Engagement Migros is set to turn into the Migros Pioneer Fund
Today marks the start of a new chapter in our story – as of today, we will be known as the "Migros Pioneer Fund". Our mission and approach will remain unchanged, but the new name will more precisely describe what we have been doing for over eight years and where our strengths lie: Finding pioneering projects, taking a step with them into the unknown and helping them through aid and support, as well as the necessary funding.
Courageous ideas deserve a chance – it is with this conviction that we have been helping pioneers to turn their ambitious plans into specific solutions each year. For over eight years, we have been on the search for ideas with social potential – projects that break new ground and deliver results with unconventional approaches. The foundation of our mission was set in stone much earlier than this, however, by Migros founder Gottlieb Duttweiler, whose work was driven by courage and pioneering spirit. Pioneering work is in our DNA, and will now, after years of development work, be reflected in our name accordingly. But first, let's take a look at what we have already achieved:
Building on tradition and forging new paths
Gottlieb Duttweiler's social commitment also formed part of his pioneering accomplishments. The Migros founder established Migros in the early 1940s, and in 1957 included the Migros Cultural Percentage as a standalone business purpose in the Migros articles of association. Since 1979, the Migros Aid Fund has also counted among the company's social initiatives. In 2012, Migros additionally founded the Engagement Migros development fund, now known as the Migros Pioneer Fund. Thus, it continued to follow in the footsteps of tradition, whilst breaking new ground in setting up the funding vehicle. In addition, thanks to the Migros Pioneer Fund, the voluntary social commitment activities were extended to the companies of the Migros Group. Migros subsidiaries, including Denner, Migros Bank, Migrol and migrolino, have since participated with 10% of their dividends in the Migros Pioneer Fund, which has an annual budget of around 15 million Swiss francs.
To build on Migros' existing experience in the field of social commitment, the Migros Pioneer Fund became part of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FMC) Directorate of Cultural and Social Affairs, which, led by Hedy Graber, is already responsible for the national funding of the Migros Cultural Percentage.
"Migros' social commitment is unique worldwide in terms of its variety, independence and stability. With the Migros Pioneer Fund, we are addressing forward-looking social issues in a targeted manner."
From pioneering idea to implementation
Stefan Schöbi has been with the Migros Pioneer Fund since the beginning. Together with Migros specialists, external experts and a growing team, the Head of the Migros Pioneer Fund has created and gradually developed an independent funding model. Unlike at Migros Cultural Percentage, it was previously not possible to submit an application for support to the Migros Pioneer Fund. Today, an eight-person team actively tracks down courageous pioneering projects with socially relevant focal areas.
The scouts support the pioneers as equals and help them to flesh out and implement their plans. Over the course of three to five years, the pioneering projects therefore not only receive financial assistance, but also obtain support and coaching – all the way from the project idea to the implementation-ready project. The Migros Pioneer Fund and the project partners consistently work together to develop new value and follow the learning curve over the course of the project, dedicating themselves to the experiment, making any necessary changes and even accepting the possibility of failure. The common goal is to achieve a sustainable impact – for a responsible society that reflects on its actions and is considerate of future generations as well as of planetary resources.
"Pioneering projects have a key social function: They identify alternative courses of action and expand our scope of action. They encourage people to follow in the same footsteps and are the fundamental unit of social change."
On the brink of another milestone
The projects made possible by the Migros Pioneer Fund are models to learn from, while also making themselves and their experience available to others. "Copyleft instead of copyright, with sharing on the agenda" – this is a key principle in the world of the Migros Pioneer Fund. The project portfolio has continued to expand over the last few years. Around 60 projects are currently being supported, with about 30 having already been completed and ten to twelve new projects being added each year.
Against this background, the Migros Pioneer Fund is set to reach its next milestone in the near future: "This year, we will have invested around 100 million Swiss francs in 100 projects," says Stefan Schöbi. The team is using the "anniversary" as a chance to share its experience and lessons learned over the last eight-plus years – the way in which they will do this will be revealed once the milestone has been reached.
The new umbrella brand Migros Commitment
We are proud to report that we will be transferring our old name to the new umbrella brand "Migros Commitment" and renaming ourselves as the Migros Pioneer Fund. The new umbrella brand will unite all voluntary social commitment activities of the Migros Group and take charge of the external communication of such. The three funding vehicles, namely the Migros Cultural Percentage, the Migros Pioneer Fund and the Migros Aid Fund, will continue to apply the established funding approach – but with a new look and a communications boost thanks to the new umbrella brand.
Would you like to learn more about the Migros Commitment umbrella brand? Further information can be found on our new website.
Would you like to learn more about the Migros Pioneer Fund and how we work? We recommend browsing our overview of current and completed projects or reading the blog article on the principles underlying our funding approach.