Sabancı Foundation

  • We support innovative education through Sabancı University.
  • We empower non‑governmental organizations by offering 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 providing 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.

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 such as schools, dormitories, teachers’ centers, medical facilities, sports complexes, cultural centers and social facilities in 78 districts all around Turkey in 47 years since its foundation. Since 2007, the Foundation has supported 183 projects carried out by non‑governmental organizations. In the field of culture and the arts, long‑term supports have been provided, one example being State Theaters - Sabancı International Adana Theater Festival, which has been supported for 23 years.

Having provided 51,000 scholarships over the last 47 years, the Sabancı Foundation encourages success with awards in the fields of education, the arts and sport.

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 provided by the Sabancı Family and Sabancı Group, and revenues generated from the Foundation’s various assets.

The Foundation’s primary areas of activity consist of education, social change, culture, and the arts. The Foundation focuses particularly on women, young people and people with disabilities within these activities.

The Sabancı Foundation has memberships in 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 Disability and Gender Thematic Networks, a Zero Project impact transfer partner and a Member of Foundations 20 Platform and the US Council on Foundations (COF).

Social Change

The Sabancı Foundation supports the projects carried out by leading non‑governmental organizations with grants to seek solutions to today’s complex social issues and which have 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 the 15 years since 2007, support was extended to 183 projects, directly reaching more than 225,000 people (over 900,000 indirectly) nationwide.

On 6 October 2021, the meeting under the theme “Sowing Season” was organized to share information and experiences among the eight NGOs which had completed their projects in 2020 with the support from the Sabancı Foundation Grant Program. The book, entitled “The Sowing Season: Sabancı Foundation Grant Program Stories” was also shared online.

In 2021, the Sabancı Foundation also embarked on a new substantial impact project to support young women who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). The multi‑stakeholder project, which will be long‑term and has the potential to be rolled out throughout Turkey, will be implemented by Sabancı Foundation and UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and Social Services and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security with the financial support of the Sabancı Foundation. Preparations for the project activities including work plans, the digital portal, the baseline study, and the needs assessment analysis got underway in 2021.

In 2021, the Turkey’s Changemakers Program, highlighting the stories and efforts of individuals who make significant contributions to social development and inspire society in Turkey completed its 12th season. Of the 10,000 applications, 200 Changemakers have been selected and videotaped since the launch of the Turkey’s Changemakers Program in 2009. The videos were shared on the program’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels reaching more than 38 million views on domestic and international platforms.

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 14th “Sabancı Foundation’s Philanthropy Seminar” was held on 14 December 2021, under the theme “The Role of Philanthropy in the PostPandemic World”.

The World’s biggest women’s festival Women of the World (WOW) Festival was organized for the first time in Turkey on between 5-7 March 2021 with the support of Sabancı Foundation and British Council. Held in Istanbul with the theme “Being a Woman in the City”, the online festival reached more than 100,000 views in three days. 

First published in 2020, a series of children’s books about animal rights was followed in 2021 by a new set on environmental issues. Telling stories about a rabbit called Papuduk, the books have been distributed free of charge to NGOs working with children and to state schools located in disadvantaged areas. In addition, related workshops with children are held both online and face‑to‑face.

In 2021, the Sabancı Foundation also continued to develop partnerships and follow up activities and contribute to the developments in the international arena in its focus areas. In 2021, The Foundation became a member of Foundations 20 Platform focusing on climate issues as the first and only member from Turkey. The General Manager of the Sabancı Foundation, Nevgül Bilsel Safkan, took on the role of Zero Project Ambassador in 2021 for a term of 4 years, as part of the Zero Project Conference bringing together innovative implementations in the area of disability from different countries.

Following up the best practices in the area of accessibility, Sabancı Foundation added new work in this area in 2021. The Foundation leaded the work of making “Past, Present, Istanbul” Exhibition in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum accessible to people with hearing and visual disabilities with the contributions of Accessible Everything team, who are a Changemaker selected in Sabancı Foundation Changemakers Program.

The Foundation has also continued to participate and contribute to the work in disability rights and gender networks at the European Foundation Center and its mission of thought leadership with articles published in reputable international publications in the field of philanthropy.


Over the past 47 years, the Foundation has built more than 120 institutions in 78 districts throughout 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 undertaken by the Sabancı Foundation.

In 2021, 24 of these institutions received repair and maintenance and other kinds of support from the Foundation.

In 2021, Hacı Ömer Sabancı Technical Students Dormitory in Adana was renovated. A historical building in the Kars province was renovated and transformed into a girls’ dormitory. The Türkan Sabancı Bebek Park was renewed in cooperation with the Istanbul Municipality.

The building processes of two Vocational and Technical High Schools in Istanbul and Hatay has got underway. The schools will be built by the Sabancı Foundation with donations from Enerjisa.

The Sakıp Sabancı Anatolian High School gained IB school status in 2021, while the Social Emotional Development Support Program continued in the school for a third year. The Dilek Sabancı Vocational and Technical High School was converted into a project school in 2021 following the signing of a protocol with the National Education Directorate.

Culture & the Arts

The Sabancı Foundation has extended long‑term support in the area of culture and the arts. The Foundation has been supporting State Theater through the Sabancı International Adana Theater Festival for the last 23 years, the Metropolis Ancient City excavations for the last 18 years, the International Ankara Music Festival for 14 years and the Turkey Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for the last 13 years.

Initiated in 2016, the Sabancı Foundation Short Film Competition under the title of “A Short Film, a Long Impact” continued to raise awareness of social issues through art, while highlighting the creative perspective of cinema and offering empowerment and encouragement to young talent. The awards ceremony for the fifth Short Film Competition under the title of “Changing Climate, Changing Lives” was held in January 2021. Applications for the 6th Sabancı Foundation Short Film Competition also started to be accepted in 2021 under the theme of “New Jobs in the New World”. In 2021, a social impact jury was included in the competition.

Scholarships and Awards

Since its establishment, the Foundation has provided 51,000 scholarships through the scholarship program over the course of 47 years. Sabancı Foundation scholarships have extended support to around 1,500 students, 350 of whom were first‑time beneficiaries.

Additionally, the Sabancı Foundation Awards Program has recognized individuals with awards for their exceptional performance in education, sports, arts, and culture both in Turkey and abroad. A total of 1,220 awards have been given to date.

In 2021, Sakıp Sabancı Sports Awards were given to athletes won gold medals representing Turkey in the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.


    Nevgül Bilsel Safkan


    Sabancı Center Kat:15
    34330 4. Levent - İstanbul


    0212-385 88 00

  • FAX

    0212-385 88 11

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