In the 1980s, Stephan Schmidheiny set the basis for entrepreneurial philanthropy with his foundations Fundes and Avina. This concept is based on the belief that the great challenges facing humanity cannot be overcome with financial donations alone, but only with entrepreneurial solutions.
Stephan Schmidheiny's philanthropic activities abide by his entrepreneurial attitude and a threefold result (“triple bottom line”): social, ecological and financial criteria are defined, recorded and reported. In all three dimensions, his foundations are considered to be among the best.
Stephan Schmidheiny's foundations take business risks. They often and very specifically provide seed money in order to motivate other investors to also participate in the projects in a second phase once the supported projects have been borne out.
With the establishment of the Viva Trust in 2003, Stephan Schmidheiny once again entered unchartered philanthropic territory. He established an irrevocable trust according to British law and donated his companies in Latin America to it. Ever since, the Viva Trust has been investing a significant portion of the profits in the Fundación Avina.