Letters of Enquiry Guidelines


In the Climate Change and Marine Conservation sub-programmes, we typically invite organisations to submit letters of enquiry based on  annual funding priorities, internal guidelines, budget cycle and timelines.  If you have not been contacted by a Programme Officer directly to submit a letter of enquiry, the chances are relatively low that your organisation will be considered for funding. If you decide to submit an unsolicited letter of enquiry, we will respond within three months.


Please follow the steps below:


Step 1: Review Oak Foundation's Grant-making Criteria


Read Oak Foundation's grant-making criteria, review previous grants in our database and assess whether you meet the general requirements of the Foundation.


Step 2: Read Programme Requirements


Each programme has its own goals, geographic scope, funding restrictions and requirements for funding.  Please read our programme pages for details


Step 3: Submit a Letter of Enquiry


Organisations who are interested in seeking a grant are advised to write a concept note of no more than two pages in length.


To expedite the process, please ensure that the concept note includes the following information:


  • A summary of the goals and budget of your organisation
  • A description of the duration, goals and activities of the project for which you seek funding
  • Location of the project and description of the target population
  • Amount of the grant requested and total cost of the project
  • Actual or potential co-funders

Oak Foundation’s main office is in Geneva. It has several other offices that are located to serve its various programmes. All letters of enquiry under the Environment Programme should be sent to eep@oakfnd.ch.


We would be most appreciative if you do not contact the Foundation directly to discuss your request as we are unable to respond to unsolicited requests due to the volume of requests we receive. Please write to the Geneva office or e-mail info@oakfnd.ch for general enquiries about the Foundation or its grant making. For initial contact, please do not telephone or visit the offices.


Funding Restrictions


Please find below some of the reasons why the Environment Programme is unable to provide funding:


  1. Oak Foundation does not generally provide grants to applicants that pursue an individual interest, such as an individual seeking support while conducting research or attending seminars or requiring living expenses for study or travel.
  2. The Environment Programme usually concentrates its resources in Europe, the United States, Canada and Belize.  While Oak Foundation may support organisations in other countries, these grants often are related to activities undertaken in our priority country, or may be provided by other Oak Foundation programme areas. 
  3. The Environment Programme has an internal working strategy designed to maximise the use of Oak Foundation’s resources to the benefit of the largest possible population.  Enquiries proposing activities that do not contribute to this strategy are unlikely to be considered for support. 
  4. In general, there are certain niche conservation activities that attract interest.  These include marine issues of habitat destruction and bycatch, the establishment of marine reserves and using market forces to reform fisheries management.  Climate change projects attracting interest are those that result in the establishment of mandatory limits on global warming pollution, encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency in the energy and transport sectors and harness market forces to promote change.