CAS Strategic Philanthropy 2023

Achieving a better future through philanthropy

The world is in turmoil, but philanthropy can help to address global challenges. By contributing to increased professionalisation in the sector through an international and interdisciplinary approach. Our executive education programmes provide critical thinking and insights into where philanthropy is heading.

Watch the recording of the Conference "The Role of Empathy in Philanthropy" by Dr Anita Nowak on October 16, 2023
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September 2023 - December 2023
15 ECTS credits
176 Teaching hours
80 Distance teaching hours
256 hours of teaching, 534 hours of personal work, including final work. The number of hours of in-class and/or online teaching may vary




Blended learning


Giuseppe UGAZIO, Danièle CASTLE, Laetitia GILL


Uni Mail


Early bird deadline

31 May 2023

Registration deadline

31 July 2023
Modules can be followed individually


CAS: CHF 7,500.-
Single module: CHF 3,000.-

Early bird: 10% discount


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


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

Learning outcomes

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

  • Understand and master conceptual philanthropy frameworks along with novel financial instruments with special consideration of the U.N. SDG agenda 2030 and ESG metrics
  • Develop an effective theory of change using state-of-the-art tools to implement, monitor, and evaluate the financial and social impact of a philanthropic endeavour
  • Design a philanthropic strategy in line with an organization’s mission, legal and tax parameters, general goals, and specific objectives
  • Master new cutting-edge approaches to philanthropy, including emerging digital technologies
  • Become an inclusive leader who successfully harnesses the potential of staff and volunteers, develops partnerships with public and private actors; and understands both the funder and funding sides of philanthropy


  • Module 1: Introduction to philanthropy and new financial instruments
  • Module 2: Exploring the diversity and strategies of philanthropic foundations
  • Module 3: Legal structuring of philanthropic projects
  • Module 4: Selecting, managing and negotiating philanthropic projects
  • Module 5: Theory of change and impact measurement


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


Christelle GERMANN, 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, a versatile set of skills and best
practices to successfully achieve your goals. The curriculum prepares you for management positions in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector.


3000 CHF


Prof. Giuseppe UGAZIO, Assistant Professor, Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI), University of Geneva


This module provides participants of different professional, educational, and cultural backgrounds with a common analytical and conceptual framework for philanthropy. It further introduces a definition of public good in relation to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), examines relevant ethical perspectives for philanthropy, and highlights some of the psychological drivers of philanthropic action. This preparatory work allows to clearly distinguish social investment and philanthropy and to grasp the need to professionalise the philanthropic sector to promote collaborations between different actors. To this end, we examine the opportunities and challenges for philanthropic organisations to partner with grassroots movements, and public and private investors through different schemes, such as social impact bonds, or impact investing. In this module, we also introduce concrete examples of how digital transformation and other technological advances contribute to the effectiveness of philanthropic engagement.


3000 CHF


Karin JESTIN, Philanthropic & Humanitarian Initiatives (PHI)


This module invites participants to investigate the diversity of grant-making foundations (family-led foundations, institutional foundations, corporate giving programmes, regranting entities, umbrella foundations, etc.). It will showcase how to translate motivations and societal aspirations into coherent philanthropic initiatives and question what may limit a foundation’s latitude to operate strategically. It will further explore different approaches to creating value and review recent trends and developments in the practice of philanthropy, such as investing in organisational development, adopting grantee-led approaches, working through funders' collaboratives, and the need for evidence-based interventions.


3000 CHF


Giulia NERI CASTRACANE, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva


According to the purpose of the philanthropic organisation and the country in which it is based, legal possibilities for structure and tax aspects can vary. This module considers 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 solutions to advance philanthropy, such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) and impact bonds will also be presented. Tax, governance and financial-related restrictions and/or requirements are also addressed. Finally, the module also covers the Swiss Data Protection Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


3000 CHF


Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications and Nathalie MARTENS JACQUET, CEO, Make a Wish Switzerland


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 donors’ 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 manage philanthropic projects effectively in terms of resource allocations, coordination, impact and relationship with the donors. It will include best practices in working with grantees, the expectations of grant-givers and how they select the projects to be supported. The module also proposes a win-win model of how to negotiate successfully, within a project, with multiple stakeholders, or elsewhere.


3000 CHF


Marta ARRANZ, Senior Adviser, Monitoring and Evaluation Management, Oak Foundation


How can philanthropic foundations and investors know if they are both having the impact they hope for and investing strategically? How can they collect evidence, learn and adapt, and communicate effectively about their impact
to others? Developing a strategy and understanding how to measure its effectiveness is a requirement in today’s philanthropic activity. In this highly practical module, participants will learn how organisations can evaluate their impact, learn from experience and use evidence and insights to inform their decisions. This module introduces participants to planning, learning and evaluation in philanthropic strategies and initiatives. Participants will learn about different evaluation approaches and how to select the most appropriate ones depending on the context, purposes, and available resources. They will also use planning tools and frameworks such as results frameworks, theory of  change and theory of philanthropy and will be introduced to the concept and tools of emergent learning. They will understand the importance of strategic learning and how it can increase the organisation’s effectiveness and  programme quality.


Depending on the module, different evaluation methods will be used from analyses of case-studies, writing of reports, and more traditional multiple-choice exams.

Pedagogical method

  • Blended learning, 10 modules - 3 days each, online and in person (2 days)
  • Interactive experience-based learning embedding theoretical and practical knowledge
  • 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
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 organisational structure.

Admission criteria

A minimum of three years professional experience is required, a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. English proficiency is also required. No prior responsibilities in philanthropy required.

The course is particularly suitable for:

  • Family office philanthropy managers
  • Managers in philanthropic giving organizations
  • Managers in organization 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, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM)/Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI)
  • Laetitia GILL, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP)
  • Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications

Scientific committee

  • Helen ALDERSON, Advisory Board Member, the Global Thinkers Forum
  • 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 Zimmermman, Scientific officer
  • Aline FREIBURGHAUS, Co-director, SwissFoundations
  • Thierry RENAUD, Deputy Secretary General - Head of the Animals and Ecosystems Unit, Hans Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Isabella RIES-BOWMANN, 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

  • CHF 14,000.- for the DAS
  • CHF 7,500.- for each CAS
  • CHF 3,000.- for a single module
  • 15% early bird discount before May 31 2023

Cancellation Policy

Any withdrawal before the start of the programme will incur an administration fee of CHF 400.-. Fees will be payable in full once the course has begun.


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

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

Video Testimonial Yasmine
Video Testimonial Gaël