Sabancı Foundation

We touch the lives of individuals everywhere in Turkey.

Embracing the late Hacı Ömer Sabancı’s life philosophy of “sharing what we have obtained from this land with its people,” the Sabancı family established the Hacı Ömer Sabancı Foundation (Sabancı Foundation) in 1974 to organize all their philanthropic activities under one organization.

Sabancı Group harnesses the power of its industrial and economic advancements to support social and cultural activities through the Sabancı Foundation. As such, it has become one of the leading family foundations in Turkey.

Sabancı Foundation has built more than 120 institutions all around Turkey in 78 residential areas, such as schools, dormitories, teachers’ centers, medical facilities, sports complexes, cultural centers and social facilities for 45 years since its foundation. Since 2007, 162 projects of non-governmental organizations have been supported. In the field of culture and arts, long-term supports are being provided particularly for example to State Theaters - Sabancı International Adana Theater Festival which has been organized for 21 years. Having provided 48 thousand scholarships in 45 years, Sabancı Foundation encourages success with awards in the fields of education, art and sports. 

  • We support innovative education through Sabancı University.
  • We empower non-governmental organizations by making grants and sharing our expertise.
  • We share our knowledge and experience to strengthen philanthropy.
  • We inspire society by increasing the visibility of “Changemakers.”
  • We encourage students and artists by offering scholarships and grants.
  • We pioneer new approaches and methods implemented in the field of philanthropy, especially by supporting civil society with grants.
  • We contribute to the resolution of social issues by working with non-governmental organizations.
  • We build institutions in the fields of education, culture, healthcare and sports.

Education, social change, culture and the arts comprise Sabancı Foundation’s main areas of activity. The Foundation particularly focuses on “women,” “youth” and “persons with disabilities” within these activities.

The vision of the Sabancı Foundation is “a society where all individuals enjoy their rights equally.

The Sabancı Family has contributed to Turkey’s economy through the many industrial enterprises they have established. Family members have focused their efforts on launching institutions that benefit the public in the fields of education, healthcare, culture, sports and social services, and have played an active role in philanthropic work. Reflecting the philosophy of the late Hacı Ömer Sabancı, “Sharing what we have obtained from this land with its people,” the Sabancı Family established the Hacı Ömer Sabancı Foundation (known as Sabancı Foundation) in 1974. Sadıka Sabancı, the wife of Hacı Ömer Sabancı, donated her entire wealth to the Foundation’s endowment. Sabancı Foundation’s financial resources consist of donations by the Sabancı Family and Sabancı Group, and revenues generated from the Foundation’s various assets. 

Education, social change, culture and the arts comprise the Foundation’s main areas of activity. The Foundation particularly focuses on women, youth and persons with disabilities within these activities.

Sabancı Foundation has memberships in the leading non-governmental organizations in Turkey and abroad. It is a Founding Member of Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TÜSEV); a Member of European Foundations Center (EFC); a Founding Member of EFC’s European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability and Gender Thematic Network; a Zero Project impact transfer partner and a Member of the US Council on Foundations (COF).

Social Change

The Sabancı Foundation supports the projects of leading non-governmental organizations with grants to find solutions for today’s complex social issues and make a lasting impact. The Foundation engages in long-term, inter-institutional partnerships to increase its impact. 

First launched in 2007, the Sabancı Foundation Grant Programs aim to support non-governmental organizations in promoting social development to achieve equality and active participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities. In 12 years since 2007, 162 projects were supported reaching directly more than 200 thousand and indirectly over 800 thousand individuals across the country. 

On October 15, 2019, a meeting has been organized with the organizations that have been given grants to date. More than 200 non-governmental organization representatives from 78 organizations have participated in the meeting. On October 19, 2019, the meeting with the theme “Sowing Season” was organized to share information and experiences among the 10 NGOs who have completed their projects in 2019 with the support from the Sabancı Foundation Grant Program. A book entitled “Sowing Season: Sabancı Foundation Grant Program Stories” was distributed to the participants and related organizations. 

Completed in 2019, the “Make Tomorrow” Project executed with the collaboration of the Technology Development Foundation of Turkey was among the projects supported within the scope of the Grant Programs. Within the scope of the projects which aim to contribute to the development of students and teachers who can exhibit the modern educational requirements of the world in the field of technology, 845 students from four provinces have developed 165 technology projects. 

In 2019, the Turkey’s Changemakers Program, highlighting the stories and efforts of individuals who make significant contributions to social development and inspire society in Turkey has completed its 10th season. Out of about 2,700 applications, 190 Changemakers were selected and videotaped since the Turkey’s Changemakers Program’s launch year of 2009. The videos were shared on the program’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube reaching more than 33 million views on domestic and international platforms. 

The program is focused on the themes of environment, education, economic development, health, social justice and civil participation and one example from among the Changemakers of the 10th season is Lisinia Nature Project, who works in the field of environment. Within the scope of the project, activities such as saving Burdur Lake, nature school, protection of native plant and animal species and environmentally-friendly farming practices are carried out. 

By bringing together non-governmental organizations, foundations, the private sector and public agency representatives with national and international experts, the Sabancı Foundation enables experience sharing regarding new approaches in philanthropy and civil society. In this context, the 12th of the “Sabancı Foundation’s Philanthropy Seminars” was organized on December 2, 2019, under the theme “Technologies for Life without Barriers - Empowerment through Education.” The main speaker of the seminar was Yetnebersh Nigussie, a human rights lawyer. Within the scope of the seminar moderated by Dr. Yankı Yazgan, a panel and an inclusive dance performance has been carried out. Additionally, participants were provided with the chance to experience innovative technologies in the exhibition area that contribute to life without barriers in the field of education. 

In 2019, the Sabancı Foundation continued to develop partnerships, follow up and contribute to the developments in the international arena in its focus areas. The Foundation continued to participate and contribute to the work in disability rights and gender at the European Foundation Center, which has been a member of since 1991 and served on the Board of Directors as the only foundation from Turkey between 2011-2016. The Foundation has also continued its mission of thought leadership with articles published in reputable international publications in the field of philanthropy. 


Over the past 45 years, the Foundation has built more than 120 institutions at 78 residential areas across Turkey including schools, student dormitories, healthcare facilities, cultural centers, sports facilities, libraries, teachers’ centers, social facilities and Sabancı University, which is one of the most significant investments of the Sabancı Foundation. 

In 2019, one of these institutions, Adana - Hacı Ömer Sabancı Cultural Center has been renovated and the Sabancı Chamber Theater has been added as a new hall to the center.

Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum and Dilek Sabancı Art Gallery has been operated first by Mardin Governorship and then by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism after being restorated and opened by Sabancı Foundation in 2009. The museum and the art gallery started to be operated by Sabancı Foundation in 2018 and have celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2019. In 2019, a photography exhibition named “From Document to Fiction, From Workshop to Museum - Photographs on Mardin” has been opened. Besides, the 1952 model Chevrolet automobile started to be exhibited on the entrance of the museum, which was the only automobile during its time in Mardin. The total number of visitors since the opening of the museum has reached more than 900 thousand people.


In 2019, the Foundation continued to support various culture and arts activities, including State Theaters - Sabancı International Adana Theater Festival and the International Ankara Music Festival. 

Having received support from Sabancı Foundation for 11 years, the Turkey Youth Philharmonic Orchestra was comprised of 76 young musicians chosen from 12 universities in 2019. After a three-week camp at Sabancı University, the ensemble performed seven concerts overseas and two concerts in Istanbul. 

Initiated in 1990 and supported by Sabancı Foundation since 2003, the Metropolis Ancient City excavation continued in 2019. Located in Izmir, Torbalı, Metropolis was opened to visitors as an archaeological site in 2015. The special Turkish bath structure discovered in 2019 shows that it has a very advanced heating system, and engineering work has been made which allows clean and dirty water to pass without contacting each other. 

In 2016, the Sabancı Foundation started a Short Film Competition with the motto “Short Film, Long Impact” to raise awareness on social issues through art, to highlight the creative perspective of cinema and to empower and encourage young talents. The award ceremony for the third Short Film Competition with the theme “Discrimination” was held in January 2019. Sabancı Foundation 4th Short Film Competition, was opened for application with a special preview held in Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum and was organized with the theme “Digital Loneliness.”

The other events supported in the area of culture-arts by the Sabancı Foundation have been 7th Dilek Sabancı Theater Festival, 6th Ayvalık AIMA Music Festival and 7th Accessible Film Festival.

Scholarships and Awards

Since its establishment, the Foundation has provided more than 48 thousand scholarships through the scholarship program in 45 years. In 2019, nearly 1,500 students benefited from Sabancı Foundation scholarships, with 300 being first-time beneficiaries. A well-attended scholarship meeting was held with the participation of graduated and current scholars of the Foundation in 2019 and mentorship relation has been established between the graduated scholars and the current ones.

Additionally, the Sabancı Foundation Awards Program recognized individuals with awards for their exceptional performance in education, sports, arts and culture both in Turkey and abroad. More than 1,150 awards have been provided to date


    Nevgül Bilsel Safkan


    Sabancı Center Kat:15
    34330 4. Levent - İstanbul


    0212-385 88 00

  • FAX

    0212-385 88 11

Go Website