The Foundation supports many other initiatives such as its own AKO staff Give Back programme and facilitating opportunities for its partners to connect and add value to new or existing projects.


AKO Give Back

The Foundation is funded by donations from Nicolai Tangen, the CEO of AKO Capital LLP, and the AKO Give Back Initiative provides all AKO Capital staff with the opportunity to nominate a charity for a grant from the Foundation. As well as nominating the charities, the staff decide the grant recipients. A committee of staff members selects a short list of charitable projects and all staff then vote on the allocation of a pool of approximately £100,000 across these shortlisted charities.

The Foundation believes that a philanthropic mindset does not come naturally to all people, but that this can be taught. The objective of the AKO Give Back Initiative is to encourage philanthropic involvement by all staff at AKO Capital as well as developing leadership skills within the organisation. “How you give back to society” is also an important question in the AKO Capital partners’ year-end review process.


Little Sun Foundation
Little Sun Foundation



Since its inception grants of approximately £600,000 have been made by the Foundation under the AKO Give Back Initiative. In 2018 the largest grants were to the following recipients:

  • Maggie’s Centres – Maggie’s provide unique support centres built in the grounds of major NHS oncology hospitals. From these centres they deliver a programme of bespoke support to enable people to find their way through the overwhelming challenges that can come with a cancer diagnosis.
  • Neuroblastoma UK – This charity seeks to find a cure for neuroblastoma cancer by funding research projects. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that affects only children. Approximately two children are diagnosed with this cancer every week in the United Kingdom and it has one of the lowest survival rates of all childhood cancers, with only 67% of patients surviving for five years.
  • Centrepoint – Centrepoint works throughout the United Kingdom and supports more than 9,200 homeless young people each year. They aim to give homeless young people a future and their ultimate objective is to end youth homelessness.
  • Greenhouse Sports – A London-based charity committed to using sport to help young people in the inner city realise their full potential through high quality intensive sports coaching. Such coaching has the proven effect of instilling life skills which are then transferable into other areas of life.
  • Kiva – A charity that facilitates micro-finance provision to individuals in the developing world who lack the access to finance. By structuring the operations around loans that are repaid by the borrowers, it also means that capital lent on the Kiva platform can be recycled multiple times, creating a sustainable model of development microfinance.

Increasingly, charities initially given grants under the AKO Give Back Initiative have developed multi-year relationships with the Foundation with significantly increased funding. Lively Minds and OnSide Youth Zones, both covered in the Education section, are examples of such relationships. The trustees think it is fantastic that projects which have originated through this initiative have subsequently become important recipients of Foundation’s grants.

Connecting the dots

The Foundation seeks to add value to our partners beyond the purely monetary and where opportunities for mutual assistance are seen the Foundation will connect our partners with each other. Examples of the connections facilitated include:

  • Appearances by Adam Grant (Wharton), Jamie Oliver and Brett Wigdortz (Teach First) at the Business for Peace annual summits in Oslo.
  • Exhibiting the winning proposal from the AKO Curatorial Award at the Courtauld at the SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum.
  • The launch of the 2030 Childhood Obesity Alliance, funded by the Foundation, by the Jamie Oliver Group with the help of the founder of Teach First.
  • Suggesting an independent field trial of Little Sun solar lamps at Stromme Foundation schools in West Africa. The aim would be to demonstrate a statistically significant link between solar lighting and educational achievement and child health, through a rigorous assessment by an independent research group.
  • A proposed cooperation between the Courtauld in London and the University of Agder, Norway, where the Foundation is considering funding a PhD in Nordic modernist art.
  • Facilitating support from EssilorLuxottica, the global leader in lens technologies and a long-term investment holding in the AKO Capital funds, for Right to Sight Norway’s work at the Kwale Eye Centre in Kenya.

AKO Capital also offers internship opportunities to the Foundation’s scholarship students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Christ’s Hospital school. And although it is not at our instigation, the Foundation is delighted that two of our other partners will be working together, with an Onside Youth Zone being included within the Ark EdCity project.