Ark, formerly ARK (Absolute Returns for Kids), is an international children's charity based in the United Kingdom.
Ark is a registered charity under English law and is based in London. In 2013–14 it had a gross income of £12.95m.
Ark was co-founded by a group of hedge fund financiers including Paul Marshall and Ian Wace of Marshall Wace and Arpad Busson of EIM Group, who is founding chairman of its board of trustees.
Founded as Absolute Returns for Kids in 2002 by a group of businessmen in the alternative investment industry to improve the life chances of children, by creating high returns on philanthropic investment. Since 2014, the charity has been known as Ark.
Ark's programmes and goals focus on Health (sub-Saharan Africa), Education (UK, US, India) and Child Protection (Eastern Europe). In 2012, Ark began taking part in public-private partnerships in education in Africa.
The charity claims to apply robust development principles and sound business disciplines to all its programmes, including setting targets and emphasising close monitoring and evaluation to ensure high impact. Ark's trustees and patrons cover central and administrative costs, ensuring that 100% of donations go directly to deliver Ark's programmes for children.
Ark works in the areas of Education, Health and Child Protection.
Ark Schools runs Ark's UK education programme.
It runs a network of 34 academies. Ark Schools was created in 2004 to work with the Department for Education and local authorities to create new schools for inner cities through the academies programme.
Ark Schools’ aim is to help close the achievement gap between children from disadvantaged and more affluent backgrounds. Its academies focus on raising attainment with the aim of every pupil going into higher education when they complete school.Ark Academy, Brent
Ark Burlington Danes Academy, Hammersmith & Fulham
Ark Globe Academy, Southwark
Isaac Newton Academy, Redbridge
Ark John Keats Academy, Enfield
King Solomon Academy, Westminster
Ark has also developed two teacher leadership programmes in the UK and one in the United States, 'Future Leaders' and 'Teaching Leaders'.
In addition to its Chairman, Ian Wace, and Founding Chairman, Arpad Busson, ARK's Global Board of Trustees comprises: Paul Dunning, Lord Fink, Kevin Gundle, Paul Marshall, Jennifer Moses, Michael Platt, Blaine Tomlinson and Anthony Williams.
Ian Wace was appointed Chairman of ARK in October 2010, succeeding Lord Fink who remains a Trustee and a member of the Global Board.
Ark's Founding Chairman, Arpad Busson, is a member of the Global Board and is Chairman of Absolute Return for Kids, US, Inc.