Avina Stiftung was founded in 1994 by Dr. Stephan Schmidheiny. As an industrialist and pioneer, Stephan Schmidheiny has continued his family tradition in his own, special way and, in so doing, written industrial history. In addition to his economic activities, Stephan Schmidheiny has also always closely accompanied political, social and cultural developments. As consultant to the UNO and the OECD, as a speaker, an author, founder of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and creator of the term eco-efficiency, he has brought an important impulse to the debate on sustainable economic, social and ecological development globally.
He became involved in philanthropy from an early stage. Besides Avina Stiftung, Stephan Schmidheiny created the foundation Alexander Schmidheiny Stiftung which is also active in Switzerland. His foundations Fundes, Fundación Avina and MarViva are active in Latin America. The Latin American foundations are funded by the non-profit Viva Trust, to which Stephan Schmidheiny bequeathed his industrial participations in the region in 2003. To date, the foundations of Stephan Schmidheiny have invested more than 500 million Francs in non-profit projects.
The Avina Stiftung Board of Trustees is responsible for the strategy and effective implementation of the foundation’s objectives. It leads Avina according to the principles of Good Foundation Governance. The office is responsible for operational business. It prepares the relevant decisions for the hands of the foundation board. The foundation board’s committee on donations decides on the sponsored projects; projects with unusual content or large volume are presented to the President for the final decision. The members of the foundation board do not receive attendance fees or other compensation for their activities.
The accounting books of Avina Stiftung are reviewed according to Swiss standards by the independent auditor ORG Ostschweizerische Revisionsgesellschaft AG. Avina Stiftung is subject to the supervision of the Swiss Federal Supervisory Authority for Foundations.