When it was established in 1920, the Marcel Benoist Foundation received a securities portfolio and a collection consisting of works of art and books, which was initially placed in the care of the City of Lausanne.
At the time the Foundation was set up, the assets in the securities portfolio were worth CHF 770,000. As there was healthy growth of the portfolio, the Foundation was able to award prize money of CHF 20,000. In 1966 a further CHF 750,000 was added to the capital from the sale of the art collection to the City of Lausanne, increasing the foundation capital to CHF 1,650,000. The prize money was then around CHF 35,000 francs and since 1974 has been between CHF 50,000 and CHF 70,000.
Thanks to wise investments by the trustees, on its 75th anniversary in 1995 the foundation had assets of CHF 2,510,000. In 1996 the Marcel Benoist Foundation received a donation of one million Swiss francs from the Silva Casa Foundation, executor of gallery owner and collector Justin Thannhauser’s widow, raising the value of the endowment to over three million Swiss francs. Owing to this generous gift, the Foundation increased the prize money to CHF 100,000.
Following some losses in the wake of the financial market crash of 2007/2008, the Marcel Benoist Foundation capital became more stable and is currently worth around CHF 2,100,000. Laureates of the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist now receive prize money of CHF 50,000.