The Foundation is a London based charity; its founder previously lived, and the majority of the trustees do live, in north London.  The founder, Nicolai Tangen, was born and brought up in Kristiansand, Norway; other Trustees also have connections to Norway.  The Foundation values these links and has supported the following causes in north London and Norway.

The Foundation also supports a range of UK charities through the ‘Give Back’ initiative, through which members of staff of AKO Capital have the opportunity to nominate a charity to receive a grant from the Foundation.

London

Hampstead Theatre

Based in north London, Hampstead Theatre has as its mission the creation of original theatre without creative restriction.  The Foundation has been an important partner over several years, including in the creation of ‘The Next Decade’ initiative – the commissioning of new plays from leading playwrights – for which the Foundation matched the funding raised by Hampstead Theatre.

The Foundation agreed a new grant in 2019, again on a match-funding basis, to support the Theatre’s objective of strengthening its financial reserves.  This proved helpful in helping the Theatre to navigate through the very difficult conditions of 2020.

Maytree

Maytree supports people facing a suicidal crisis, in a non-medical setting. The Maytree Suicide Respite Centre, located in north London, is the only place of its kind in the UK and fills a gap in services between the medical support of the National Health Service and the helplines and drop-in centres of the voluntary sector.  Specifically, it provides such individuals with a free five-day stay and the opportunity to be befriended and to speak in complete confidence.  The Foundation has contributed to Maytree’s core costs over several years.

Doorstep Homeless Families Project

The Foundation has made two grants to support Doorstep in its mission to provide homeless families living in temporary accommodation in north London with access to services, so that they can enjoy a better quality of life. 

Freud Museum

The first ever grant made by the Foundation was in 2013 to this north London museum, situated in what was formerly Sigmund Freud’s family home during his exile in London, towards the conservation of the couch used during his psychoanalysis sessions with his patients.

Norway

Den Norske Turistforening

Den Norske Turistforening is Norway’s largest outdoor life organisation with more than 310,000 members.  DNT aims to promote active and environmentally friendly outdoor activities, such as trekking and ski trekking, and to preserve the natural and cultural landscape. In particular, DNT’s local associations maintain walking routes and ski tracks, and operate 550 refuge cabins across Norway.  The Foundation proposes to make a grant to allow DNT to build a new cabin in the Setesdal Vesthei mountain area in Norway, which will serve as a starting point for treks and will also provide information about the natural and cultural heritage of Setesdal Vesthei including the area’s herds of wild reindeer.

Business for Peace Foundation

The Business for Peace Foundation, a Norwegian foundation, believes that business can create positive change in society by acting ethically and responsibly and with the objective of creating value for society as well as economic value.  In support of this, the Business for Peace Foundation names Honourees who have demonstrated that it is possible to combine solid business performance with these higher purposes. The Foundation has supported the Business for Peace annual summits since 2016. 

In addition, in 2020 the Foundation agreed a one-off grant towards the launch of a new initiative ‘Future of Business’, which seeks to encourage investors and business leaders in selected countries in Africa to conform to the SDG goals.

The AKO Give Back Initiative

The AKO Give Back Initiative provides all AKO Capital staff with the opportunity to nominate a charity to receive a grant from the Foundation.  As well as nominating charities, the staff collectively determine the recipients of the larger grants.  A committee of staff members selects a short list of charitable projects, and all staff then vote on the allocation of a pool that in 2020 amounted to some £600,000.

In 2020 the largest grants were to the following recipients:

  • Cool Earth: Cool Earth is an environmental charity that works with rainforest communities to halt deforestation and its impact on climate change.
  • Generating Genius: Generating Genius works with talented and able students from BAME backgrounds to enable them to excel in STEM careers and higher education.
  • Haringey Sports Development: A local North London charity offering a wide range of  physical recreation and sport programmes and facilities.
  • Little Village: Little Village operates across London in the manner of a food bank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5.
  • Loss Foundation: The Loss Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated solely to providing bereavement support following the loss of a loved one to cancer or, latterly, to Covid-19.
  • PACT (Parents and Children Together): PACT supports families throughout the process of adoption.
  • The trustees are delighted that certain charities introduced to the Foundation through this initiative have subsequently developed deeper, multi-year relationships with the Foundation.  Lively Minds and OnSide, both covered in the Education section above, are examples of such relationships.  

    In addition to the annual opportunity to recommend purely financial support, AKO Capital staff are also encouraged to give their time and expertise to those charities that the Foundation supports, for example by serving as charity trustee, school governor or mentor to young people.