The AKO Foundation supports charitable causes that improve education, promote the arts, or mitigate climate problems. Established in 2013 by Nicolai Tangen, the founder of AKO Capital, the Foundation has to date been funded with a total of more than £300 million, and has made charitable grants in excess of £100 million. The Foundation does not seek applications for grants, and will not make grants in response to unsolicited applications.

About the Foundation

The AKO Foundation was established by Nicolai Tangen, the founder of AKO Capital, in April 2013.  Since its inception, including donations received and grants made to date, the Foundation has been funded with more than £300 million, and has approved grants of around £100 million. 

In 2019, Nicolai and Katja Tangen became signatories to the Giving Pledge, a movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.  The AKO Foundation is the principal channel through which Nicolai and Katja Tangen fulfil this pledge.

The Foundation continued to make grants towards charities and projects which improve education and promote the arts.  In addition, the Trustees initiated climate change mitigation as a third significant grant-making category during 2019.  The Foundation also supports the ‘AKO Give Back’ initiative; AKO Capital staff are encouraged to nominate a charity for the Foundation’s support, and they are able to volunteer time on behalf of any charity funded by the Foundation.

Increasingly, the Foundation aims to help to start up, or to be the catalyst for, new charitable projects which otherwise could not have been realised.  Examples of this include the Foundation’s start-up funding for the Bite Back campaign against childhood obesity in the UK; and, in Norway, the AKO Kunststiftelse, a major initiative to build and display what will be the foremost collection of modern Nordic art.  There are many further examples of such projects in the pages that follow. 

Mirroring the long-term thinking and investment strategy of AKO Capital, the Foundation aims to be a significant and reliable partner to its beneficiaries, and generally seeks multi-year relationships with them.  The relationship between the Foundation and the entities it supports is further assisted by involvement of the analyst team at AKO Capital.  From the perspective of the Foundation, the application of the analyst team’s business analysis skills represents a valuable additional resource, improving the quality of the interface between the Foundation and its beneficiaries.  For the analyst team it leads to greater pride in AKO Capital, together with a more holistic view on life and greater humility – key success factors in the investment management industry.

The Foundation seeks to add value to its partners in ways beyond the purely financial.  For example, wherever appropriate it seeks to introduce grant recipients that have complementary interests to each other, for their mutual benefit; and AKO Capital staff are encouraged to volunteer their time and expertise with the Foundation’s beneficiaries.  Some instances of ‘Connecting the Dots’ appear in the following pages.

The Foundation takes pride in the leanness of its administration, which results in fast decision-making, and in the greatest possible proportion of its resources being available to support beneficiaries.  The Trustees aspire that the Foundation should be best in Europe as measured by speed of response and efficiency of operations.  At the same time, the Foundation applies the highest standards of analytical rigour, thus ensuring that the impact of its grant-making is maximised. The Trustees will have the same demands and ambition for the Foundation as Nicolai does for AKO Capital.

The Foundation adopts a highly proactive approach to grant-making; accordingly, it does not seek applications for grants, and does not make grants in response to unsolicited applications.

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University of the Arts