about us

We aim to be a dynamic catalyst in development and culture, by executing projects that provide a robust and permanent boost to communities

The Aurora Foundation was created by Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir, landscape architect and her husband Ólafur Ólafsson,entrepreneur and investor. It was formally established on 23 January 2007, Ólafur’s 50th birthday.

The Aurora Foundation initial capital was ISK one billion (approx. 14M USD), which was donated by the founders.

The Foundation’s annual disposable income is interest income and other returns on initial capital, and other funds that the Foundation may acquire.

The Aurora Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates according to a confirmed Charter.

A five-person board is elected at the annual meeting. The board works in accordance with operating procedures that were approved by the board on 23 January 2008.

Aurora's highlights

the people

Building relationships and trust is an integral part of everything Aurora Foundation does. The people of the board believe that the power of cooperation generates the trust necessary for the projects to benefit future generations. They all share a common vision of the importance of creative thinking, patience in problem solving and cultural sensitivity.

Ólafur Ólafsson / Chairman of the board

Ólafur is the current chairman and co-founder of the Aurora Foundation. An infallible optimist, he is no stranger to challenging projects. Ever since first becoming interested in Africa's developmental challenges as a member of the board of the Red Cross in Iceland, he has been committed to supporting educational and cultural projects. After decades of working closely with people across the world, it is his ability to connect people, create synergies and develop opportunities that best defines Ólafur’s unique contribution to Aurora.

Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir / Board member

As the first chairman and the co-founder of the Aurora Foundation it is only natural that the foundation progressed alongside Ingibjörg's way of thinking. Having worked in the creative industries all her professional life, as a landscape architect and partner at Landmótun, she is committed to the idea that creative solutions to global challenges can instigate new ways of thinking. She gained her first insight into the field of philanthropy as a board member of UNICEF in Iceland. This experience shaped her firm belief that by constantly striving to be creative, honest and compassionate and by making positive, incremental changes to whatever is within our power, we can move mountains.

Regína Bjarnadóttir / Executive Director

Before joining Aurora Foundation Regina was the Head of Research at Arion Bank, Iceland. Her work experience includes being a macroeconomic specialist for the Central Bank of Iceland, a programme officer for UNDP in Guyana, and a consultant for CRU Strategies in London. Regina was the president of the National Committee of UN Women in Iceland 2008–2011. A compassionate perfectionist, she has fought for the causes she cares deeply about, such as gender issues, youth development and the sustainable use of natural resources throughout her career.

Birta Ólafsdóttir / Board Member

With her considerable experience and insight into the creative industries, Birta is extremely focused on the cross genre dialogue that has been so important for the realisation of Aurora's projects. She is an energetic and goal oriented person with work experience as a production manager, creative director and creative concept developer for various projects associated with the Iceland Design Center, STEiNUNN fashion label and Festir real estate developer.

Stefán Ingi Stefánsson / Board Member

Stefán has been with the Aurora Foundation since 2014. He is a highly dedicated, creative and results- driven individual. These characteristics were evident when he first approached Aurora’s founders to set up the Icelandic National Committee for UNICEF, of which he was also its first Executive Director. Stefán is currently working for the UN in Latina America and the Caribbean where he leads the partnerships work for the region for one of the lead UN agencies.

Ómar Berg Torfason / Board Member

Ómar’s contribution to the board is to provide valuable insights into the world of international trade and development. He has a M.Sc. degree in Data Mining and Knowledge Management, which perfectly aligns with his personal qualities of accuracy, thoroughness and attention to detail. Currently, Ómar runs his own business, UNIZIAA, where he specialises in decision modelling, technology and sustainability, all of which is integral to the work of the Aurora Foundation.