The Vitol Group first began making charitable grants in 2002, leading to the formation of the Vitol Foundation in 2006. Since inception, we have worked hard to align the Foundation with the values that have made Vitol a world leader in the energy business: flexibility to change and a willingness to take risks; speed in responding when needed; optimising the power of partnerships; and leveraging the Group’s global reach and local understanding.
The overarching aim of the Vitol Foundation is to enable children living in deprivation to reach their potential in life. To this end, the Foundation supports sustainable or transformational projects that fall under four programme areas critical to a child’s development: Health; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (‘WASH’); Education and Livelihoods. We actively research and fund implementing partners that address the needs of the most vulnerable, incorporating Disaster Risk Reduction where possible.
In addition to our long-term development work, we also respond to emergencies that result from natural disasters and human conflict. Our ability to release funds almost immediately has set the Vitol Foundation apart over the years, resulting in being named Save the Children’s first ever Corporate Emergency Partner of the Year in 2011.
Of equal importance is the ability of the Vitol Foundation to link existing and potential implementing partners to each other and to potential donors. We aim to facilitate an increasingly integrated, holistic approach to development and proactively disseminate models of best practice.
In 2013, the Vitol Foundation funded 256 projects with 157 partner organisations in 65 countries. Building on the lessons learned through this broad approach, we now aim to increase the impact of the Foundation by making fewer but larger investments in exemplary projects.
Using data made available by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the World Bank, we identify the countries with the highest needs, and the best partners and projects to address them. We prioritise development projects that support children and their families living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.25 a day), and that are inclusive of the most marginalised people within those communities.
The Vitol Foundation sources new charitable partners through recommendations from other partners and donors, Vitol staff suggestions and through research by the Foundation team. The Vitol Foundation does not take unsolicited applications.
Our Health Programme prioritises projects that reduce maternal and child mortality, improve equitable access to quality primary healthcare and strengthen the national health system in the project location. We focus on the following key health areas health system strengthening; preventable and curable diseases; maternal and neonatal issues; breakthrough innovations that are scalable and replicable; and increased access to health services through public private partnerships.
Our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Programme focuses on countries where access to clean water and uptake of hygienic sanitation practices is lowest, with the overall aim of improving health. We support projects that: promote government and/or private sector engagement in prospective project scale-up; strengthen community supply chains and management structures; increase demand for - and sustainable access to - improved water sources, sanitation facilities and hygienic behaviours; and promote universal access.
Our Education Programme includes early years, primary and secondary school, further and Informal education, as well as those targeting the leaders of tomorrow. We support projects that offer children the opportunity to improve their lives and contribute to positive change within their communities and wider society. We prioritize projects that develop and strengthen the government’s ability to deliver high quality education, ensure equality in access for girls and boys, make education relevant and prepare young people for local employment markets, and keep children in school for as long as possible so they can reach their potential.
Our Livelihoods Programme aims to break cycles of poverty by strengthening market systems and helping young people transit from education to meaningful employment. Focus areas include: moving communities from subsistence to enterprise; making markets work for the poor (M4P); delivering energy and communication solutions to off-grid communities; facilitating access to knowledge, finance, financial literacy, inputs, infrastructure and supply chains; and supporting innovative and scalable job creation and training solutions.
Our Emergency Programme supports communities in the aftermath of natural disaster and human conflict. We also support the call for increased funding for access to quality education in humanitarian response efforts; historically one of the lowest priorities with tragic consequences for future generations. In addition to direct support from the Foundation, we also launch staff fundraising appeals for large-scale emergencies and are very proud of the outstanding support from Vitol staff around the world. We extend a huge thank you to all who have contributed over the years.
The Foundation supports a number of different initiatives that encourage staff to get more involved with philanthropy, including project visits, volunteering, fundraising events and sporting challenges. Vitol staff are working in and visiting nearly every developing country, and are encouraged to suggest new charity partners which the Foundation team will then evaluate in relation to our Goals and Principles. Some of our best partners have come from staff suggestions.