Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Oak Foundation's mission?
A. Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged.
Q. How does Oak Foundation decide on what to fund? What is Oak Foundation’s approach to grant-making?
A. Oak Foundation is a philanthropic grant-making organisation. Within our diverse range of programme areas, we fund civil society organisations across the world that address issues of global, social and environmental concern. Our approach is not hands-on; therefore we do not implement projects or programmes directly. We respond to requests for support from organisations working in our areas of interest. These requests come to us in the form of letters of enquiry, comprehensive proposals and eventually projects. We have a rigorous due diligence and selection process, which includes extensive discussions, financial reviews and site visits. We support ideas generated by credible civil society organisations.
Q. What are Oak Foundation's general grant-making guidelines?
A. Our grant-making guidelines can be found on the Grant-Making Criteria page.
Q. Can an individual seek financial assistance?
A. We do not provide funding to individuals. We only accept proposals from not-for-profit organisations.
Q. Does Oak Foundation support scholarships and individual trainings?
A. We do not support individual scholarships or trainings.
Q. Are there internship opportunities at Oak Foundation?
A. Some of our programmes have internship programmes. Please check the Career page to find out if there are any openings.
Q. How does an organisation apply for a grant from Oak Foundation?
A. While we accept unsolicited requests through letters of enquiry, most of our grants are awarded to organisations invited to apply by programme staff.
If you would still like to submit a letter of enquiry, please review the Grant-Making Criteria page and the Letters of Enquiry page. Each programme has its own funding criteria, geographic scope and requirements. Please review programme pages in detail for further information.
Q. Is there a standard format for submitting letters of enquiry?
A. Please follow the format instructions on the Letters of Enquiry page.
Q. How much time do letters of enquiry take to be reviewed?
A. We will respond within three months, informing the applicant whether there is sufficient interest to pursue a formal proposal. If so, we will request additional information from the organisation.
Q. Are there deadlines for submitting a letter of enquiry?
A. We have a continuous approval process so letters of enquiry may be submitted at any time.
Q. Can a full proposal be submitted as an enquiry?
A. We only consider enquiries as described on the Letters of Enquiry page, prior to inviting a more complete project proposal. Unsolicited full proposals will not be reviewed.
Q. Does Oak Foundation accept proposals for projects outside of the programme areas?
A. Please review the Grant-Making Criteria page and the Special Interest page for more information.
Q. Can an organisation send a letter of enquiry to one or more programme email addresses if it touches upon several issues?
A. Do not send a letter of enquiry to more than one programme. Should the concept note be of possible interest to other programmes, we will share it accordingly.
Q. Is there a minimum and maximum grant size?
A. Each programme has its own funding criteria, geographic scope and requirements. Except in special circumstances, our grant-making programmes do not fund initiatives under USD 25,000. Please review programme pages in detail for further information.
Q. Does Oak Foundation provide grants for core support?
A. In many situations, we do fund core support grants. Nevertheless, each programme has its own funding criteria, geographic scope and requirements. Please review programme pages in detail for further information.
Q. Does Oak Foundation support service provision? Does Oak Foundation award grants to organisations that are working to strengthen the charitable sector as a whole?
A. Each programme has its own funding criteria, geographic scope and requirements. Please review programme pages in detail for further information.
Q. What geographies and themes does Oak Foundation prioritise and does it ever fund outside of these?
A. Each programme has its own goals, strategies and geography. Please review previous grants and programme pages for further information.
Q. Does Oak Foundation give grants to individuals for fundraising activities?
A. We give grants to organisations directly rather than through individual fundraising activities; therefore, we are unable to fund your effort.
Q. Once an organisation has been invited to submit a full proposal, how long does it take for it to be reviewed?
A. The grant application process does not have a set time frame. It can take from two months to nine months from submission of an enquiry to final approval. Timing depends on a number of factors, but we work to ensure the most efficient process possible. After the initial approval of an enquiry, organisations are encouraged to reach out to programme officers to learn about the grant-making process and the stages of the application. The lines of communication between the programme officer and the organisations are always open – it is a collaborative effort.
Q. What are the different steps in the application process?
A. The grant application process can seem lengthy because of our due diligence process. This includes the programme staff evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the project concept, a financial review made by our administration team, as well as various approvals that take place during the recommendation phase. Each of these stages could lead to more information or discussion. For programme staff to make the best possible recommendation, they will strive to gain the most comprehensive view of the organisation, its board members, the project and the finances.
Q. Should we contact Oak Foundation for an update on the application process?
A. We would recommend that if a significant amount of time passes without news of the progress of the application, the organisation should contact the programme staff involved in the grant application. We are always happy to discuss the grant application at any point.