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Fondation Botnar is a Swiss-based foundation which champions the use of AI and digital technology to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments. To achieve this, we support research, catalyse diverse partners, and invest in emerging technologies and scalable solutions globally

Dr. Stefan Germann
Chief Executive Officer

Message from the CEO


The rapid uptake of digital health technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is creating unprecedented opportunities for global public health for our immediate future – 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, including young people themselves. We have a strong belief in approaches that deeply value local knowledge – bringing in the voices and experiences of those whose lives and communities are built within urban environments. 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. This is only the start of our new journey, and we will not rest until our vision of “the future now, for children worldwide” has become a reality.

Our vision: For every child and young person to be a thriving citizen.

We want to ensure that every child and young person can lead a life with good health and dignity as a thriving citizen.

Investing in emerging solutions to build a better future for children and young people.

To fulfil our vision, we are seizing the big opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in vibrant, growing secondary cities around the world. We do this by supporting research, catalysing diverse partners, and investing in scalable digital solutions.

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 diverse projects. This was solely managed by the members of the Board.

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 that are both sustainable and scalable.

From 2018, the foundation adopted a new ‘start-up’ entrepreneurial approach and strategy, which set out a clear roadmap to achieving our vision. The foundation also remains true to our 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 focused in investing for impact – aiming to be collaborative and innovative in how we seek to meet the most difficult challenges facing children and young people around the world. 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 will adapt our strategy to ensure maximum impact moving forwards.

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.

Expert commission

With the exception of applications for “one-off grants”, all applications for funding are examined in detail by the advisory Expert commission in order to ensure coherence with our core areas of focus.

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 (Vice Chair)
Dr. Martin Lenz
Dr.Thomas Gutzwiller (Chair)
Elsbeth Müller
Amalie Molhant Proost (Rep. founder’s family)
Prof. Marcel Tanner
Florian Schweitzer

Investment commission

Dr. Otto Bruderer (Chair)
Dr. Susanne Haury von Siebenthal (Deputy Chair)
Dr. Urs Ernst

Expert commission

Marcel Tanner
Elsbeth Müller
Susanna Hausmann-Muela
Sushant Sharma
Aline Cossy-Gantner

Michele Acuto
Ramesh Raskar
Max Price
Kelechi Vera Olawoyin
Alice Gugelev

Finance and governance

Since 2015, the foundation has benefited from a significant boost to our 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 recruiting a dedicated team to effectively manage the foundation’s future strategic direction.

We are also 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, and our activities are supervised by the Supervisory Authority for Foundations, Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs.

The management team

The Future Now
For Children Worldwide

Fondation Botnar
St. Alban-Vorstadt 56
4052 Basel
+41 61 201 04 74