Three reasons we’re at the table and other takeaways from the Power of Nutrition launch

Phyllis Costanza, CEO, UBS Optimus Foundation

I recently had the honor of attending my first Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. The occasion? To join our partners for the launch of the Power of Nutrition. After World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim’s opening press conference, the launch of the Power of Nutrition kicked off. It was truly humbling to walk onto the stage that April morning alongside development luminaries such as Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director and COO of the World Bank Group; and Saada Mkuya Salum, Minister of Finance from Tanzania. From the stage, I could see hundreds of people, many of whom had dedicated their lives to eradicating poverty and finding solutions to major global challenges. I felt so proud of our firm—even though it seemed an unlikely partner in such a room.

And some people wanted to know why UBS was at the table at all. So I told them. I told them about UBS’s commitment to scaling up sustainability, impact investing, and philanthropy, and how we are integrating it into our business model. I told them how we help our clients make smarter philanthropic investments. And, in the context of the Power of Nutrition launch, I told them how we are using our resources—our financial expertise, client base, staff and global reach—to help tackle undernutrition, a wholly avoidable problem that, tragically, kills 3 million children every year and causes permanent brain impairment for 162 million more.

They all seemed impressed that UBS is one of the very few banks that has made such a tremendous commitment to meeting clients’ philanthropic needs. Keith Hansen, Vice President of Global Practices at the World Bank said, “I had no idea a private bank offered this type of service and I didn’t really even know why UBS was involved. This is impressive!”

For those of you interested in the details of the Power of Nutrition, here they are: the UBS Optimus Foundation, in partnership with the World Bank Group, UNICEF, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), aims to bring new and more money to governments committed to reducing the problem of undernutrition in their countries. It’s a powerful tool that our clients have the opportunity to utilize by making donations through UBS Optimus Foundation. Every $ 1 donated by clients will be matched up to 6 times! And, the cost of preventing chronic undernutrition in a young child can be as little as $20 per year.

The Power of Nutrition fund is now open to new private and public donors. With the additional leverage provided by this fund, investments in nutrition will achieve greater impact than ever before. Find out more about the Power of Nutrition and how it works here.

Watch the full webcast here.

Read the full press release here.