Supporting our partners

We are proud to be working with our partners across our many programmes. We strive to be purposeful and strategic in our grant-making. We provide opportunities for our partners to access support, including through: capacity building; child safeguarding; monitoring and evaluation; and communications. Read on for more information.

Capacity building

Capacity building develops leadership skills, as well as high-performing organisations and effective networks.

Oak’s capacity-building and organisational development enables our partners to have access to and funding for high-quality support. In 2020, ensuring the resilience of our partners in the face of the Covid-19 crisis was a natural priority. We addressed it through: learning and
cooperation with other foundations; and providing support to not-forprofit organisations. The team also compiled a collection of key
organisational resources, tools, and ideas to support not-for-profit organisations during Covid-19.

In addition, our capacity-building partners adapted their support in response to the current challenges. For example, in June, Resource Alliance inaugurated its global community online portal, which is a space of collaboration and innovation for fundraisers and changemakers worldwide. Thanks to the work of skilled volunteers at Catchafire, our partners had their immediate needs met for translation services and the development of communication materials.

In 2021, once we have a clearer picture of the impacts Covid-19 has had on our partners and grant-making in general, we aim to fine tune our capacity-building and organisational development support to suit partners’ long-term needs, and further strengthen their capacity to withstand future challenges.

If you are a partner of Oak Foundation, please speak to your programme officer to find out more about the support you can receive.

Child safeguarding

We are determined to put children first in all that we do. In the interest of protecting all children everywhere, we ask our partners to do the same.

Oak envisions a world where children are protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation and where their rights and safety are respected. Safeguarding children is everybody’s business and we take our responsibility seriously, which is why we hold Oak and our employees accountable to high standards of child protection. We put in place our first Child Safeguarding Policy in 2013 and adopted a revised version in 2018. We continue to keep our staff informed and aware of the importance of safeguarding: in 2020 we strengthened our intranet site with easily accessible information, references, and guidance.

In addition, we commissioned an external learning review of our child-safeguarding work to date, to develop a clear evidence-based way forward. The review covers how best to embed child safeguarding within our partner organisations. It also highlighted a number of positive changes that our partners have made in their safeguarding systems and practices. The report shows that Oak’s support has helped our partners progress to a level that they otherwise would not have achieved within the same timeframe. Please go to our website to see the review.

We will continue to accompany our partners on their safeguarding journeys, offering support and resources. If you are a partner of Oak Foundation, please speak to your programme officer to find out more about the support you can receive.

Monitoring & evaluation

We know that social change is not a linear process. We believe in the importance of learning from success and failure to help us improve and adapt.

At Oak Foundation, we strive to combat injustice in society. To ensure we understand if and how our grantmaking is being impactful, we created a dedicated monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) team two years ago. We believe in the importance of learning from success and failure to help us improve and adapt. We embrace a ‘do no harm’ principle in our funding, which means we seek to understand if our efforts are generating any negative, unintended effects for the people we want to serve.

In 2020, we developed a clear organisational strategy for monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Our strategy is built around three pillars: systems, people, and culture. Under each, we initiated different organisation-wide initiatives to increase our strategic learning capacities. Our programmes are actively creating spaces for reflection and intentional learning, and many have started to shape strong learning agendas.

Our work does not stop with our internal staff. This year we have collaborated with many of our intermediaries and partners to strengthen our collective ability to learn together and from each other.

We are already seeing how these investments are improving how we fund, and how they are helping us be better partners to grantee and funding partners with whom we share the same goals.


Good communications helps ensure transparency around our grant-making and elevates the voices of those who are the least heard.

In 2020, communications played a critical role in Oak’s response to the needs of our partners and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In tandem with the IT department, the team rolled out a digital workplace, which was indispensable in facilitating communication among Oak from a distance. We also coordinated internal communications to help staff feel connected and able to work efficiently from home.

The Communications team redesigned the annual report and created new visual tools to better showcase the values of the Foundation and the work of our partners being carried out across the world, on subjects that touch all of Oak’s programmes. It is our honour to be able to raise the voices of the people that benefit from your great work.

Oak values communications as a vehicle for social change and provides funding for communication initiatives within our programmes. We also support capacity-building efforts to expand global and local efforts to improve communications. Please contact your programme officer if you are an Oak partner and would like to hear more.

Oak’s main communications channels are its website, newsletters, and annual reports, as well as through social media channels Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Please follow us! We love to hear success stories from our partners so please reach out to the Communications team at and we will be happy to share.