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About Us

Wilstar is a non-profit venture which is focused on social impact and supporting people who initiate sustainable lasting change to create a better world.

Our History

Wilstar is the nonprofit social impact arm of the Arne and Lise Wilhelmsen family office and a space in which the Wilhelmsen family feel they can most effectively contribute to our society. Awilhelmsen is an investment company located in Oslo, Norway. The Company was founded in 1939 and is now involved in the following business areas: Cruise (RCCL), Real Estate (Linstow), Shipping & Offshore (Awilco), Capital (Awilhelmsen Capital) and Retail (Power). The Awilhelmsen company is owned by the Arne Wilhelmsen family.

The Awilhelmsen group of companies and the family has over the years been involved in philanthropy and social impact both directly and indirectly through their partners. There has always been a clear family philosophy that Awilhelmsen should create value for society as well as pursuing its commercial goals. Historically the family has responded to many philanthropic requests and has been very proud of the impact they have managed to create around the world. Wilstar has been founded out of the family’s desire to have real and lasting social impact for future generations.

It is Wilstar’s vision to support

  • Empowerment - Strengthen our communities for a more sustainable future
  • Education and Economic Equality - Lay the foundations for a more inclusive society
  • Action on Climate Change - Leave our environment and the planet in a better condition for future generations

How We Work

Wilstar creates impact by supporting social entrepreneurs and businesses that provide sustainable solutions to the world´s greatest social and environmental challenges and by working in partnership with other likeminded organisations.

In addition to the programmes in our portifolio, other initiatives associated with the Arne and Lise Wilhelmsen Family Include: 

THE LISE WILHELMSEN ART AWARD PROGRAMME is a bi-annual art programme and prize which is the result of a partnership between the Arne Wilhelmsen family and the Henie Onstad Art Center. With a prize amount of $ 100,000, it is the largest prize of its kind in Norway and among the most significant art award programmes internationally. The most recent award recipient, Guadalupe Maravilla, was announced in the autumn of 2021 and will be followed by an exhibition at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in 2022.

Other Philanthropic initiatives in the AWilhelmsen group of companies or associated with AWilhelmsen Include: 

A. WILHELMSEN FOUNDATION was created in 1999 in memory of the Awilhelmsen companies’ founder, Anders Wilhelmsen and his wife Aslaug Wilhelmsen. The object of the Foundation is to support socially beneficial work within research and education by providing financial assistance and awarding scholarships to Norwegian and foreign students to attend Norwegian universities and colleges, particularly within the fields of economics and business management.

LINSTOW AS is a real estate investment company 100 % owned by Awilhelmsen. Linstow has a long-standing relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities Latvia, an organization whose primary mission is the of health and well-being of Latvia’s children. The organization has set up a mobile health care center program which aims to; make medical services for families with children affordable, and provide regular free primary medical care as well as provide timely appointments with qualified professionals.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN (RCCL) is the world’s second largest cruise company. Awilhelmsen was one of three founders of RCCL in 1968 and continues to be the single largest shareholder. Over the years, RCCL has developed several important initiatives and projects;

Through ‘Wishes at Sea’, established in 2000, in collaboration with Make-A-Wish, ® RCCL helps make wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. RCCL is also the sole sponsor of the Florida Governor’s Points of Light Award program since 2000 and has regularly given out yearly merit-based college scholarships.

In 2003 the Royal Caribbean Arts Grant was established to encourage and promote young, talented Norwegian artists. Since inception 26 artists have received the grant, contributing to their on-going development.

RCCL is highly committed to Marine and Wildlife preservation. In addition to launching the comprehensive environmental protection program Save the Waves and the Ocean Fund grant program they recently formed a significant Ocean Conservation Partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2016.

Who We Are

Paulina Rider Wilhelmsen

FOUNDER / Board Member

– I have always been passionate about the possibility of being able to contribute positively to humanity leading often with my heart, engaging since I was a child in small philanthropic efforts in many forms.

With Wilstar I hope to unite and guide our family’s efforts and thereby be able to contribute on a larger scale in driving positive change both socially, environmentally and economically.

I sincerely also hope that Wilstar will be able to inspire our future family leaders and other families leaders to engage and become passionate about the opportunity they have to be able to create sustainable change and impact peoples quality of life. This will also hopefully contribute value to their own lives.

Solveig A. Wilhelmsen

CO-FOUNDER / Board Member

– The core mission of engaging in education, human rights and the environment has been central to my family for generations and I am thrilled to formalise those family values through Wilstar. I am so excited to see how we can impact real lives in real ways.

Francesca Wilhelmsen

CO-FOUNDER / Board Member

– I have been engaged in environmental advocacy issues for many years and also involved with small communities in transition where it is possible to see the impact of intervention. Wilstar encapsulates all the issues I care deeply about, directly engaging in change and teaching future generations about the importance of engagement.

Marcus Bleasdale


– It is such an honour after years of trying to create social impact using photography and film making, to continue that journey and increase impact with the Wilhelmsen family and Wilstar.

Emily Rider Wilhelmsen

Programme Manager / Board Member

Benedicte Wilhelmsen

Board Member

Abubakar Khalid

Programme Manager


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