CAS Strategic Philanthropy 2021

An effective strategy is a base upon which to develop a successful philanthropic journey. In this interdisciplinary strategic course, you will acquire all the necessary knowledge, skills, and instruments to set up the right philanthropic organizational structure.



September 2021 - February 2022
18 ECTS credits
176 Teaching hours
80 Distance teaching hours
256 hours of teaching, 534 hours of personal work, including final work




Blended learning


Giuseppe UGAZIO, Danièle CASTLE, Laetitia GILL


Uni Mail


Registration deadline

31 May 2021
Modules can be followed individually


CAS: CHF 7'500.-

Single module: CHF 2000.- (2 ECTS credits) / CHF 3000.- (3 ECTS credits)

Early bird: 10% discount


  • Understand philanthropy from a systemic perspective
  • Become equipped to master the complex, multifaceted context of contemporary Swiss and international philanthropy
  • Learn about the principles, best practices and key strategic elements to set up and run a structured and professional philanthropic organization


The programme is designed for mid-level professionals involved in philanthropy in Swiss-based philanthropic organisations, corporate philanthropy and family offices, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in philanthropic organisations

Learning outcomes

At the end of the programme participants will be able to:

  • Understand and master the knowledge of conceptual philanthropy frameworks as well as differences between private and corporate philanthropy
  • Use strategic and operational tools within their own professional philanthropic fields and evaluate their results
  • Understand operational imperatives of philanthropy to successfully put them into practice with particular attention to the SDGs
  • Develop a philanthropic strategy in line with their organisation’s mission and general objectives
  • Know how to operationalise a strategy from the selection and contracting of projects, through monitoring to the evaluation results
  • Develop skills needed to successfully develop partnerships, with both the public and private sector as well as the essentials of fundraising and fund management
  • Understand both funding and funder sides of philanthropy


  • Module 1: Introduction to philanthropy and social investment
  • Module 2: Defining a coherent philanthropic project, in light of the Foundation’s context of creation
  • Module 3: Leadership and Diversity
  • Module 4: Managing for Impact: Evaluative practices to value, assess and increase the chance of positive impacts that endure
  • Module 5: Selecting and Managing philanthropic projects
  • Module 6: Legal structuring of philanthropic projects and relevant financial, governance, and tax parameters


Prof. Giuseppe UGAZIO, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) and Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI),Laetitia GILL, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP), University of Geneva and Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications


Ilane KNEUBUEHLER, University of Geneva


Genevensis Communications
CAS/DAS Philanthropy 2021
The philanthropic sector is evolving rapidly in an increasingly complex world. This interdisciplinary course merges traditional approaches to philanthropy with unconventional perspectives. You will acquire state-of-the-art knowledge, models and best practices to successfully achieve your goals.


2000 CHF


Giuseppe Ugazio, Assistant Professor Geneva Finance Research Institute and GSEM - UNIGE


This module provides participants of different professional, educational and cultural backgrounds with a common analytical and conceptual framework which includes an introduction to philanthropy. It examines what the drivers of philanthropy are, what professionalisation of philanthropy entails and the differences between social investment and philanthropy. This module will also span private/family philanthropy, corporate philanthropy, operating foundations, community foundations, social investment and the creation of public-private partnerships (PPP). It will also introduce new models of philanthropy and finance.


2000 CHF


Karin Jestin Strategic Philanthropy Advisor and Founder, Philanthropic & Humanitarian Initiatives (PHI)


This module prepares participants to address the most essential questions when setting up a philanthropic organization. It will showcase how to translate personal motivations and philanthropic ideals into actionable principles defining the essence of a philanthropic organization. We will distinguish different types of philanthropy, such as family-led foundations, corporate giving or regranting entities, among others. We will address questions such as: what are the key dimensions which need to be orchestrated for a coherent philanthropic project, what are different approaches to deliver impact, and what are the defining factors to build a foundation’s strategy.


3000 CHF


Laetitia Gill, Executive Director Geneva Center for Philanthropy


For philanthropic organisation to reach their objectives with minimum operating expenses and with the understanding that engaged employees deliver higher performance, they must ensure that employees are engaged and active as well as to have an effective board. This module explains the levers that enable leaders to motivate teams and reassure donors. Understanding what leadership means to different generations, how leadership selects diverse teams, how to mobilise and motivate teams, members and volunteers and how to manage in complex situations are all part of this course. As board/staff interaction when badly managed can be deleterious to a philanthropic venture, this module also examines how philanthropic boards and staff interact most effectively. Finally, how to integrate ethics and what ethics means for a philanthropic leader is also part of the module.


3000 CHF


Zenda Ofir, Honorary Professor, School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Developing a strategy and understanding how to measure its effectiveness is a requirement in today’s philanthropic activity, as more and more organisations compete for money and attention. In this module participants will learn how organisations evaluate their impact and what theories of impact measurement exist, beyond simply fixing strategy, objectives and outcomes. Participants will learn to set up their organization’s “theory of change”, understand the differences between inputs, outcomes, outputs, and impact, and how to measure each of these. They will learn about logical frameworks and other tools that organisations use. This module also covers the unintended (potentially negative) consequences of philanthropic interventions.


3000 CHF


Raphael Cohen, GETRATEX SA


A rigorous selection of projects in line with the vision and strategy of the organisation is the best way to ensure efficiency and to maintain donor trust. This module therefore looks at a strategic and structured assessment of benefits, risks, collateral efforts and key success factors of each project. We examine how to distribute and coordinate resource allocations across projects, strategies for maximizing complementarity between projects, and effective project management. It will include best practices in working with grantees, acknowledging the power dynamic of the funder-donor relationship, using trust and relationship building. The module also proposes monitoring and evaluation tools adapted to different sectors of philanthropy e.g. health, education, poverty reduction, as well as sourcing opportunities, such as using open applications, call for proposals, invite-only etc.


3000 CHF


Giulia Neri Castracane, Law School UNIGE


According to the purpose of the philanthropic organisation and the country in which it is based, legal possibilities for structure and tax aspects will vary. This module will consider available Swiss, European and international philanthropic legal structures, and will focus on those structures available under Swiss law. These range from traditional single purpose forms (foundations and associations) to hybrid (profit/non-profit) models. Innovative contract-based solutions, such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) and impact bonds will also be presented. Tax, governance and financial-related restrictions and/or requirements will be addressed when reviewing the various possible structures.


Depending on the module, different evaluation methods will be used from analyses of case-studies, writing of reports, and more traditional multiple-choice exams.
To complete the DAS participants will have to complete a final project.

Pedagogical method

Hybrid: In-person and online/distance learning

Admission criteria

A minimum of three years professional experience is required, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and English proficiency.

Participants without responsibilities in philanthropy may be admitted on the basis of other comparable and relevant experiences:

  • Family office philanthropy managers
  • Managers in philanthropic giving organisations
  • Managers in organisation who receive philanthropic giving
  • Project managers
  • Operational and strategic foundation managers
  • Social entrepreneurs
  • People desirous to enter the field of philanthropy
  • Wealth managers interested in integrating philanthropic instruments to their (sustainable) investments portfolios (e.g. blended finance)

Steering committee

  • Professor Giuseppe Ugazio, Edmond de Rothschild Foundations Chaired Assistant Professor in Behavioral Philanthropy; Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) / Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI)
  • Laetitia Gill, Executive Director, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP)
  • Danièle Castle, Founder,Genevensis Communications

Scientific committee

  • Helen Alderson, Head of Regional Delegation to the UK and Ireland International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Cheryl Chang, Chief of Staff, Oak Foundation
  • Alexandre Epalle, General Director of Economic Development, Research, and Innovation of the Republic and Canton of Geneva
  • Aline Freiburghaus, Director Romandie at SwissFoundations
  • Thierry Renaud, Director, Impact and Sustainability, MAVA Foundation
  • Isabella Ries-Bowman, Partnership Manager,World Economic Forum (WEF)

Number of participants

Max. 25 participants

Detailed fees

14000 CHF for the DAS, 7500 for each CAS, 2000 CHF for 2 ECTS modules and 3000 CHF for 3 ECTS modules. 10% early bird discount before March 31 2021


Fridays and Saturdays 09:00 to 17:00 and online

Les termes utilisés pour désigner des personnes sont pris au sens générique; ils ont à la fois la valeur d'un masculin et d'un féminin.