Research & Publications

Research projects of the GCP

“In merely a few years, the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP) has asserted itself as a leading academic platform for strategic philanthropy in Switzerland and abroad. To ensure that philanthropy can bring its full potential to bear on the public good in a changing world, continuing to incentivize and recognize new research is essential, both at the senior and the junior scholar levels. As a strategic partner of the Centre, we are delighted to also team up with GCP on the Fondation Lombard Odier Prize for Academic Excellence in Philanthropy, and are pleased with the results of the award’s inaugural edition in 2020.”

Dr Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy, Lombard Odier Group, and Secretary-General, Fondation Lombard Odier

The GCP has defined 5 priority topics in the light of the 2030 agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

  • Taxation and Philanthropy
  • Social entrepreneurship and Hybrid entities
  • Why do people give?
  • Diversity in the governance of the non-profit sector
  • AI and philanthropy



Philanthropy and taxation: legal and economic analysis of the efficiency of the existing legal framework and legislative proposals

Prof. Henry Peter  and Dr Giedre Lideikyte Huber

This pioneering project, which was launched in 2019, examines the influence that tax systems have on philanthropy and the mechanisms that can be used to foster pro-social initiatives. The researchers are studying this issue both in Switzerland and internationally, identifying the various tax treatments applicable to individuals and companies who give or receive charitable contributions and issuing recommendations on how to improve tax policy.

This research is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation over 4 years (2018-2022)


Latest output - the full list is available on the Taxation and Philanthropy website

>> Full list


Beyond Charity: the varieties of value-driven emotions in philanthropic behavior

Prof. David Sander and Prof. Florian Cova

This project aims to investigate the roles of emotions in philanthropic behavior beyond the limitations of past researches. Indeed, previous investigations of the role of emotions in philanthropy have mainly focused on giving to help people in need, which in turn has led them to focus on emotions such as compassion, pity, or empathy. The goal is now to investigate a wider range of philanthropic behaviors (e.g. giving for science, art, culture, environment) and a wider range of emotions, particularly positive emotions (e.g. awe, being moved, elevation, gratitude).

This project received a research grant from one of the Centre’s strategic partners.




Foundations boards and diversity

Dr Aline Kratz-Ulmer and Laetitia Gill

This project looks at diversity – in its broadest sense – within the governing bodies of Swiss charitable foundations. To start with, the researchers launched a survey based on a questionnaire that collected data from 107 foundations, representing 720 board members in all parts of Switzerland. 


  • To be published (end 2021) - Report on diversity (full analysis of the results of the questionnaire)
  • Foundation Diversity Management: Wo stehen wir diesbezüglich in des Schweiz, A.Kratz-Ulmer, Stiftung &Sponsoring, 04.2021
  • DAS in Philanthropy, Module on "Leadership and Diversity" - L. Gill and A. Kratz-Ulmer (Lecturers)
  • Diversity in Swiss Foundation Boards, A. Kratz-Ulmer, L. Gill, Expert Focus, 04/2021, pp.219-222.
  • Online webinar "La diversité dans la gouvernance des organes dirigeants des organisations non-profit" (15 Apr. 2021)
  • Semester course "Many Faces of Philanthropy - Module A" (Diversity) - L. Gill and A. Kratz-Ulmer (Lecturers)
  • Philanthropy Lunch "La diversité dans la gouvernance des fondations en Suisse" (29 Oct. 2020)


Hybrid entities and social entrepreneurship

Hybrid entities:

Prof. Henry Peter, Vincent Pfammatter and Dr Livia Ventura

After the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, the essential role of business organisations in creating sustainable and inclusive economic growth and achieving the SDGs is undisputed. As a consequence, the past few decades have seen a proliferation, from the Americas to Europe, of new hybrid organisations (such as the benefit corporation) capable of bringing together social and environmental aims with business approaches. The research project is focused on the analysis of the different hybrid forms and the possible development of a uniform hybrid entity model (at regional or international level), as well as on the necessity to introduce or not in Switzerland hybrid forms such as the benefit corporation.



Warm Glow Effect (pure and impure philanthropy)

Prof. Samia Hurst-Majno and Dr Emma Tieffenbach

When trying to explain why people make charitable donations, economists often hypothesize that it is because of the warm glow that the act of giving brings. The warm glow concept was first put forward by James Andreoni, a member of GCP’s Scientific Committee, in 1990 and has since been used to explain a multitude of philanthropic behaviours. Yet the concept has not been formally defined, so researchers tend to use their intuitive understanding of the phenomenon instead. But could the warm glow effect be the rational incentive behind charitable giving? And if so, how should we view the moral standing of those who donate in order to experience it?

This project received a research grant from one of the Centre’s strategic partners.


  • To be published - The Warm Glow Theory of philanthropy, E. Tieffenbach & R. Bianchi
  • To be published - "The gifting Puzzle", The Routledge Handbook of Taxation and Philanthropy
  • Empirical study on the phenomenology of warm glow, E. Tieffenbach & F. Cova 


Philanthropy and Social entrepreneurship

Dr Giulia Neri-Castracane

This research project covers the interactions and differences between philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship, mainly from a corporate governance perspective. The research aims at identifying which corporate governance aspects are mandatory by law and which ones are implemented in practice even if not mandatory by law by philanthropic companies, CSR-compliant companies and social entreprises. The research contributes to the reflexions on legal corporate forms available under Swiss law for philanthropists, CSR-oriented managers and investors and social entrepreneurs, their advantages and shortages and to what extent new legal forms or legal statuses promoting social entreprises shall be implemented and, in the affirmative, along which corporate governance patterns. It also participates to the similar larger debate at supranational level for a model law on social entreprises.


  • 2022 GCP Social Entrepreneurship International Conference (Spring 2022) - Programme to be announced
  • DAS in strategic and operational philanthropy, Module 6 on “Legal structuring of philanthropic projects and relevant financial, governance, and tax parameters” - G. Neri-Castracane (Module Head)
  • Book to be published (Springer)


Water, private companies and the Furtherance of the Public Good

Prof. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Dr Mara Tignino and Haoua Savadogo

This large-scale project will contribute to implementing one of the recommendations of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, which was set up by Switzerland in 2015. The aim of the project is to develop a code of good practices on water management and biodiversity protection that will apply to all companies regardless of their size and sector of activity.

This project received a research grant from the Fondation de bienfaisance du groupe Pictet in 2020. In 2021,  it received a grant from Fondation Barbour.

Outcomes - TBC


Philanthropie et intelligence artificielle

Prof. Giuseppe Ugazio

Outcomes - TBC


In parallel, seven Academic fellows are exploring key topics in the philanthropic sector.

More info >>