Home Team

Oak Foundation is governed by a six-member Board of Trustees that includes: Caroline Turner (Chair), Kristian Parker (Vice Chair), Natalie Shipton (Vice Chair), Christopher Parker, 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), William Norris, Julie Sandorf and Barbara Rothschild.

Our working environment is diverse, inclusive and engaging. Our team of +100 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 over 20 nationalities.

Our main administrative office is located in Geneva, Switzerland. We also have officies in Denmark, India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zimbabwe.


Meet our leadership team

Adrian Arena

Director

International Human Rights

Adrian Arena 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 nine staff and an annual budget of around USD 25 million, operating in diverse geographies with both local and international organisations.

Amanda Beswick

Director

Housing and Homelessness

Amanda joined Oak Foundation in 2002 as a programme officer for the Housing and Homelessness Programme. She currently holds the position of director. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 20 million and has six staff. It partners with organisations working both nationally and locally in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the United States and in London, Belfast, South Wales, Glasgow and Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Brigette De Lay

Director

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. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 25 million and has eight staff. The programme takes a global approach and funds where it can have the greatest impact and in specific geographies that build on our experience and advance our vision.

Douglas Griffiths

President

President's Office

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.

Esther Nørregård-Nielsen

Director

Oak Foundation Denmark

Esther Nørregård-Nielsen 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.

Heather Graham

Director

Learning Differences

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 18 million in 2019 and has four staff.  It supports organisations in the United States as well as in a limited number of countries around the world. The programme partners with and invest in not-for-profit organisations that improve education for all students, particularly those with learning differences.

Katharina Samara-Wickrama

Director

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 20 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.

Leonardo Lacerda

Director

Environment

Leonardo joined Oak Foundation as the director of the Environment Programme in 2008. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 45 million and has 14 staff.  The programme has three sub-programmes (climate change, marine conservation, and wildlife conservation and trade). The programme envisions a world where our children will grow up in a clean, safe climate, our oceans are healthy and free of plastic, and endangered wildlife are protected from cruel and illegal trade.

Rachel Quick

Director

Special Interest

Rachel joined Oak Foundation as the director of the Special Interest Programme in 2014. The programme has an average grant-making budget of USD 50 million and has seven 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.

Vinit Rishi

Director

Administration

Vinit joined Oak Foundation in 2006 as director of Administration. Vinit is responsible for the foundation’s operations as well as administrative oversight for offices in India, Tanzania, the UK, and the US. Vinit leads the teams responsible for Finance, Grants Administration, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Organisational Development & Capacity Building. He also oversees real estate and facilities.

Virginia Ruan

Head of communications

Oak Foundation

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. There are also two other full-time staff members in the communications team (Rachel McKee and Mia Moore).