Oak Foundation

The resources of Oak Foundation originated from an interest in the Duty Free Shoppers business which Alan Parker helped to build. Today, the Foundation comprises a group of philanthropic organisations based in various countries around the world. Oak Foundation was formally established in 1983. Early grants were made in Denmark to organisations supporting single mothers and torture victims (1983) and in Zimbabwe to groups supporting vulnerable children and families, primarily at community levels (1984). Grants continued to be made annually in several countries until a new phase for Oak Foundation began in the early 1990s, when annual grant-making  increased and staff were hired to run substantive programmes. Since then we have been growing steadily and today we have 11 programmes, through which we have made more than 4,000 grants to organisations around the world. Our six main programmes are: Environment, Child Abuse, Housing and Homelessness, International Human Rights, Issues Affecting Women and Learning Differences. In addition our Trustees support causes that fall outside the remits of the other programmes through the Special Interest Programme. There are also four national programmes: Brazil, Denmark, India and Zimbabwe.

In all of our work, we are committed to social justice. To this end, we pursue rights-based approaches, gender equality and partnership with the organisations we fund. We seek to support innovation, visionary leaders and organisations. We seek to be inclusive, flexible and to learn from different points of view. We believe that the best grant-making reflects both careful due diligence and the willingness to take risks. We encourage our partners to work together – we believe that together we are stronger. As a whole we fund initiatives that:

• target the root causes of problems;

• are replicable either within a sector or across geographical locations;

• include plans for long-term sustainability, such as co-funding;

• strive to collaborate with like-minded organisations;

• demonstrate good financial and organisational management; and

• value the participation of people (including children) and communities

Oak Foundation has an annual grant-making budget of more than USD 200 million and makes grants to organisations located in countries worldwide. See our recent Annual Report for more details on our grant-making. Except in special circumstances or in Zimbabwe, we generally do not provide programme grants under USD 25,000.

Programme officers will invite an organisation working in our areas of interest to submit a concept note and/or complete an application for funding. Not-for-profit organisations who have not been invited to apply by a programme officer can submit unsolicited requests for funding through our letter of enquiry process.


For more information, please visit the website.

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