CAS Frontiers in Philanthropy 2024

This course defines a theoretical framework to conceptualise philanthropy and offers numerous tools to help practitioners understand the nuances of the philanthropic sector, learn how to develop successful strategies and to put them into place.



September 2024 - December 2024
15 ECTS credits
120 hours of teaching in class and online • 255 hours of personal work




Blended learning


Giuseppe UGAZIO, Danièle CASTLE, Laetitia GILL




Early bird deadline

30 June 2024

Registration deadline

31 July 2024
Modules can be followed individually


  • CHF 7,500 for the CAS (CHF 6,000 one-off special price for those enrolling in the 2024 edition who have already completed a DAS in Philanthropy  and are members of the association Le Cercle de la Philanthropie)
  • CHF 3,000 for any single module

Early bird: 10% discount for early bird or for members of Le Cercle de la philanthropie, Swiss Foundations, or Pro Fonds


  • Master the complex, multifaceted context of contemporary Swiss and international philanthropy
  • Understand philanthropy from a critical perspective
  • Learn about the principles, best practices, and key strategic elements to operate within a complex and international ecosystem


The programme is designed for mid-level and experienced professionals involved in national and international philanthropic organisations, corporate philanthropy, single and multi-family offices, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in philanthropic organisations.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the back story of philanthropy and where it is evolving
  • Put into practice an effective approach to collaborative and inclusive philanthropy
  • Plan advocacy and influence within the overall strategy of a philanthropic organisation
  • Master novel financial instruments and assess their relevance to daily practice
  • Navigate the extensive philanthropic ecosystem in and around International Geneva


Calendar (PDF)

  • Module 1: Looking back to move forward: history in philanthropy and new perspectives
  • Module 2: Collaborative and inclusive philanthropy (Fully Online Asynchronous)
  • Module 3: Strategies for influence
  • Module 4: Philanthropy and innovative financial instruments
  • Module 5: Philanthropy and International Geneva


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


Genevensis · The fully online module on Collaborative and Inclusive Philanthropy was supported and co-created with Porticus, a global philanthropic organisation that works to promote human dignity, social justice, and sustainability.


This module delves into history's relevance for philanthropy practitioners. It presents a framework illustrating how historical insight can be valuable, showcases examples of how history can illuminate present philanthropic issues, and discusses its role in forecasting future trends. Through case studies, participants examine organisational histories, cultural influences, and thematic narratives, while also gaining insights into available tools and resources for leveraging history in their work.


This module aims to familiarise students with the concepts of collaborative and inclusive philanthropy and how these emerging practices diverge from more traditional forms of philanthropy. It examines what is required of philanthropic organisations to adopt these new practices for the evolution of the philanthropic ecosystem, and the obstacles and challenges that might arise. This fully online course has been developed in partnership with Porticus, a leader in the philanthropic sector.


Advocacy can be defined as raising support for an idea, a policy or a plan. It can be practised through grassroots organising, coalition-building, lobbying, and public education campaigns, as well as judicial means. Advocacy in philanthropy serves as a powerful mechanism for driving change and addressing root causes of societal issues. Through case studies, guest speakers, and interactive exercises, students will learn how philanthropic organisations and individuals can leverage their resources, networks, and influence to advocate for policy reforms, amplify marginalised voices, and promote social justice. By the end of the course, students will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to critically assess advocacy efforts in philanthropy and contribute meaningfully to advancing positive societal change.


In the past two decades there has been a surge in financial initiatives aimed at doing good by doing well: abandoning the paradigm of focusing solely on maximising profits. As a result, there are now a range of tools that combine the profit first or impact first motivations for using financial capitals to promote social good in different ways, for example aligned with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. In this module we explore the nuances of some of the most important of these initiatives that have been developed to support philanthropic work: blended finance, impact investing, sustainable financial instruments (e.g. impact/green/blue bonds, donor advised funds etc.) and social entrepreneurship.


Geneva has a longstanding history as a hub for multilateral cooperation, known as "International Geneva," which has fostered the development of philanthropy with deep connections with international organisations, NGOs, and diplomatic bodies. Philanthropic foundations and individual philanthropists are also part of the Geneva ecosystem. The module aims to define, understand and interact with the key actors of the philanthropic community in the International Geneva ecosystem. The module will also highlight the activities, success stories and drawbacks of the philanthropy sector in the International Geneva.


The programme has a modular structure with an evaluation at the end of each module. Participants are required to earn a sufficient grade to pass each module (min. of 4/6) in order to obtain the certificate. The programme relies on a wide variety of evaluation methods to assess participants’ understanding of the course content, which includes open-answer exams, essays, case studies, in-class presentations, and reports. Participants are required to complete both individual and group work.
In-person participation is mandatory.

Pedagogical method

  • Blended learning
  • Interactive experience-based learning embedding theoretical and practical knowledge
  • Emphasis on exchange and networking with lecturers and students through in person modules On-site visits of key institutions
  • Online learning consisting of a combination of short, pre-recorded videos and interactive webinars
  • Guided personal research work developing critical thinking skills
  • Learning from leading international academics and professional experts

Diploma awarded

Participants who pass the assessment requirements and successfully complete all five modules will be awarded the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Frontiers in Philanthropy by the University of Geneva.

Admission criteria

  • A minimum of three years’ professional experience
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • English proficiency

No prior responsibilities in philanthropy required.

Steering committee

  • Prof. Giuseppe UGAZIO, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) and Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI),UNIGE
  • Laetitia GILL, Executive Education Associate, GCP, UNIGE
  • Danièle CASTLE, CEO, Genevensis
  • Prof. Giulia NERI-CASTRACANE, Faculty of Law, Professor, UNIGE
  • Prof. Henry PETER, Head, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP),UNIGE

Scientific committee

  • Cheryl CHANG, Chief of Staff, Oak Foundation
  • Alexandre EPALLE, General Director of Economic Development, Research, and Innovation of the Republic and Canton of Geneva represented by Catherine Zimmermann, Economic Affairs Officer
  • Carla HADDAD MARDINI, Director, Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division, UNICEF
  • Thierry RENAUD, Deputy Secretary General - Head of the Animals and Ecosystems Unit, Hans Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Isabella RIES-BOWMAN, Head of Foundations, The Ocean Cleanup
  • Stefan SCHOEBI, Director, Stiftung Schweiz

Application File

  • Copy of identity document or passport 
  • Passport photo (.jpg format) 
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Cover letter 
  • Letter of recommendation 
  • Copy of the highest educational qualification obtained 
  • Copy of work certificate(s) 
  • Proof of English language level 

Number of participants

Max. 25 participants

Detailed fees

  • Early bird (10% discount) offered for applications received before 30 June 2024 or for members of Le Cercle de la philanthropie, Swiss Foundations, or Pro Fonds; courses eligible for the chèque annuel de formation from the State of Geneva
  • CHF 6,000 one-off special price for those enrolling in the 2024 edition who have already completed a DAS and are members of the association Le Cercle de la Philanthropie

Cancellation Policy

Withdrawal before the start of the training programme will incur an administration fee of CHF 400.-.


Fridays and Saturdays from 08:30 to 17:30

UNIGE professors, lecturers and researchers; professionals in the practice of philanthropy from Switzerland and abroad.

Testimonial Gaël Soucasse - Participant DAS in Philanthropy 2023
Testimonial Yasmine Studer - Participant DAS in Philanthropy 2023