from our research and implementation we can adapt our strategy to ensure maximum impact moving forwards.

2003 - 2017

  • Furthering the Botnar Family Legacy.
  • Multiple projects/geographies.
  • Limited sharing of lessons.
  • Solely board run.

2018 onwards

  • Phased strategy.
  • Strong focus on learning and evaluation.
  • Focus on health and wellbeing of children and young people in urban spaces.
  • Research led.
  • Established management team.
  • Partners with purpose.
  • Investing for impact.
  • Shaping and enabling policy.
  • Learning Hubs.
  • Furthering the Botnar family legacy.

Our structure

The Board

The Board jointly oversees the governance and decision making of the foundation. It is represented by 6 members who act in accordance with the mission of the foundation and the will of our founder, Marcela.

Investment Commission

The Investment Commission holds the responsibility of managing the financial assets in the best interests of the foundation.

The Scientific Commission

The Scientific Commission holds the responsibility of ensuring the highest scientific quality for all research that the foundation is financing.

The Management Team

The Management Team is run by the CEO. It is responsible for the operational and strategic day-to-day management of the foundation.


The Board

Dr. Otto Bruderer
Dr. Flavia Bustreo
Dr. Martin Lenz
Dr. Peter Lenz (President)
Elsbeth Müller
Amalie Molhant Proost (Rep. founder's family)
Prof. Marcel Tanner

Investment Commission

Dr. Otto Bruderer (Chairman)
Dr. Susanne Haury von Siebenthal (Vice Chairman)
Dr. Urs Ernst

Scientific Commission

Prof. Marcel Tanner

Finance and governance

Since 2015 Fondation Botnar has benefited from a significant boost to its capital base resulting in greater funding potential. In 2016, the foundation board committed to building organisational capacity to support the implementation of its mandate, including appointing a CEO and a dedicated team to effectively manage the foundation’s future strategic direction.

The Fondation Botnar assets of CHF 3.5 billion (as of December 2017) are invested according to leading principles of sustainable institutional asset management.

Fondation Botnar is a member of SwissFoundations, the association of grant-making foundations in Switzerland. We commit to best practice governance in line with the principles and recommendations of the Swiss Foundation Code. Our accounting follows the guidelines of Swiss GAAP FER 21 for philanthropic social non-profit-organisations. Our activities are supervised by the Supervisory Authority for Foundations, Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs.


The Management team

Heike Albrecht

Grant Manager

Kiara Jade Barnes

Engagement and Communications Manager

Dr. Aline Cossy-Gantner

Chief Learning Officer

Dr. Stefan Germann

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Susanna Hausmann-Muela

Chief Program Officer

Thuy Anh Huynh-Le

Grants Administrator

Siddhartha Jha

AI/Digital Program Manager

Szandra McCrory

Executive Assistant

Eva Moldovanyi

Grant Manager

Zur Oren

Partnerships Coordinator

Dr. Beatrice Schibler

Research Project Manager

Karin Schumacher

Chief Operating Officer

Sushant Sharma

Chief Investment Officer

David Suhr

Strategic Learning and Evaluation Manager

Bea Weibel

Office Administrator