Sabanci Foundation
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1974-1983 1984-1993 1994-2003 2004-2013 2014-.... 2004-2013



The Foundation starts a restructuring process in accordance with the contemporary philanthropy approach adopted in the world. Since 2006, Sabanci Foundation adopts a strategy that embraces "strategic philanthropy" by supporting projects to promote social development. The Foundation also develops effective programs by closely following the execution and evaluating the results of these projects.

Grant Programs that support active participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in social life, United Nations Joint Program that promotes gender equality, Turkey's Changemakers Program that aims to create social awareness and Philanthropy Seminars are all pioneering works launched in line with the Foundation's new strategy.

Sabanci Foundation's projects that focus on women, youth and persons with disabilities increase awareness and create value for society, which brings international recognition and prestige to the Foundation.

The success of the Foundation in the implementation of its strategies has been recognized with many awards received at the international arena, including Raymond Georis Innovative Philanthropist Award, Clinton Global Citizen Award, David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award and Business Initiative Directions International Gold Star for Quality Award as well as being elected as a Member of the Board of Directors of the European Foundation Centre.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

In the 2004-2013 period, Sabanci Foundation continues to build new institutions to be proud of such as Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum and the Dilek Sabanci Art Gallery that bring a fresh breath to Mardin's cultural life.

During the same period, the Foundation starts to support Mehtap Ar Children's Theater, International Ankara Music Festival and Turkish Youth Philharmonic Orchestra as its outstanding efforts in the field of culture and arts.

By the end of 2013, the 40 th year of its establishment, hands of the Foundation stretch out to every corner of Turkey. Total number of institutions built by Sabanci Foundation exceeds 120 in 78 locations.

The number of scholarships awarded by the Foundation during 40 years reaches 40 thousand.

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Following the passing of Sakip Sabanci, who has a special place in the hearts of the nation with his benevolent personality besides his outstanding achievements in business, Guler Sabanci assumes the position of the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Foundation.

In 2004, the 30th anniversary of Sabanci Foundation, Dilek Sabanci Vocational Rehabilitation and Business Center for the Disabled commissions in Izmit to help citizens, who became disabled in 1999 during Marmara earthquake or due to other reasons, in their efforts to become productive professionals.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

In the 5th year of its establishment, Sabanci University offers education to 2,500 students, about 50% receiving scholarships, and employment opportunities to 432 people.


Kandilli High School for Girls, which became unusable due to a fire in 1986, is restored by Sabanci Foundation with the support of the Governorship of Istanbul; and begins to serve as Sakip Sabanci Kandilli Education and Culture Center-Adile Sultan Palace.

Sakip Sabanci had followed the restoration work of the historic building closely; the recovery of the building is one of the last social responsibility projects that he entrusted to the Foundation and the country.

From this year onward, "Sakip Sabanci Lifetime Achievement Award" is presented at the opening ceremony of Sabanci International Adana Theater Festival to pay gratitude and respect to masters who have made significant contributions to the development of the art of drama.

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The Foundation adds a new educational institution to its portfolio of institutions bestowed to country with Sabanci Dormitory for Girls in Kars.

In 2005, Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum hosts "Picasso in Istanbul" exhibition; art lovers in Istanbul have a chance to see 135 works covering all periods of Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

In 2006, Sabanci Foundation enters into a restructuring process. Moving its headquarters from Adana to Istanbul, the Foundation revises its strategy in line with contemporary philanthropy approach in the world and identifies new activity areas accordingly.

One of the Foundation's new practices is the launch of grant programs in six provinces within the scope of "United Nations Joint Program to Promote and Protect the Human Rights of Women and Girls" to promote gender equality in Turkey.

The Foundation provides support to the Preschool Nutrition Support project launched by Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV) in 2006.

Year 2006 is of special significance in the history of the Foundation as being the the first year of commissioning of Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum and Dilek Sabanci Art Gallery. The Foundation initiates the restoration of the building, previously used as Cavalry Barracks and Tax Bureau, in order to contribute to the promotion of the city's cultural heritage, accumulated throughout the centuries.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

The Foundation starts to support Art Theater, a children's theater founded by Mehtap Ar, which will visit every corner of Turkey in order to reach children and a wider audience.

While the excitement of "Picasso in Istanbul" exhibition is still reverberating, Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum hosts the works of Rodin, one of the great pioneers of the modern era in sculpture.

In 2006, Husnu Pacacioglu is assigned as the General Manager of the Foundation.


In 2007, the short name of Haci Omer Sabanci Foundation, VAKSA, is replaced by "Sabanci Foundation" along with the process of identifying new strategies.

One of the activities that the Foundation launched in 2007 is Sabanci Foundation Philanthropy Seminars, with the aim of creating a platform for sharing information about new approaches in the field of philanthropy and civil society. The first Philanthropy Seminar is organized under the title of "Global Perspectives on the Changing Role of Foundations".

Gender education program "Purple Certificate" begins to be provided to high school teachers by Sabanci University academicians.

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With number of students approaching 3,000, Sabanci University becomes a gateway to abroad for its students as a result of its collaborations with international universities.

Sabanci University takes its place among the top 500 universities in the world even before eight years have passed since its foundation.

The number of scholarships granted by Sabanci Foundation exceeds 30,000.

The Foundation's deep-rooted support for arts shows itself in the support given to art education with the opening of Selcuk University Dilek Sabanci Conservatory.

Sabanci Foundation supports "Computer Aided Education" project, launched within the framework of "100% Support for Education" campaign, by donating 1,260 computers to 60 schools in Adana.

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Specifically designed by Sabanci Foundation in collaboration with Temsa and aimed at providing personal development and cultural services to the citizens living in remote areas, "Community Service Bus" is put into service in Hakkari.

Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum starts to exhibit works, photographs and documents reflecting different periods of the life of multi-faceted artist Abidin Dino.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

Sabanci Foundation assumes a sector-leading role as the first foundation that started a "Social Development Grant Program" in Turkey. The program supports projects developed by non-governmental organizations that promote active participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in all aspects of social life.

Sabanci Foundation provides executives working at the Foundation's institutions with a sequence of trainings named "Executive Development Program" at Sabanci University.

The opening of Sabanci International Adana Theater Festival, which has become a tradition in subsequent years, is realized with an open air show and with a high participation of people of Adana.

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Sabanci Foundation starts to support the International Ankara Music Festival as an Honorary Member. The Festival, which is a member of the European Festivals Association, brings the music-lovers of the capital city together every year.

In addition, Mehtap Ar Children's Theater, which is supported by the Foundation, travels 15 thousand kilometers in Anatolia and reaches almost 200 thousand children with its play named "Love Needs Effort".

Sabanci Foundation gives prizes to 6 selected projects out of 131 project applications within the scope of "Best Practices in Participatory Local Development Conference", co-organized by Dunya Newspaper, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Turkey Office, the National Innovation Initiative, TuSIAD-Sabanci University Competition Forum and Sabanci University Istanbul Policy Center.

The gold medal winner athlete at the Paralympic Olympic Games held in Beijing is rewarded by Sabanci Foundation.

In addition, Turkan Sabanci Bebek Park is renovated with the donation made by Turkan Sabanci and opened to the public.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years
Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

In 2009, the year of its 35th anniversary, Sabanci Foundation is rightfully proud of creating a value of over $1 billion for Turkey with 120 institutions in 78 locations and providing scholarships amounting to more than 34 thousand.

Bestowed to the city of Mardin, known as the cradle of civilizations, as the will of Sakip Sabanci, Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum and Dilek Sabanci Art Gallery are opened to the public. Visited by 30 thousand people in the first three months, the museum takes its place among monuments of pride of Sabanci Foundation.

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Sabanci Foundation again launches a breakthrough project, "Turkey's Changemakers", aimed at encouraging and inspiring the society by promoting the stories and efforts of people who contribute to the social development in Turkey.

Identifying persons with disabilities as one of its main program areas, Sabanci Foundation becomes a founding member of the European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability aimed at promoting the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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In 2009, The Foundation also starts supporting Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Turkey, which was established under the leadership of renowned conductor Cem Mansur.

Sabanci Foundation's efforts continue to be recognized by the international community. Guler Sabanci, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, is awarded with Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

In 2010, Sabanci Foundation becomes a member of The Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC), a network formed by leading philanthropic families across the world to fight against global poverty and social injustice.

Sabanci Foundation starts to support "Child Brides" project, carried by Flying Broom Women Communication and Research Association to put child marriages on public agenda.

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Enerjisa Bandirma Science High School and Dormitory opens for service.

School administrators from the provinces of Izmir, Kars, Nevsehir, Sanliurfa, Trabzon and Van attend to the School Leadership Training Program, organized by the Education Reform Initiative with the support of Sabanci Foundation.

Also in 2010, the Foundation provides support to Best Practices in Education Conference, organized every year by the Education Reform Initiative.

In 2010, Sabanci Foundation launched the School Managers Development Program by including a gender education module to its Management Development Program that was set up in 2008 in order to improve the management capacity of the executives in charge of the institutions made available to public service by the Foundation.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

Sabanci University establishes "Gender and Women's Studies Forum" to gather all the research and activities done so far and to be conducted in the future on gender, women's rights and women's studies under one roof.

In 2010, Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum Dilek Sabanci Art Gallery hosts "Abidin Dino in Mardin" exhibition.


By the end of the year 2011, through 20 projects supported within the scope of Social Development Grant Program ongoing since 2008, a difference has been made in the lives of 60 thousand people who cannot benefit from equal opportunities in 71 provinces.

Metin Sabanci Schools, commissioned to give education to children with Cerebral Palsy who have one or more disabilities and to children with learning difficulties for various reasons, opens to service.

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Sabanci University Nanotechnology Center becomes operational and sets an example to Turkey in terms of giving research and development the value it deserves.

The most remarkable development in 2011 for Sabanci Foundation becomes its election to the membership of the Board of Directors of the European Foundation Centre as one of the highest rated two foundations among 42 foundations competing for the membership selections.

Also in 2011, Guler Sabanci, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, receives the Clinton Global Citizen Award given by Clinton Global Initiative in recognition of her contributions to promoting the human rights of women and girls.

Zerrin Koyunsagan becomes the new General Manager of the Foundation following Husnu Pacacioglu, who has been serving successfully since 2006.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years
Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years

Sabanci Foundation starts a three-year program to support the "United Nations Joint Program for Promoting the Human Rights of Women" to be implemented in 11 cities. The Program is a continuation of the Joint Program aimed at improving women's rights and implemented between the years 2006 and 2010.

Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary and 400th year of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands with two exciting exhibitions: "Where Darkness Meets Light... Rembrandt and His Contemporaries - The Golden Age of Dutch Art" and "Monet's Garden". Also, The Arts of Book and Calligraphy Collection is reorganized in line with the contemporary approaches in exhibition, meeting traditional arts and technology.

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Constructed in Eskisehir with the donation of Cimsa, Sabanci Planetarium is launched in 2012. Planetarium is the largest planetarium in Turkey with state-of-the-art technology.

Guler Sabanci, the Chairman of the Sabanci Foundation Board of Trustees becomes a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which aims to bring effective solutions to alleviate poverty, create a cleaner environment, and increase access to healthcare and education.

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The videos of Sabanci Foundation's social development program, "Turkey's Changemakers", reach 2.5 million viewers via the internet and social media at its third season.


Sabanci International Adana Theater Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary. Hosting more than 5,000 local and international performers and 74 international theater groups from 38 different countries since its foundation, the Festival turns into an event that has reached more than 80 thousand spectators all over Turkey, not just only art lovers in Adana.

Having put significant effort to drive attention to "Child Brides" issue before, Sabanci Foundation hosts "We Can End Child Marriage Together: Sharing Lessons From Other Countries" meetings organized by "Girls Not Brides" platform in 2013.

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In the 6 th year of the Social Development Grant Program, Sabanci Foundation reaches out to 300 thousand people directly and indirectly in 72 provinces through 37 projects. Including United Nations Joint Program and the Turkey's Changemakers Program, the number of people that Sabanci Foundation reaches out is close to 2.5 million.

In 2013, Sabanci Foundation Chairman of the Board of Trustees Guler Sabanci is honored with the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, which is presented to exceptional leaders who work for social development. In addition, Sabanci Foundation receives International Gold Star for Quality Award, which is presented to leading institutions by Business Initiative Directions (BID), an expert international organization in promoting quality culture and sustainable development.

The Foundation is proud of sharing the stories of 100 Changemakers with the society by the end of the fourth season of its "Turkey's Changemakers" program.

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Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum hosts "Anish Kapoor in Istanbul" exhibition, containing mostly not previously exhibited stone works of Anish Kapoor, a living legend of the contemporary art.

In 2013, the construction of Haci Omer Sabanci Primary and Secondary Education School, which started education in 1980 but decided to be rebuilt in 2011 by taking into consideration the reconstruction of the province following the Van earthquake, is completed and the school starts education. In addition, Sabanci Mardin Dormitory for Girls is added among the institutions bestowed by the Foundation.

Since the day of its establishment, investing in the future of young people is one of the main tasks of Sabanci Foundation. The total number of scholarships provided to successful students who need financial support reaches 40 thousand.

Sabanci Foundation | 40 Years