Member of Boards of Directors – Institutional Communications Consultant

“My” Trust-Based Philanthropy

Newsletter septembre 2022


«  If I’m different from you, far from harming you,

I am enriching you. »

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dear Friends,

In my January Newsletter, I shared with you my deep conviction that

“Over the years, I have gradually become aware that Creation is a connection of atoms, cells, particles, inanimate and animate beings, that one cannot consider a part of without also considering the whole… wisdom, the zeitgeist or political correctness will eventually lead us all to this point one day or another.


The very essence of all human life, the condition of all survival, is connected to this innate capacity of collaboration and complementarity of organisms, of species, as long as they are aware of their interdependence.

In recent years, I have become more and more attached to promoting human encounters, identifying convergences and initiating synergies between people and projects dedicated to the common good.

By connecting them and bringing them together whenever possible, my challenge has been to encourage them to find the greatest common denominator between them, aligning with shared values, – each one preserving their own unique character and DNA -, with a view to the pursuit of their mission and the sustainability of their action over the medium and long term.

This is why new “scores” are being written or have already been composed, in the humanitarian field, between NGOs with complementary approaches working in the same geographical areas, between these NGOs and those dedicated to the defense of human rights, between these NGOs and those working for the protection of the environment – how can one be envisaged without the other -, between institutions dedicated to music, dance, painting, plastic arts, cinema – new collaborations are being created, which would have been unimaginable a short time ago -. “

This roadmap that I have made my own over time, like a fabric of a thousand colours and textures, is constantly enriched by new threads that I add and that intertwine with each other.

To the question that I am often asked, about what guides my judgment and triggers in me this process of adhesion and mobilisation for a new cause, I invariably answer that the project, and the people who carry it, must move me and resonate with me – both through a thorough analysis of the structure, of its functioning and its impact with regard to the project itself, and through a global “understanding” of the human beings who are at its service. This is where the irreplaceable intuition of GO or NO GO also comes into play!

All this is the basis of “trust”, the cornerstone of what will happen.

Many theories have been put forward and much ink has been spilled in an attempt to define, explain and circumscribe what we call “Philanthropy”: the processes involved, the actors involved and the win-win for both.

There are in fact as many textbook cases as there are concrete examples!

Some donors and patrons will prefer to focus on one cause exclusively, in one specific part of the world, while others will be happy to help many projects, both in their immediate environment and beyond their borders!

Some will only want to help small organisations, while others will be more comfortable with large organisations… both have their strengths and weaknesses.

“My” Trust-Based Philanthropy  

Those of you who have followed me over the years know about my commitment to the animal cause and the BanOboun Shelter that I financed in Thailand for stray dogs, victims of human barbarism. This project had disturbed some people who had told me that they supported the animals here in Switzerland, but found it inappropriate to help there. I had retorted that it was first of all for a humanitarian cause – the underprivileged children of Thailand supported by the Jan & Oscar Foundation of my friend Laurence Pian – that I had made many trips there, hence the personal initiative of this Refuge. To which they replied that it is very good to help there, but that we must also help “at home”. Which is also my priority!

It is interesting to read this article on “Trust-Based Philanthropy”

which reflects this new trend that is developing in the United States … if the examples and amounts mentioned reflect a state of mind and a culture that are very different from ours, they can nonetheless be a powerful source of inspiration for many individuals who are in the process of making a personal choice to give back.

It should be noted that philanthropy cannot be reduced to the act of a financial donation, far from it! Any voluntary approach, any personal commitment that makes time and skills available, is the result of the same benevolence and generosity!

Two recent examples among others of my range of action and of the different networks in which I have recently intervened through this “trust-based” commitment

-The three projects highlighted below, namely MEDAIR, the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Foundation for Youth and the Lausanne School of Music, all follow the same approach! –

I was contacted at the beginning of the year by the Swiss Association of Fundraisers “Swissfundraising”, which organises 3 to 4 panels per year, to allow exchanges between different actors within various NGOs,  and who are involved in fundraising. 

During a presentation that I gave last spring, while testifying about my career and my different commitments in front of representatives of large and small foundations and public and private NGOs, I became even more aware of the importance for all of them, within the framework of their mission and the crucial issue of funding which is their responsibility, to find the “greatest common denominator” between them, if necessary, in order to create synergies and partnerships over the medium term. To ensure the sustainability of their action in the service of the beneficiaries of their respective NGOs.

La recherche de fond dans son contexte: Le/la responsable de la collecte de fonds et son conseil – sa position, les enjeux, les besoins
In the wake of this, I was contacted by the Geneva School of Management – HES-SO Geneva -, asking me to participate in a round table organised as part of the fundraising training in their CAS program.
This format puts in dialogue a representative of an NGO, a fundraiser allowing to open doors for a given NGO, and finally a patron or donor. I was asked to speak as a philanthropist or donor, and to share my experience. This approach, which I found very relevant, also made me react to the fact that I actually embody the three postures, both THE cause, THE fundraiser and finally THE donor!


In the end, it is up to each of us to define our own roadmap, our journey towards the desired destination, and above all, who will be our companions on the journey!

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Ultimately, it is up to each of us to define “our own” Trust-Based Philanthropy!




The two projects highlighted below, the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Foundation for Youth Jeunesse and the Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (Music School of Lausanne), follow the same approach, based on trust!



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« Pour ce qui est de l’avenir tu n’as pas à le prévoir, mais à le rendre possible. »

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Citadelle)

“The FASEJ was created 14 years ago by the family of the famous writer-pilot to house the solidarity initiatives sponsored by the heirs and their international partners. “A legacy as important as this entails as many duties as rights,” explains 97-year-old François d’Agay, nephew and godson of the author of The Little Prince and President of the Foundation.
The choice to support projects to help young people, and more particularly in the field of education, is strategic. It is absolutely essential to put the values conveyed by the life and work of Antoine de Saint Exupéry at the service of young citizens. And to give hope to our youth who are worried about their future between climate crisis and social chaos.
When we speak of hope, responsibility, elevation, and wisdom, we think of the Little Prince.
Dominique’s actions and her life have always been in line with this philosophy. She has naturally put her network, her energy and her enthusiasm at the service of the FASEJ in Switzerland and in the world.
We thank her for being an Ambassador of the ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY FOUNDATION FOR YOUTH!

Olivier d’Agay

General Secretary of

Bus Petit Prince Phnom Penh animation dans briqueterie

The Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation is partnering with Zero Emission Group to create the workshop “Future Starts Now!”
This workshop aims to inspire young people to pursue scientific careers to address the climate challenges of today and tomorrow. 

This interactive presentation is designed in two blocks. The first part, presented by EPFL students, aims to explain the causes and consequences of the climate crisis and then to show the role of science and engineering in the implementation of solutions through several concrete case studies. The second part is an exchange with one of the founders of a start-up labelled part of the 1000+ solutions by the Solar Impulse Foundation.

We want to create a moment of sharing and inspire young people through the experiences of students and young entrepreneurs. In this way, we hope to help high school students find their vocation and encourage them to join a new generation of scientists and engineers ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. 

After a first year of deploying the workshop in French-speaking high schools, we have the ambition to translate it to share it with all Swiss high schools.

Our Youth need your support !

To support this beautiful pedagogical project:

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Accès au flyer





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Convinced that artistic practice is a life-long apprenticeship to train the actors of tomorrow, the School of Music Lausanne – EML – offers musical training accessible to all.

To be seen and heard, this magnificent project recently created by the EML in collaboration with the MCBA – Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. !

“Bruno Merlino, a member of the FDRG Foundation Board, and I shared our project with Dominique who was very receptive. She generously listened to us, sharing her philanthropic vision and her vast experience with Foundations. Convinced that by joining forces with other Foundations, we could better serve our missions, she put us in touch with the institutions that defend the causes that are dear to her heart. As a true builder, she created the “bridges” necessary to defend our projects. Thus, we have met several actors with whom we have had rich exchanges leading to synergies and new projects, some of which are already in progress.

We will take as a witness the participation of three young musicians from the EML who will soon play, as a preview, at the Charity Event “Zero Emission” supported by the Antoine de St. Exupéry Foundation for Youth. A great example of young people who, in parallel to their education at EPFL, cultivate their passion for music. We are convinced that the practice of art and science is also a bridge-builder, and will be at the heart of tomorrow’s innovations.

 Theodor Gafner, director of the l’EML

A strong connection has been forged over the years between the EML and the Fondation de Ribaupierre-Graz which is a nugget that just needs to grow and develop…


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Access to the digital flyer




Wishing you a beautiful autumn filled with the colours of Life to each and everyone of you Dominique Brustlein-Bobst




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