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In the Learning Differences Programme, we believe that together we can build a world in which schools unlock the creativity and power of every young person and equip them to shape more just and equitable communities.


We partner with and invest in not-for-profit organisations that improve education for all students, particularly those with learning differences who experience further marginalisation due to racism and poverty.




In 2018 the Learning Differences Programme made 22 grants totalling USD 11.42 million.




We believe that a better future and a good education are linked and that educated citizens contribute to healthier and more vibrant communities.


Appreciating the value of education, our fundamental sense of justice demands that every child has the chance to develop skills and knowledge to realise his or her potential. Too often, however, schools do not serve the students that need them the most to thrive in a changing world. Fairness demands that we do better.


To this end, we focus on three areas of partnership and investment to promote, support and build systems that unlock the potential of all students, particularly those with learning differences and face additional adversity in school due to race, income, language, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or religion.


Build knowledge and understanding of what works best

We support organisations that:

  • Conduct research to understand how teaching and learning can be transformed to unlock the potential of students with learning differences
  • Deepen understanding of how structural racism and other power systems intersect with and shape students’ agency and metacognition
  • Bring together students, parents, educators, leaders and others to explore and pursue new ways to improve marginalised students’ education.


Translate knowledge into practice

We support organisations that:

  • Build educator understanding of teaching and learning practices that meet the needs of diverse students through the curation and dissemination of evidence-based and culturally-responsive tools and resources that help students master rigorous content and define student success to include academic and social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Connect research on the science of learning with the needs of students with learning differences, particularly to ensure the science of reading informs teacher professional learning and practice in literacy instruction.
  • Address racial and other biases and inequitable structures and practices within school communities that disproportionately discriminate against the most marginalised students.
  • Promote peer networks and relationships that build agency and sense of belonging among students with learning differences.


Influence systems to embrace and adopt enabling conditions necessary for schools to meet the needs of students furthest from opportunity

We support organisations that:

  • Accelerate development of broader measures of student success and their widespread adoption in education policy and practice.
  • Build the knowledge and strengthen the will of decision makers to support policies that advance the needs of students with learning differences who are furthest from opportunity.
  • Elevate students’ and families’ voices in transforming education by amplifying their skills and agency as advocates.





We support organisations in the United States as well as in a limited number of countries around the world. We aim to increase support to worldwide initiatives. Please see our grant database for a complete list of our grants and their locations.



View and search our current grants here.


Programme strategy (PDF)

For more information about our strategy, please download our strategy paper here.


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Our mission

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. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

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©2018 Oak Foundation.
All rights reserved.


Privacy Policy, Security Protocols and Terms of Use.


©2018 Oak Foundation.
All rights reserved.