Oak Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees that includes: Natalie Shipton (Chair), Caroline Turner (Vice Chair), Kristian Parker (Vice Chair), Christopher Parker, Sebastian Turner, Benedikte Turner, Jette Parker, and Alan Parker.
An Advisory Panel also supports the Foundation’s work on a range of grant-making issues. Current members are Douglas Griffiths (President of Oak Foundation), Barbra Rothschild, Julie Sandorf, and Susan Tierney.
Our working environment is diverse, inclusive, and engaging. Our team of just over 90 staff members has a mix of expertise and experience in philanthropy and other sectors including: not-for-profits, finance, development, government, media, law, and academia, among others. Together we represent 37 nationalities.
Our main administrative office is located in Geneva, Switzerland. We also have offices in Denmark, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Meet our team members
We respect both the privacy of our partners and our staff. Below represents a selection of team members across our foundation, including the directors of programmes.
International Human Rights
Adrian started the International Human Rights Programme on joining Oak Foundation in February 2003. In its first year of operation, the programme had an annual budget of USD 2 million and largely focussed on supporting international NGOs. Since then, it has expanded to a programme with six staff and an annual budget of around USD 30 million, operating in diverse geographies with both local and international organisations.
Senior Adviser for Capacity Building
and Organisational Development
Adriana leads Oak’s organisational development and capacity building work, which she established after joining Oak in 2013. She advises and helps grantees with their organisational strengthening journeys, recognising that strong organisations enhance the effectiveness and impact of both the foundation and our partners. Capacity building is an essential part of Oak’s support to our partners, with approximately 15% of the annual budget invested in this area of work.
Anne S. Henshaw PhD
Anne joined Oak Foundation in 2007 as a programme officer for the Environment Programme. In her role, she oversees grant portfolios in the food systems sub-programme, with a focus on fisheries, and leads the foundation’s work on climate justice.
Brigette De Lay
Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Brigette joined Oak Foundation in 2012 as a programme officer for the Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme. She currently holds the position of director, overseeing 9 staff in two locations and a multi-million dollar budget. The programme is currently one of the biggest of its kind. It is dedicated to supporting courageous leaders and survivors around the world working to end child sexual abuse in our lifetime.
Chief of Staff
Cheryl joined Oak Foundation as Chief of Staff in 2019. In this role, she supports the president, coordinates organisational strategy and planning, and serves as a liaison between various foundation functions.
Chris is campaigns lead for the Environment Programme. He works across both energy and food, with a focus on single use plastics reduction and tackling food injustices across Europe especially via healthy, sustainable and just food environments. He joined the Oak Foundation in late 2019 after leading international campaigns with NGOs and politics. See Chris profile on LinkedIn.
Doug joined Oak Foundation in January 2019. In his role as President, he is thrilled to knit together his professional experiences advocating for human rights, humanitarian relief, social development and environmental protection. The president’s office includes a team of six that work to ensure that we have: robust monitoring, evaluation and learning systems; efficient communication practices; and a strong foundation working to achieve our mission.
Oak Foundation Denmark
Esther joined the Oak Foundation Denmark programme in 2007. The programme currently has an average grant-making budget of USD 6 million and has two staff. The Oak Foundation Denmark Programme supports innovative solutions to improve the lives of socially vulnerable and marginalised groups at the community level. As well as supporting not-for-profit organisations in Denmark, it also support organisations in Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Director of Operations
Géraldine joined Oak Foundation in 2021 as Head of Finance and became Director of Operations in January 2023. She leads the teams responsible for Oak’s core services including: Finance; Grants Administration; Information Technology; Human Resources; and she oversees real estate and facilities. Her mandate extends from setting clear priorities to optimising delivery of objectives for a knowledge-based organisation.
International Human Rights
Greg joined Oak Foundation in 2009 as a consultant and has been a programme officer in the International Human Rights Programme since 2011. He works across the entire human rights portfolio, with a particular focus on the strategic grant-making priority areas of pre-trial detention and torture, corporate accountability and the countries of Brazil and India.
Heather joined Oak Foundation as the director of the Learning Differences Programme in December 2017. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 30 million in 2022 and has five staff. The programme envisions a world in which schools unlock the creativity and power of every young person and equip each one to shape more just and equitable communities.
Head of the Solutions sub-programme
Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Helena joined Oak Foundation in 2017 as a programme officer for the Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme. She currently holds the position of Head of the Solutions sub-programme. The Solutions team focuses on building the evidence base on what works to prevent child sexual abuse and ensuring that solutions are widely implemented and impactful. The solutions team is funding predominantly in East and Southern Africa, as well as Europe.
Issues Affecting Women
Katharina joined Oak Foundation in 2013 as a programme officer for the Issues Affecting Women Programme. She currently holds the position of director. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 32 million and has six staff. The programme envisions a world where women have the rights, capacity and opportunity to live their lives free from violence and enjoy their full and equal human rights.
Masego joined Oak Foundation as the director of the Environment Programme in 2021. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 70 million and has thirteen staff. The programme seeks to safeguard our future by restoring our connection to nature, and help change the ways we feed and fuel our world.
Issues Affecting Women
Medina joined Oak Foundation in 2010 as a programme associate for the Issues Affecting Women Programme. She was promoted to programme officer in 2015. In this role, Medina works with partners around the world who are focused specifically on ending trafficking and exploitation and advancing women’s rights movement building.
Office Logistics Coordinator – Receptionist
Nathalie joined Oak Foundation in 2004 as the administrative assistant to administration before joining the Child Sexual Abuse Programme in 2007. In 2012 she transitioned to her current role within the administration department as office logistics coordinator and receptionist.
Issues Affecting Women
Nevin joined Oak Foundation in 2018 as a programme associate for the Issues Affecting Women Programme. She was promoted to programme officer in 2021. In her role, she manages grant-making in Brazil and the women’s funds sector, in addition to leading the programme’s Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation, and Communications.
Rachel joined Oak Foundation as the director of the Special Interest Programme in 2014. The programme has an average grant-making budget of over USD 80 million and has eight staff. Special Interest grants cover a wide range of fields, including health, humanitarian relief, education and the arts. They are made to organisations whose activities the Trustees wish to support, irrespective of country or region.
Suzanne joined Oak Foundation as Executive Assistant for the President’s Office in 2023.
In this role, she provides administrative and organisational support for the President and Chief of Staff, and ensures coordination between the President’s Office and Trustees.
Senior Adviser for Impact
Silvia joined Oak in April 2023 as Senior Advisor for impact. In her role, Silvia works with colleagues across all programmes to better understand the impact of Oak grant-making, improve the Foundation’s effectiveness, and learn from results to drive decision making. Silvia has a background in facilitating and leading the development of effective Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) and reporting systems in the not-for profit sector.
Special Advisor to the President
& Director of India Programme
Vinit Rishi currently works part-time as Director of the India Programme and Special Advisor to the President at Oak Foundation. The India Programme, focuses on supporting acutely marginalised populations living in the tea gardens of North Bengal and in the Sundarbans. He previously served as Director of Administration and Foundation Secretary.
Head of communications
Virginia joined Oak Foundation as a communications officer in 2011. Her current position is Head of communications. In this role, she works in collaboration with staff, Trustees and partners to develop communication strategies that support internal and external goals. She is the main media contact for the Foundation.
Programme Officer Impact
Special Interest Programme
Diane Buczynski-Ruchonnet has worked at Oak Foundation since 2012. As a Programme Officer, Diane is responsible for managing a large portfolio of scientific and health-related grants, and for organising and coordinating Oak’s Medical Advisory Board meeting, which takes place once a year with Trustees and experts.