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.
Oak Foundation has its main administrative office in Geneva, Switzerland and a presence in seven other countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, India, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zimbabwe.
Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged.
Oak Foundation is family-led and reflects the vision and values of its founders. In all its work Oak pursues rights-based approaches, gender equality and partnership with the organisations we fund. We support civil society as a pillar of democracy and justice and nurture innovation and visionary leadership within it. We value diversity both within Oak and among our partners; we seek to be inclusive, flexible and engage with different points of view. We believe that the best grant-making reflects both careful due diligence and the willingness to take risks.
At Oak Foundation we seek to:
Respect and acknowledge the contributions of others
As a grant maker we know that we are but a small part of the changes we seek. Our role is to support and enable others to make the world a safer, fairer and more sustainable place to live. We strengthen partners with first-hand knowledge and experience of the fields in which we work. We take pride in their achievements and are honoured to support their efforts.
Promote social justice
We are passionate in our pursuit of social justice and the protection of wildlife and the environment. We seek partners who share this passion. We strive to be courageous in this pursuit by tackling difficult problems and addressing the root causes of injustice. We trust our partners and accept that change takes time and sustained effort. We aim to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and support them to understand and pursue their rights.
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.
ANNUAL LETTER FROM THE TRUSTEES
The Trustees of Oak Foundation: