Letter from the Trustees

2019 was another busy year for Oak Foundation, during which we provided 377 programme and special initiative grants to 342 organisations in 37 countries. The pages of this report give a colourful account of some of our grant-making around the world.

By sharing stories about the work being carried out by our partners, we hope to raise awareness of their efforts
to contribute to a better and fairer world. You can read about some of their impressive work in the following pages.

With support from our Environment Programme, Oceana is working to return abundance to the world’s oceans. The organisation has been remarkably successful in expanding marine protective areas, stopping overfishing and countering the damage done by aquaculture. “If we give the ocean a chance, it will come back, it will sustain us.”

We highlight the efforts of the partners of our International Human Rights Programme, who have united to stop indefinite detention in the UK. Together they managed to secure victories in the judicial system and raise public awareness about this problematic issue. In addition, our partners provide medical assistance to hundreds of people in detention every year.

We are helping to build a movement in the UK for women who are marginalised on the basis of their ethnicity. The Issues Affecting Women Programme’s bold new strategy prioritises work that questions traditional philanthropic dynamics. “I do this work because I believe it is possible to end violence against women and girls.”

We are supporting partners to address structural racism in the education system in North Carolina, to raise awareness around the issue and to enable families to advocate for changes to practice, policy and systems that improve opportunity for marginalised students with learning differences. “This is changing what history has dealt us and showing that there can be a different way.”

We have provided support to our partners to increase efforts to stamp out child sexual abuse – “it doesn’t have to be this way”. We know that child sexual abuse can be stopped by enlisting the support of parents and government programmes. “Now, we are able to shine a light into some of those dark places.”

Through the Special Interest Programme, we are supporting veterans in the UK, as well as young women who may experience marginalisation because of their ethnicity, to get jobs. Protected rural areas are being expanded to encourage the regrowth of flora and fauna. In the face of austerity measures, people are being supported to claim their rights to disability benefits. The Tiny Homes project in North Carolina provides small, independent-living options for homeless people, and the Climate Leadership Initiative is tackling climate change head-on.

In Brazil we adapted the programme’s strategy to generate a bigger impact. By deepening democracy and encouraging public debates to include the voices of everyone, we hope that alternative ways to prevent violence, mediate conflict and restore justice can be implemented.

In Denmark, we support various organisations which tackle the problem of homelessness from different angles. “It’s a way we can try to give worthiness and hopefulness to people.”

In India, we support various communities practicing their livelihoods in vulnerable situations. Women workers, despite being in great numbers in certain trades, are often treated as invisible. The efforts of our partners to elevate their voices and unite women around their collective needs has strengthened them. “The leadership is there, it just needs to be nourished.”

In Zimbabwe, we continue our work to empower communities by providing livelihood programmes to people with HIV/AIDS and their families, as well as healthcare across the country. In addition, lives are being transformed through demining efforts. “Soon, we will be able to walk freely.”

Finally, we will soon say goodbye to longterm Housing and Homelessness Programme director Amanda Beswick, who leaves us after 19 years at Oak Foundation. We thank her for outstanding contributions to Oak’s grant-making, in particular in helping people stay in their homes or resolve situations of insecure housing.

We are proud that our foundation aims to make a difference in the lives of others through the work of our partners, who are striving to combat inequity and injustice in society. We hope you enjoy reading about their work as much as we do.

Trustees of Oak Foundation
Caroline Turner, Kristian Parker, Natalie Shipton, Jette Parker, Alan Parker, Christopher Parker