Liechtenstein as a philanthropy location

More than 1,300 charitable foundations are domiciled in Liechtenstein. The Liechtenstein public benefit foundations and trusts make their distributions not only to domestic institutions, but also to a large extent to foreign institutions, organizations and individuals.

Location factors

Innovative and versatile corporate law
Liberal and internationally compatible foundation law
Customer-oriented and internationally oriented consulting competence
Efficient administration with flat hierarchies
Solid fiscal policy and substantial state reserves
Politische und wirtschaftliche Stabilit├Ąt
Central geographical location in the heart of Europe

A focus on the common good

The efforts of Liechtenstein charitable foundations and trusts, which are active around the globe, contribute to the country’s reputation of the philanthropy location. The unique profile of the location makes it highly attractive to philan­thropists.

When discussing charitable foundations and trusts, one usually refers to grant­making foundations and trusts that have been endowed with assets by the founder or settlor and promote projects through funding or other forms of support. Collective foundations or trusts that are looking for financial support to implement their own projects are to be considered separately.

 

An individual contribution for the benefit of the community

"Helping, strengthening, promoting ­ these are the main objectives of charitable foundations. They also describe the individual efforts that every one of us can make for the benefit of our communities. Foun­ dations pursue their goals over the long term and in a systematic and cooperative manner. They not only alleviate need, but also strengthen the structures that prevent it. And they improve the quality of life of every individual by supporting education and culture. In this way, they motivate us to get involved, make improvements and try new things."


HRH Hereditary Princess Sophie von und zu Liechtenstein

President of the Sophie
von Liechtenstein Foundation and President of the Liechtenstein Red Cross

Segmentierte Verbandsperson Protected Cell Company (PCC)

Segmented associations are a new form of organisation that was introduced into cor­porate law in 2016 and is open to all types of companies. It consists of two parts: a core and one or more segments that are organisationally separated from each other. In contrast to the umbrella foundations known in Switzerland and Germany that also combine the assets of different found­ers, PCC foundations have a genuine sep­aration of liability, both between the core and the segments and between the indi­vidual segments of the foundation. The individual asset dedications, which would otherwise have to be set up as individual foundations, can remain separate from
each other in terms of liability, capital and charitable purpose, but their administration is carried out jointly via the core. In this
way, even smaller philanthropic projects can be managed in a cost­optimised manner while preserving the necessary individuality, in particular by freely naming the segments.

Making a positive difference with private efforts

As different as the philanthropists themselves are, so too is their work, which, according to our current under­standing, encompasses every private voluntary act for a charitable purpose. A great variety of social initiatives and projects are initiated and made possible through the work of charitable foundations and trusts in Liechten­ stein. In addition to the classic forms of endowments and donations, many donors are rethinking what foundation work means. They use new possibilities such as sustaina­ble investment to achieve an impact not only through the distribution of funds to charitable projects, but also through their investment of assets. Charitable funding foundations contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in Agenda 2030 through solidarity­based and sustainable work in a wide range of areas in order to meet the ecological, social and economic challenges of our time. In doing so, they make a substantial contribution to achieving the goal of steering the world’s development at all levels in a better, more sustainable direction.

 

A solid basis for charitable initiatives

What makes Liechtenstein unique as a philanthropy loca­tion are not only the favourable framework conditions, but also innovations in asset structuring and unique selling points for charitable activities. These include, in particular, the protected cell company (PCC) and the charitable trust. The differentiated models for various forms of charitable organisations represent a trademark of Liechtenstein as a foundation and trust location

Innovators for change in society

When discussing charitable foundations and trusts, one usually refers to grant­making foundations and trusts that have been endowed with assets by the founder or settlor and promote projects through funding or other forms of support. Collective foundations or trusts that are looking for financial support to implement their own projects are to be considered separately. Charitable grant­making foundations and trusts have the advantage that they have funds that can be used more flexibly and can also contribute additional know­how due to their funding activities. They therefore provide impetus and innovation to initiate and enable new approaches to solving social problems.

Charitable Trust

Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in continental Europe where a charitable trust can be set up. Trusts for charitable, social, cultural or similar purposes offer an interest­ing alternative to the foundation, not least because of the different experiences and preferences of donors depending on their country of origin. For example, the trust in particular offers a familiar solution for philanthropists from the Anglo­American countries.

Further reading about the Liechtenstein foundation sector

«Philanthropy in Liechtenstein - Sustainably committed to the common good» , VLGST broschure, 2021:

Philantropie Liechtenstein, nachhaltig engagiert für das Gemeinwohl

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