About us

The Foundation

The Isocrates Foundation is an independent philanthropic foundation, dedicated to the protection and promotion of public debate.

Established in 2011 by Nicolas Puech and funded by him since, the Foundation provides grants to support the fundamental role civil society organizations play in safeguarding and stimulating public debate.

The Foundation funds and supports public interest journalism and media organizations committed to strengthening the field of investigative journalism and the production of independent quality information, as well as civil society organizations working towards responsible digitalization and a healthy digital public space.

To celebrate courage and dedication, we also support occasionally the work of outstanding individuals who contribute significantly to public good in other ways than fostering public debate.

& mission

We envision public debate not only as the cornerstone of democracy, but also as a driver of social cohesion and a force for positive change.

For citizens to fully participate in democratic processes, they must be able to form opinions and make informed choices on issues that affect them or are in the common interest, in an educated and critical manner. This requires access to reliable and quality information, which is independent of private interest and respectful of the diversity of point of views. It also requires a space where ideas can be safely expressed and constructively debated in order to seek a common ground on which to build our collective destiny.

Striving for a peaceful and responsible society that upholds democratic principles and fundamental rights, encourages the participation of every citizen, and fosters social harmony, the Foundation is committed to protect and promote public debate by supporting access to quality independent information and contributing to the health and safety of the digital public space, in which it increasingly takes place.

Core values
and guiding

The following core values and guiding principles are the driving force behind who we are, what we aim for, and how we work. They shape our identity and culture, guide our choice of partners, and inform everything we do.


We value ideas, decision-making and actions based on facts and free from deliberate bias or vested interest. We regard objectivity, integrity, and trustworthiness as the primary guide to all our activities.

Critical thinking

We believe that rising to the challenges of our complex times requires more than ever the ability to think clearly and critically. We value openness, thoroughness, and humility as necessary prerequisites to critical thinking and constructive change.


We celebrate courage, commitment, and resilience in society and in the organizations and people we work with. We acknowledge the risks often associated with such qualities and strive to provide protection to highly exposed actors. We value uniqueness, and agility in establishing new partnerships.


We firmly believe in collective intelligence and joint efforts as the best way forward to bring about positive and lasting social change. We value plurality, diversity, and respectful cooperation in all our endeavors and prioritize collaborative initiatives in our grantmaking strategy.


As per Swiss law, the Foundation is under the authority and surveillance of Swiss Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations.


The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees, which currently consists of six members. The Board reviews and approves the budget, strategy, and progress according to the Foundation’s mission and strategic priorities. It makes all decisions regarding the allocation of funds. The Board generally meets four times a year.

Members of the Board

Nicolas Puech, Founder and President
Corinne Chaponnière Meyer
Jacques Perrot
Ariane Leschallier de Lisle
William Mc Comish
Alfred Necker


The day-to-day management of the Foundation is in the hands of the Secretariat, which is responsible for operations, finances, and programming. It reviews and evaluates grant applications to determine whether they are consistent with the Foundation’s objectives and requirements, prepares and proposes donations to the Board, monitors and evaluates awarded grants, and administers grant disbursements. The Secretariat also prepares and proposes strategy, policy, and program developments to the Board.


Isocrates (436-338 BC) was an ancient Greek rhetorician, teacher, and writer, contemporary of Plato and Socrates, who lived and taught in Athens in the 4th century BC. Among the most influential thinkers of his time, he is known for his many contributions in the fields of ethics, politics, rhetoric, and education, which have had a lasting impact on Western thought.

An advocate for a fairer and more honest democracy, Isocrates promoted the Greek ideals of freedom, self-control, and virtue, emphasizing the importance of civic responsibility and the need for individuals to contribute to public good, which can never be reduced to the ambition of a few or to the result of the confrontation of rival camps.

His teaching on the importance of effective, courteous, and moderate communication and the role of education in promoting good citizenship and courage remains highly relevant today.