Aurora fund allocates 111, 5 million ISK to projects in Iceland and in Africa

The Board of the Aurora Fund has allocated ISK 111.5 million in support of six projects in the field of humanitarian aid, education and culture in Iceland as well as the African countries of Sierra Leone and Mozambique. Four of these projects have not been Fund beneficiaries before.
This is the second time the Aurora Fund allocates grants from its funds. Aurora was founded in January 2007 by Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir, landscape architect, and her husband, Ólafur Ólafsson, a member of the board of Samskip and Alfesca.

The foundation was initially capitalised by ISK one billion and its annual contributions will derive from interest and other profits from the initial funding, in addition to any money that may be donated. The primary aim of the foundation is to enhance and strengthen cultural and humanitarian activities in Iceland and in the developing countries. It should be mentioned that most of the Fund’s assets were protected during the economic collapse, and its Board will continue to work in the spirit it was intended.

The Icelandic Red Cross will receive ISK 20 million in support of three projects:

Aurora Board Reasoning:
The Icelandic Red Cross is highly respected for its extensive humanitarian aid –  both locally and abroad – where professionalism and selflessness are always at the forefront. The Aurora Foundation decided to assist those who suffer as a result of the economic crisis in Iceland, and collaboration with the Icelandic Red Cross seemed the best way to approach such a goal. The three projects, that Aurora is supporting this year, all serve different groups in need of assistance.

The Newly founded Aurora Design Fund is a three year experimental project, receiving ISK 25 million per year to support designers getting their work noticed and to assist in product development, primary production, and marketing, both locally and internationally. The Foundation will also communicate knowledge in the field of design and support collaboration between designers and the general economy. A Fund such as this one has never before existed in Iceland.
The Aurora Design Fund will soon open the website www.honnunarsjodur.is where further information can be reached.

Aurora Board Reasoning:
There is a clear need for a design fund in Iceland, to support promising designer as well as to empower the design grassroots and be a platform for ideas and creative thought in the field. The board of Aurora hopes that the new fund will encourage the growth of Icelandic design and that it will become one of the foundations for renaissance in business.
Hugi Guðmundsson, composer, will receive ISK 3 million for the webpage MusMap.com in support of an international cultural project, meant to empower classical music and reach new audiences through the internet.

Aurora Board Reasoning:
MusMap.com is the result of a pioneering spirit of the sort that Aurora Foundations wishes to encourage and strengthen. It is a unique project, especially in that it helps to introduce classical music to young people. Hugi Guðmundsson has a clear vision for the future and even though the project is still relatively small, it has all the means to become a driving force and a large influence in the world of classical music.
UNICEF in Iceland receives ISK 3, 5 million to support an award winning child-to-child radio programme organised by UNICEF with children and young people in Mozambique. The radio programme focuses on peer tutoring, empowering oneself, and the participation of children. The National Radio of Iceland, Rás 1, is now working on a similar radio show for children in Iceland, also in collaboration with UNICEF, honouring the 20 year anniversary of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Aurora Board Reasoning:
The project in Mozambique is a fascinating example of peer tutoring where children and teenagers use radio to conduct a discussion on their own premises regarding problems they face. UNICEF and the National Radio’s plan on starting a radio programme in Iceland built on the Mozambique project is very interesting, but the goal is to create a connection between the young people in these two countries and thereby uniting their two different worlds of experience.

UNICEF’s educational program in Sierra Leone will receive ISK 40 million continued support to create a child-friendly educational system and to build schools, keeping the needs of girls especially in mind. The project began last year, promising Aurora’s continued support for a total of ISK 120 million, to be paid out in three parts between 2008-2010.
The project in Sierra Leone is Aurora Foundation’s biggest project to date, and has already trained over a hundred teachers. Nine schools are currently being constructed in the Kono district, with proper water and drainage systems, furniture and teaching utilities.

Kraumur, Aurora’s music fund will receive ISK 20 million to support aspiring musicians in their art and the marketing thereof. Kraumur was founded last year,  at the behest of the Aurora Foundation, with a promise of ISK 50 million to be divided in three payments from 2008-2010. The Aurora fund decided to add another 5 million to the expected 15 million contribution this year, since Kraumur has proven itself to be sorely needed, and its presence of enormous value.
Kraumur’s operations are extensive and flourishing, and the fund has contributed widely. It has supported concerts and tours both in Iceland and abroad, assisted in marketing and created a new award, the Kraumur Award, among other things. Further information can be found on Kraumur’s lively webpage:  http://www.kraumur.is