What we fund


In the Special Interest Programme, we fund a range of projects in health, humanitarian relief, education and the arts. The Trustees are committed to remaining flexible and to seizing opportunities as they arise. Due to the diversity of our programme, we have structured this page differently than other programme pages by highlighting a selection of our grants. Please click on the links at the end of the grant descriptions to review more details in our Grants Database.


Scholars' Latino Initiative


The Scholars’ Latino Initiative (SLI) is a programme at the University of North Carolina that was founded in 2003 to increase access to higher education for Latino high school students in North Carolina. So far it has been successful, enabling students, who might not otherwise have had the opportunity, to go to universities across the US.


Currently, more than 100 volunteers mentor high school students for more than 8,000 hours each academic year to realise their dreams of college attendance. Their efforts enable students from underresourced high schools to: develop an enthusiasm for higher education; prepare academically for college success; receive assistance in the college application process; and seek scholarships to make college enrolment a reality.


Oak Foundation’s latest grant to SLI will enable the organisation to become a registered not-for-profit charity so that it can raise funds in a more structured manner and scale up and improve its organisational capacity.





The Statens Serum Institut


The Statens Serum Institut (SSI) in Copenhagen is one of the largest health research institutions in Denmark. The institute employs some 1,300 people at its central laboratory to research and understand the causes of disease.


Also home to the public healthcare sector’s national registry, SSI researchers have access to information on Denmark’s entire population.


Medical services in the country are free, and since 1968 all Danes have received a unique personal identification number. Medical information is collected and recorded in a detailed registrar in categories such as disease type, birth characteristics, vaccinations, family structure, medication, birth and death dates and emigration.


Recently, a biobank containing 15 million biological samples was built at SSI. Together with the registry information, researchers have unprecedented amounts of information at their disposal. It is now possible for longitudinal studies of an entire population from birth to grave. This information can be used to provide high-quality healthcare for all citizens. It also enables the investigation of the causes of disease, with the view to improve diagnoses and treatment.


Oak Foundation recently granted postdoctoral positions to three researchers at the institute to stimulate epidemiological research on the interplay between genetic constitutions and the influence of environmental factors.


A particular focus will be given to the links between what unborn babies and young children are exposed to and the development of disease in later life. Researchers have access to detailed information on the lifestyles and environmental exposure of 100,000 pregnant women and their children, as well as biological information on all newborns for the last 30 years.




Photo: ©Statens Serum Institut



Recent Special Interest Grants


Click here to view all grants awarded under this project in our Grant Database.