The Foundation believes that education is the key to a successful future both for individuals and for societies as a whole, and thus supports educational projects in both developing and developed regions of the world.

In developing countries, the Foundation’s approach is not to select specific countries in which to operate; rather, it supports trusted partners in their work, enabling them to use their local knowledge, expertise, and networks to judge where an intervention will have the greatest, or most widespread, impact.  A number of large-scale studies have demonstrated the substantial positive social, economic and environmental impacts of giving girls, who would otherwise be disadvantaged or excluded, access to a good education; the Trustees therefore have a particular interest in this area.

Selected Beneficiaries

Developing Countries

Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)

AKO Foundation support since 2019

CAMFED tackles poverty and inequality through education, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.  It supports marginalised girls to attend school, to succeed academically, and then, as young women, to realise their potential to be leaders of change.  In its 25 years of existence, CAMFED has helped more than 3 million children to attend school, and has recruited nearly 140,000 educated young women into the CAMFED Association (CAMA), where they are able to leverage investment in girls’ education by supporting even more girls to stay in school, and to thrive as young adults. 

Educate Girls

AKO Foundation support since 2019

Educate Girls is committed to the Indian Government’s vision to improve access to primary education for children, especially young girls.  It helps to identify, enrol and retain out-of-school girls and to improve foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for all children (both girls and boys).  The Foundation has joined a collaborative funding initiative, together with a group of other prominent philanthropists, to support a project that aims to enrol 1.6 million girls back into school, and to achieve sustainable improvements in learning outcomes within the school system.

Education Partnerships Group (EPG)

AKO Foundation support since 2021

EPG, an affiliate of Ark, supports governments in low- and middle-income countries to shape and strengthen their education systems, predicated on the belief that governments are best placed to make decisions about their country.  We are supporting EPG’s work in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), where it is advising the government with regard to the funding of the secondary schooling sector, with a view to achieving both equitable access and greater financial viability.

Little Sun Foundation

AKO Foundation support since 2018

The Little Sun Foundation was co-founded by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.  Little Sun creates solar-powered hand-held lamps, designed by Eliasson; they can be charged during the day and allow work to be undertaken during hours of darkness.  The solar lamps thus provide significant health, educational and economic benefits, as they replace harmful kerosene lamps and expensive torches.  The Foundation’s support enables Little Sun to distribute solar lamps to students in rural areas of several African countries.

Lively Minds

AKO Foundation support since 2017

Lively Minds works in remote rural villages in Africa and trains ‘Volunteer Mothers’ to run informal, free play schemes for all pre-school children in their villages.  The Volunteer Mothers are also given monthly parenting workshops to help them provide better care at home.  The Foundation supports Lively Minds’ work in both Ghana and Uganda.

Partnership for Change

AKO Foundation support since 2018

A Norwegian non-profit organisation, Partnership for Change works for the economic independence of women in Ethiopia and Myanmar.  As in many developing countries, girls – particularly in rural communities – face obstacles in accessing formal education.  To address this inequality and the unmet educational needs of such girls, the Foundation is funding an intensive programme of financial support and academic and life skills training in rural Ethiopia to prevent girls from deprived backgrounds from dropping out of high school.


AKO Foundation support new in 2022

Pratham, one of two NGOs working in India for which the Foundation initiated support during 2022, conducts high-quality, low-cost, replicable interventions to address gaps in the education system, most notably through its Teaching at the Right Level programme.  This teaches literacy and numeracy at the level appropriate to a child’s educational attainment, rather than chronological age.

Social Finance

AKO Foundation support since 2021

After years of civil war and disease, Liberia faced the twin problems of several cohorts of under-educated young people, and one of the lowest rates of public expenditure per capita on education of any country.  Social Finance, a UK non-profit entity, acts as project manager for ‘LEAP’ – Liberian Education Advancement Programme.  This is an innovative programme through which the Ministry of Education has outsourced the management of a significant proportion of the country’s schools to third-party operators, with a view to identifying a replicable model or models, and to raising standards nationally.  The Foundation is one of a small group of major funders supporting this programme.

Strømme Foundation

AKO Foundation support since 2013

Strømme Foundation (Strømmestiftelsen) is a Norwegian development organisation that uses education to pursue its mission of creating a world free from poverty.  Its approach is holistic; in its support for children, adolescents and their families within selected communities, Strømme invariably works with and through local delivery partners, thereby strengthening sustainability and maximising impact.  The Foundation supports a number of strands of Strømme’s work, including activities in Nepal, Uganda, and West Africa.

Teach for India

AKO Foundation support new in 2022

Teach for India’s core activity is not dissimilar to those of Teach First (see below) in the UK or Teach for America: college graduates (and others) do intensive training followed by a commitment to (at least) 2 years of teaching.  Currently 1,000 ‘Fellows’ are actively teaching; there are around 4,000 ex-Fellows, three-quarters of whom have remained in the education sector in India.  The Foundation has made an unrestricted grant.

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

AKO Foundation support since 2020

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the world’s largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women.  Now over 100 years old, the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement represents ten million girls and young women from 150 countries, helping them through non-formal education programmes, leadership development, advocacy and community action, thereby empowering them to develop the skills and confidence needed to make positive changes in their lives, their communities and countries.

The UK and other developed countries


AKO Foundation support since 2015

Ark seeks to transform the lives of under-privileged children by providing a great education, with a core focus on the school: it runs around three dozen Academy schools, at both primary and secondary levels, typically in areas of economic deprivation with a history of educational underachievement.  Ark also creates and incubates ventures designed not only to help pupils in Ark schools, but also to improve education systems as a whole, both in the UK and overseas.


AKO Foundation support since 2021

Provides online mentoring, raising aspirations in school, supporting students in higher education, providing insights into careers, and learning skills for work.  Brightside has mentored over 100,000 young people since 2003. 

Brilliant Club

AKO Foundation support since 2019

The ‘Scholars Programme’, now largely delivered online, recruits, trains and places PhD researchers to deliver university-style courses, based on their research, to small groups of pupils aged 9-17.  This charity was introduced to the Foundation by an analyst at AKO Capital who served as a trustee of The Brilliant Club.

Get Further

AKO Foundation support new in 2022

Without a GCSE in Maths or English, a person’s life chances are severely impaired, with opportunities in both education and employment heavily restricted.  Get Further employs specialist tutors to assist students who have not yet obtained a pass grade in GCSE Maths and / or English, but who have moved into further education, to do so.

Generating Genius

AKO Foundation support since 2020

Introduced to the Foundation through the Give Back programme, Generating Genius works with talented and able students, primarily from BAME backgrounds, to enable them to gain a place to study STEM subjects at leading universities, and then to excel in STEM-related careers.


AKO Foundation support since 2021

‘What works’ in education is not an easy question to answer.  Using robust research methodologies to make evaluation quicker, easier and more effective, ImpactEd supports schools and education organisations, including some of the charities supported by the Foundation, to evaluate their impact, to learn from it, and to prioritise what works best in improving outcomes for young people. 


AKO Foundation support new in 2022

IntoUniversity works with schools, universities and communities to provide local learning centres across England, Wales and Scotland where young people, aged 7 and above, are offered both tuition and also the tailored support and advice regarding educational pathways which is readily available in more affluent homes.

Now Teach

AKO Foundation support since 2018

Now Teach recruits and supports high calibre, experienced professionals who have already had at least one successful career.  Working in challenging schools across the country, they not only increase teaching capacity, but also bring vital links to employers, universities and other post-school options.


AKO Foundation support new in 2022

Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity with over 25 years’ experience working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools.  It provides mental health support in schools through one-to-one and group counselling; and offers expert training and professional qualifications.

The Foundation’s Trustees are increasingly aware that good mental health is often a prerequisite for successful teaching and learning.

Stiftelsen Fullriggeren Sørlandet

AKO Foundation support since 2020

Stiftelsen Fullriggeren Sørlandet is a Norwegian educational non-profit foundation which owns, maintains, and preserves the Tall Ship Sørlandet.  Now used in partnership with the exchange school A+ World Academy, the vessel has been more or less continually in use as an educational facility for 100 years.  The Foundation’s grant funded the re-design of the curriculum, and also provides bursary funding for international students who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Teach First

AKO Foundation support since 2014

Founded as a vehicle for the temporary recruitment into the teaching profession of graduates who might not have considered a permanent teaching career, Teach First now aims to improve educational attainment in disadvantaged communities through a range of programmes, including teacher training, improving school leadership, and the creation of networks among schools and school leaders.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

AKO Foundation support since 2013

The Foundation has an ongoing relationship with the internationally renowned Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  The Foundation, and Nicolai Tangen privately, have endowed undergraduate scholarships to support more than 20 international students at any one time who would otherwise be unable to meet the cost of their education.  The scholarships benefit the individual recipients and, due to the recipients’ global background and international perspective, enrich the student community. Their education will also benefit the communities and organisations they go on to lead after graduating.  The Foundation previously made a major grant to spearhead construction of a new campus building, Tangen Hall, which opened in 2021.  This provides a space dedicated to cross-campus student entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania.

University of the Arts

AKO Foundation support since 2017

Offering courses in arts, design, fashion and communication, and attended by over 19,000 students from more than 130 countries, University of the Arts London (UAL) is Europe’s largest specialist arts and design university.  In recent years, UAL has established a new model of academic delivery, UAL Institutes, which overlay UAL’s six art and design colleges.  Having previously provided seed funding for two of these – the Creative Computing Institute, and the Social Design Institute – the Foundation has more recently worked with UAL to establish the AKO Storytelling Institute.  It is intended that this will become an influential academic leader in a wide range of narrative disciplines, while also enhancing UAL’s public programme and audience engagement.

AKO Foundation