Interview with the MSC Foundation, a satisfied TGE beneficiary

The TGE team, with the assistance of the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, had the pleasure of interviewing Marina Anselme, Secretary General of the MSC Foundation, a new TGE beneficiary and user of our Transnational Giving Platform.

Publication date: 1 Dec 2020

The MSC Foundation is a Swiss non-profit entity that implements the MSC Group’s environmental conservation, humanitarian and sustainable development commitments worldwide. It was created in June 2018 and launched officially in November 2019. For many years, these commitments were advanced by the MSC Group, but they are now coordinated and their impact amplified thanks to the creation of the Foundation.

The Foundation works to achieve this both independently, leveraging MSC Group engagement, and together with trusted partners that have a reliable innovative vision or track record for effective action.

The MSC Foundation concentrates its efforts on four areas: The Environment (with a particular focus on marine conservation), Education, Community Support and Emergency Relief.

The Foundation encourages the sustainable management and protection of ecosystems, empowers vulnerable communities around the world to realise their full potential, promotes equitable and inclusive quality education to enhance sustainable individual and collective development, and helps disaster-struck populations toward recovery.

TGE – Your level of intervention is necessarily international through your actions and programs. But did the link to fundraising in Europe and internationally come naturally or did it emerge later in your reflections on your fundraising strategy?

Ms. Anselme – The idea of having donations from outside the traditional business model of the MSC Group came naturally, even before the Covid-19 crisis. It emerged with the organisation of a fundraising Gala Concert in Hamburg for a project that is re-establishing endangered species in the dike foreland of the River Elbe. At that time, we had to make sure that donations from outside Switzerland could benefit from tax benefits. That’s when the TGE registration process started for MSC Foundation. A great advantage of this solution is that it prevented us having to establish subsidiaries in several countries.

TGE – Are there any specific actions or programs happening at the moment?

Ms. Anselme – Several actions are in progress at the moment. Let’s consider just two major initiatives.

Intervention in the Bahamas – Environment

Ms. Anselme – The United Nations estimates that the 1,600 varieties of coral on Earth largely face extinction in the wild within the 21st century due to climate change. The MSC Foundation has designed its  Super Coral Programme to help prevent that disaster.

The MSC Foundation is working with leading coral and marine experts to research, develop, test and refine methods to reverse the decline in coral reefs in the 64-square-mile marine environment around Ocean Cay in The Bahamas.

It’s important to understand that coral reefs support the highest biological diversity of any ecosystem and have a direct impact on the livelihoods and food security of millions of people living in coastal areas. Yet, they are critically endangered species. The MSC Super Coral Programme therefore aims to rebuild the reefs through pioneering the development of coral that is more resilient to environmental threats like ocean pollution and warming.

The Foundation is currently working on raising funds for this innovative, pioneering initiative, which is of crucial relevance for us. If you’d like to donate to this vital programme, please go to the bottom of this article.

Covid-19 prevention – Emergency relief

Ms. Anselme – It has been a tough and unpredictable year worldwide, so the MSC Foundation decided to focus most of its efforts on supporting initiatives and projects to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable populations around the world. With the MSC Group’s (including Cruises) global logistics and transportation capabilities, our actions have been and are continuing to be conducted in several countries: Portugal, Italy, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Guinea, Madagascar, Suriname, Lebanon and China amongst others. In Sorrento, Italy, we partnered with the Sorrento Foundation to help the locals face a new upsurge in Covid-19 cases, providing 30,000 rapid tests to assist the elderly and the most vulnerable young people. In addition, we are supporting one of our partners, Mercy Ships, to delivery COVID-19-related medical items and medicines to 11 countries in Africa: Benin, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

TGE – Cross-border giving is obviously an important part of your fundraising strategy. So, which countries/regions do you target?

Ms. Anselme – At the moment, we are targeting the USA, Canada, and Europe, but our expectation is to reach out to the entire world. We don’t have a restriction on that aspect. However, we do have the restriction of making sure that donations can be tax deductible, and that is where the relationship with TGE is crucial.

SPF – How did you get in touch with TGE? How did you find out about this network?

Ms. Anselme – The MSC Foundation first contacted TGE through a specialist law firm, based in Geneva, which advises the MSC Foundation on a number of legal matters, including the question of transnational giving. The firm reached out to the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, TGE’s representative in Switzerland, to better understand and analyse the TGE Network. Their conclusion was that the network could be trusted, and we were convinced to move forward and lodge an application with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

TGE – What is your fundraising approach in Europe? You talked about Italy, France, Germany, do you want to target those three countries or do you think the TGE network could help you reach other countries as well?

Marina Anselme
Secretary General
MSC Foundation

Ms. Anselme – At the moment, the MSC Foundation doesn’t really have a limited approach. Our ambition isn’t to search openly for funds everywhere. The selection of countries depends on the nature of the programmes we plan to support, and for which additional funding could make a greater and faster impact. It could come in the future with massive fundraising campaigns that target several countries at the same time. The best example of such an effort that we have for the moment is the programme in The Bahamas, for which we are targeting the countries that are geographically closest to its location and have the financial capacity and interest to donate to our initiative. Overall, we have carried out quite targeted actions, and as part of these actions we think about how to maximise what the MSC Foundation is able to achieve through its programmes by working with networks like TGE.

We are member of CAF USA and are currently on the way to becoming a member of CAF Canada, but it is easier to work with networks like yours because we don’t have to go through a whole procedure again every time we want to reach out to donors in an additional country. The TGE network federates 21 countries already and that is a huge asset.

TGE – How did you hear about the TGE Online Giving Platform? What do you think about the concept and how do you integrate this new tool in your strategy?

Ms. Anselme – I think the TGE Online Giving Platform is a significant and complementary resource to issue donation statements for tax deductibility in an easier, transparent, safe and faster way to many potential European-based donors.

We turned to the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation when we were setting up our web page for European online donations and realised that, in spite of the partnership with TGE, we did not have an easy electronic donation system. Swiss Philanthropy Foundation responded by informing us that TGE was in fact in the process of setting up just such a system. So, we waited a little, until the project was in place, and then asked it to create an online donation page for the MSC Foundation.

We arrived at the right time and we are delighted. We do not yet have the necessary hindsight to evaluate the platform as we have only been using it for a few weeks. Moreover, we are not a fund-raising “machine”, as mentioned previously. We raise funds in a very targeted way that is tailored to each initiative. However, there’s no doubt that the new TGE online platform brings us a huge advantage and is a big step forward in terms of clarity for donors willing to donate using our website. It offers a sort of fast-track for donors to make donations and is much less troublesome on the donor side as well as on the beneficiary side than before. It boosts donation availability, both for giving and receiving.

Everyone wants everything immediately today. And this solution has it all: online and in just a few clicks, it’s done, in the language of the user’s country of tax residence, which is an important advantage as well. I think that when you want to give, you want to be sure of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. For this, a multi-language website is an important asset.

TGE – What are the next steps for the MSC Foundation? Your projects for the future?

Ms. Anselme – As mentioned previously, we are working hard on a fundraising campaign to restore the coral reefs around Ocean Cay in The Bahamas. We will increase the focus on emergency relief, particularly -but not exclusively – related to the containment and mitigation of COVID-19 in the most affected countries, and we expect to continue supporting specific programmes of longstanding partners.

New programmes are already in the pipeline for the years to come, pending the approval of the Foundation Board.

To contact the MSC Foundation

Email address: [email protected]

Telephone: +41 22 797 70 00


Make a donation for the MSC Foundation Bahamas project!

Do you want to support the marine conservation and the restoration of the coral reefs in the Bahamas? Donate here:

European donors: