The official name of the Foundation is Siemenpuu - Foundation for Social Movements' Cooperation sr (in Finnish Siemenpuu - kansalaisliikkeiden yhteistyösäätiö sr). In short Siemenpuu Foundation, Siemenpuu meaning 'Mother tree'. As stated in the organisation's charter, the objective of the Siemenpuu Foundation is to:
- promote environmental protection and defend human rights
- advance people's possibilities for political participation and make political decision making more democratic and transparent in the whole world
- advocate intercontinental cooperation between civil movements, in particular environmental and alter-globalist ones
- deepen the public understanding of the possibilities and limits of civic participation, of building civil society in different parts of the world, and of the impact of institutional funding to the inner dynamics of civil movements
- provide support in particular to civil movements, NGOs and research centres which operate in the Third World and which promote environmental protection, human rights, social justice, the preservation of biological and cultural diversity and/or the democratisation of society, or which help communities in surviving and resisting the negative impacts of globalisation.
The Siemenpuu Foundation was founded in 1998, at the same time with its sister foundations Abilis, which supports disability work in developing countries, and KIOS, the Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights. After a lively debate between NGOs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, a decision was made to establish these three foundations. The aim was to ensure flexible and small-scale directing of Finnish development funds to NGOs and civil movements working with human rights, disability and environmental issues in the South.
The Finnish environmental organisations that founded Siemenpuu monitor the Foundation's activities through their representatives in the Foundation's executive board and council. Voluntary work is crucial to Siemenpuu's activities as well, as volunteers are active in working groups for funding activities and thematic advocacy work.