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Letter from the President

Oak Foundation / Foundation

© Petr Ganaj

Dear Oak partners, 

Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere. I cherish the explosion of life as longer days and warming temperatures reawaken dormant flora. Nonetheless, my feelings of delight with the changing season are dampened this year by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

At Oak, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our thoughts are with the innocent civilians who have been forced to uproot their lives and leave their homes behind them. Their country, their peace, and their fundamental liberties are threatened. So far, our Trustees have allocated over USD 20 million to providing humanitarian relief, mostly to not-for-profit organisations operating in Ukraine itself, but also in nearby countries, where people are organising to support their Ukrainian neighbours as much as they can. While Oak is not typically a humanitarian funder, our Trustees feel compelled to respond to this situation, as they have done with other global disasters before in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Haiti.

In brighter news, we are pleased to share with you our most recent Annual Report, which includes stories about the work of our grantee partners around the world and a special article about our support in Switzerland, including a French translation. Our main administrative office is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and we are proud to be here in the human rights capital of the world, among hundreds of not-for-profit organisations, UN agencies, and foundations, all striving to make the world a better, safer, cleaner, fairer place. From 1997 to 2021, the total amount of Oak grants to Swiss-based organisations amounted to USD 166.6 million (CHF 161.7 million). Our total grant-making budget for 2021 came to USD 338.89 million.

We would also like to thank our many partners who completed the Grantee Perception Survey. At Oak Foundation, we strive to continuously learn and evolve as an organisation, create strong partnerships with our partners, and integrate best practices in our work. Your input to this survey is invaluable for us to better understand what partners feel works well with Oak, as well as areas where we could improve. We will share the results and our ways forward in the coming months.

We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, which brings to life some of the important efforts of our partners and programmes, as we continue to collectively strive towards a more equitable world. 

Douglas Griffiths
President, Oak Foundation