The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
An interview with Matthieu Calame, Director of the foundation.
Online podcast prepared for the radio program L'ours et la carotte on Radio Omega.
The foundation, placed under the authority of the Supervisory Board for Foundations of Western Switzerland, has its headquarters in Lausanne. It has three constituent parts: the Board of Trustees, the Management Board, the Foundation team.
Economic, social and environmental crises are multiplying all over the world and no single governing body can handle all the challenges our global community currently faces.
This dysfunction can only be treated by attacking its root causes. We must change the way we live. We must change the way we organise and produce, we must rethink international relations and redefine the rule of law and systems of responsibility so that they fit the context and challenges of today’s globalised world.
Through its action, the FPH seeks to participate in the peaceful transformation of our societies. The Foundation channels funds to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
The foundation provides structural, long-term support to organisations in civil society that contribute to cultural and political change.
This political and cultural dimension of change is an essential element of our approach. We strive to support and strengthen civil society, so that activists can step in when necessary change is being blocked by the systems in place—whether these obstacles be economic, cultural or political. When change encounters no resistance from the system, it is propagated naturally and does not require our support.
At a time when public funding for civil society organisations is decreasing rapidly and might never rise again, eyes are turning to philanthropic activity and the questions it raises: who defines what is in the general interest, and what assets belong to the public? What gives philanthropic actors the right to choose the beneficiaries of their funding, without any type of democratic control over their decisions?
Above and beyond publications such as annual reports and brochures, the Foundation ‘communicates’ primarily through its partners’ actions, so we pay close attention to how the actors and networks that we support are presented (see the ‘Our partners’ section).