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.


Providing healthcare services in Chad


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a humanitarian organisation that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in distress in more than 80 countries around the world.

After decades of internal military turmoil and war with Sudan, Chad has been relatively stable for the last four years. However, food insecurity is at chronic levels and epidemics are frequent. In this harsh environment, children are most at risk. Chad has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world: in 2012 in some areas of the country, rates of global acute malnutrition as high as 24 per cent were reported among children under five.

Several factors, including erratic rainfall, failed harvests, soaring food and fuel prices, early depletion of food stocks and poor access to healthcare contribute to the heightened malnutrition rates. In addition, tens of thousands of Chadians working in Libya fled the violence there and returned home, with the result of a loss of a crucial source of income.

Oak Foundation supports MSF’s work in Chad, where the aim is to reduce mortality and illness among mothers and children by supporting malnutrition and reproductive health programmes. In 2012 MSF treated more than 23,000 children for severe malnutrition in different areas of the Sahel strip, which cuts across the centre of Chad.



Photo: ©Simon Petit/MSF


How our health is being impacted by chemicals in everyday products


Over the last two years, a wealth of new research has been published highlighting concerns on the impact endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may have on our health and the environment.

EDCs are chemicals which mimic natural hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone. By acting like natural  hormones, they give wrong messages in our bodies or block the right messages from getting through. These substances are linked to reproductive abnormalities, immune disorders, obesity, cancer and other diseases. They are found in many everyday consumer products such as cosmetics, textiles, toys and furniture as well as pesticide residues in food.

Despite the widespread use of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties and the evidence of the hazard they may pose to our health, the EU has not yet properly regulated these substances. Over the next few years, crucial decisions will be taken in a variety of EU legislative frameworks that will be significant in deciding the levels of control for EDCs. The European Environment and Health Initiative (EEHI) works to strengthen civil society engagement in improving EU policies on EDCs. It aims to influence EU decision-makers to adopt an inclusive and protective approach for regulating EDCs in order to protect human health and wildlife.

EEHI’s main aim is to advocate for stricter EU laws on EDCs so that human health and the environment are better protected. Its strategy is to use complementary approaches at national and EU levels: informing decision-makers regarding EDC-related health threats, disseminating the latest scientific information, mobilising and informing citizens and exposing undue industry influence in decision-making.

The EEHI was started in July 2011 as a joint effort of Oak Foundation, the Marisla Foundation and the Jenifer Altman Foundation. Thanks to its work, the topic of EDCs as an important health and environmental concern has been put back firmly on the EU policy agenda.








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