Person

Alan M. Parker

Born:

March 31, 1939

Nationality:

British

Occupation:

Businessman and philanthropist

Alan M. Parker is a British businessman and major support of left-of-center environmentalist projects and the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road Initiative. Parker made his fortune primarily through selling his shared in the DFS Group, a Hong Kong-based retailer that operates luxury duty-free shops in airports and resorts. He is the founder of the Oak Foundation, and he and his family comprise the Foundation’s board of trustees.

Business Career

In 1966, Parker, an accountant, became a partner in the DFS Group, then a fledgling company that needed assistance navigating international tax law. He was brought into the company by Charles “Chuck” Feeney. Feeney later founded Atlantic Philanthropies, a Bermuda-based foundation that funded the advocacy group Health Care for America Now (HCAN) which drove the campaign to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [1] The two were among a small group of early investors in DFS, including George Soros and Julian Robertson[2]

According to the New York Times, Parker played a central role in designing the “tangled web” of offshore companies and subsidiaries behind DFS Group’s financials, allowing the company to avoid as many taxes as legally possible. [3]

After nearly three decades of expansion, DFS Group became a multibillion-dollar company and Parker’s 20% share became worth hundreds of millions. In 1997, after fierce debates regarding Hawaii business strategy, Parker sold his shares to LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods conglomerate, for $840 million. [4] At the time, Parker was also the largest partner in Odyssey Partners L.P., a leveraged buyout fund. [5]

Oak Foundation

According to Education Week, a K-12 news journal, Parker founded the Oak Foundation with the interest on his DFS Group shares. [6] Shortly after the sale of his shares, Parker and his wife, Jette, moved to Geneva, Switzerland to expand the philanthropic reach of the Foundation. Parker‘s Oak Foundation USA alone gave out $430 million in grants between 1999 and 2016, according to FoundationSearch. The Oak Foundation gives over $200 million a year across all of its offices. [7] A significant portion of these grants are dedicated to left-of-center environmentalist and “social justice” causes.

Through the Oak Foundation, Parker has given millions to left-of-center climate activist organizations like Greenpeace, the World Resources Institute, Environmental Law Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund. [8] With these grants, the Oak Foundation and Parker have also positioned themselves as major supporters of the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road Initiative, a plan that foreign policy analysts have critiqued as Chinese geopolitical maneuvering disguised as climate activism.  [9]

The Oak Foundation has also given to the Tides Foundation, a noted left-of-center “dark money” group. [10]

Personal Life

Alan Parker is married to Jette Parker and they have four children: Caroline, Natalie, Kristian, and Christopher. Every member of the family sits on the Oak Foundation’s board of trustees. [11] The Parker family children were encouraged to give grants at ages as early as 15 years old and were given the option to sit on the Oak Foundation’s board of trustees after turning 25. [12]

References

  1. Smith, Ben. “Funding the left, from Bermuda.” POLITICO. May 17, 2011. Accessed June 08, 2017. http://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2011/05/funding-the-left-from-bermuda-035903. ^
  2. Strom, Stephanie. “LVMH to Buy Duty-Free Empire for $2.47 Billion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, October 30, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/30/business/lvmh-to-buy-duty-free-empire-for-2.47-billion.html. ^
  3. Strom, Stephanie. “LVMH to Buy Duty-Free Empire for $2.47 Billion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, October 30, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/30/business/lvmh-to-buy-duty-free-empire-for-2.47-billion.html. ^
  4. Nordheimer, Jon. “Millions of Dollars Couldn’t Keep Dfs Group Together,” March 12, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/12/business/millions-of-dollars-couldn-t-keep-dfs-group-together.html. ^
  5. Strom, Stephanie. “LVMH to Buy Duty-Free Empire for $2.47 Billion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, October 30, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/30/business/lvmh-to-buy-duty-free-empire-for-2.47-billion.html. ^
  6. Samuels, Christina A. “Oak Foundation Aims to Aid Those With ‘Learning Differences’.” Education Week. Education Week, October 27, 2015. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/oak-foundation-aims-to-aid-those-with-learning-differences/2015/10. ; “Oak Foundation.” EFC. Accessed April 16, 2021. https://www.efc.be/member-post/oak-foundation-2/. ^
  7. Keidan, Charles. “Inside Oak Foundation – an Interview with Christopher Parker.” Alliance magazine, October 23, 2018. https://www.alliancemagazine.org/interview/inside-the-oak-foundation/. ^
  8. ”Grant Database.” Oak Foundation. Accessed May 09, 2019. http://oakfnd.org/grant-database.html. ^
  9. Devine, Shane. “Oak Foundation Chose Silk Road over New World.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, September 10, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/oak-foundation-choose-silk-road-over-new-world/. ^
  10. ”Grant Database.” Oak Foundation. Accessed May 09, 2019. http://oakfnd.org/grant-database.html. ^
  11. “Meet Our Team Members.” Oak Foundation, March 1, 2021. https://oakfnd.org/values-mission-history/meet-our-leadership-team/. ^
  12. Keidan, Charles. “Inside Oak Foundation – an Interview with Christopher Parker.” Alliance magazine, October 23, 2018. https://www.alliancemagazine.org/interview/inside-the-oak-foundation/. ^
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