The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. Our mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promote more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all.
Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation
In 2014, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and FORUM supported the Verwey-Jonker Institute to carry out qualitative research among 40 hard-to-reach families, to provide insight into the reasons why some families do not send their toddlers to VVE (early learning services) in the Netherlands, and to suggest steps that need to be taken. Among the reasons given by mothers interviewed are that they do not know what different services can offer, they do not feel the need to use these services as they are not working, and they believe young children are better off spending time with their mothers than at a facility. The research (in Dutch) can be downloaded here.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Prize, created by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2012 to honour their founder and the multiple dimensions of his personality, is awarded annually to an individual or non-profit organization. With a value of €250,000, the Prize will distinguish an individual or institution whose thoughts or actions make a decisive contribution to, and have significant impact on understanding, defending or fostering the universal values of the human condition: namely, the respect for diversity and difference, a culture of tolerance and the conservation of the environment in man’s relationship with nature. You can submit a nomination for the 2015 edition of the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize here.
Fighting discrimination is a long journey marked by many small steps. An example: in April 2014, Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino banned the use of “nomad” – a word that was perpetuating outdated stereotypes and prejudices – to refer to Roma people in official policy and institutional documents. It followed a specific request from Foundation partner Associazione 21 Iuglio, and reflects an ongoing transformation in public attitudes.
Read the new blog on Roma children on our corporate blog website.
The conference ‘Small Children, Big Cities: Building Smart Child-Friendly Cities for 21st-century India’, organised by the Bernard van Leer Foundation with support from the National Institute of Urban Affairs and the Ministry of Urban Development, was held on 28 and 29 November 2014 in New Delhi, India. The participants discussed issues concerning urban infrastructure and services, such as housing, water and sanitation, and early childhood services, as well as issues regarding the quality of recreational spaces for children, and the transportation and mobility needs of children in cities. You can download the conference report - covering the highlights of the discussions, as well as the outcomes of the conference articulated as key recommendations and suggested guidelines - here, or you can read the report online.
Commemorating December 3rd the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 2-5th December 2015 the first International Developmental Pediatrics (IDP) Congress is held in Istanbul, Turkey, organized by the Developmental Pediatrics Association (Gelişimsel Pediatri Derneği) in Turkey and Ankara University. Millions of children around the world are unable to develop to their full potential unlike their peers growing up in more supportive environments. The IDP Congress is a platform that will bring together clinicians, researchers and policy makers working in the field of developmental pediatrics from around the world to address this inequity. The IDP Congress will be held every two years in a low or middle-income country. The theme for this first IDP Congress is “AD-ECD: Addressing Difficulties in Early Childhood Development.” Read more
It is with sentiments of deep sorrow that we have received the message that our beloved colleague from the UBS Optimus Foundation, Reinhard Fichtl, passed away on 24 March. Reinhard was a leader helping to bring together foundations concerned with improving children's lives. He played a critical role in setting up the Violence and Children Evaluation Fund and was always a wonderful thought partner and colleague to our team at the Bernard van Leer Foundation. He was particularly well regarded for having worked for many years in the field of humanitarian relief - a perspective that kept him grounded in the realities of children and families. Although his passing make us all deeply sad, we acknowledge with gratitude that Reinhard lead a remarkable life -- a life of great contributions for the well-being of children, women and humanity at large. In this time of grief, we wish his family and friends much strength and fortitude in coping with the irreparable loss.
As the Bernard van Leer Foundation approaches the halfway point of its ten-year strategic plan, the Annual Report for 2014 shares facts, figures, lessons learned and stories detailing the progress made over the last year towards the three strategic goals and in the eight focus countries identified by the plan. The annual report features a foreword by the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Robert Swaak, a report by the Foundation's new Executive Director, Michael Feigelson, and an executive summary in Spanish.
You can download, read online or order your free printed copy of the Annual Report 2014 here.
'When I started working at the Foundation a year ago, my first task was to assist in the preparation of the publication Early Childhood Matters. The topic chosen for the issue was responsive parenting. As I did some deeper research I came across a quote by attachment theorist, John Bowlby: “If a community values its children, it must cherish their parents.”'
Read the blog post written by Katelyn Hepworth, Research & Evaluation Officer of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, on our corporate blog website.