Philanthropy: Intergenerational solidarity, Geneva-style

18 September 2021

This philanthropy column by Donald Tillman was first published in ETH Zurich’s Globe Magazine in September 2021.

ETH Zurich Foundation, Philanthropy: Intergenerational solidarity, Geneva-style
© ETH Zurich
© ETH Zurich

Solidarity between generations has been very much in the news lately, and I have an inspiring example that I would like to share with you today. The ETH Foundation was recently contacted by ETH alumnus Edwin Zurkirch, long-time president of the GEP Geneva chapter, an alumni group founded in 1910.

With many of its members getting on in years, a decision was made to disband the group and start afresh. Mr Zurkirch and his colleagues came up with the idea of donating the remaining funds from the chapter’s coffers to support scholarships for ETH students raised in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Every year, scholarships are granted to numerous students from this region who face challenging financial circumstances. It was therefore a very welcome proposal. This philanthropic gesture by the Geneva chapter will open up access to ETH for young people who meet all the criteria for studying at ETH but would simply be unable to afford it without financial support. It would be hard to find a better example of solidarity that spans generations!