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

New issue of Early Childhood Matters surveys the early childhood field 28-07-2015

ECM 124 coverPublished today, the latest edition of Early Childhood Matters is a special issue to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bernard van Leer Foundation's first grant in early childhood. A comprehensive look at the current state of the early childhood field and future priorities, A good start: advances in early childhood development it includes contributions from experts on subjects including brain science, nutrition, home visiting, parent support, pre-primary, fatherhood, emergency contexts, children with disabilities, measurement and leadership.

You can download the pdf, read online on or order a free printed copy.

Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally meets in Addis Ababa 27-07-2015

Investing in Young Children GloballyThe Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally (iYCG) today begins a three-day workshop at the Hilton Addis Ababa in partnership with the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. Discussions will explore issues including the science and economics of family and community investments in children and their caregivers, and how to coordinate approaches across the health, education, nutrition and social protection sectors.

Read more about the Forum and follow the meeting through the #iYCG hashtag on Twitter.

New mapping tool helps early childhood funders coordinate in East Africa 23-07-2015

Funders map imageThe Bernard van Leer Foundation has supported Foundation Center – a leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide – to create a map of early childhood development funding in East Africa. This new tool will help foundations, NGOs, policymakers and other stakeholders to see what is currently being funded, avoid overlaps in work, and identify gaps and opportunities. Explore the map at

In memoriam: Selim Iltus 16-07-2015

Selim IltusOn Sunday July 12th our friend and colleague Selim Iltus passed away at the age of just 60. We are all deeply saddened by this profound and sudden loss. Selim - as we had the privilege of knowing first hand - was the kindest of men.

He was passionate about a child's right to play and particularly concerned with the experience of young children growing up in cities around the world. Before he left the Foundation in March, I had the chance to speak to Selim about our emerging work on urban planning. Read more


Institute of Medicine releases report on scaling up investments for young children 26-06-2015

In São Paulo in November 2014, the Institute of Medicine, National Research Council and Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal held a workshop on Scaling Program Investments for Young Children Globally: Evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean. The report on the workshop has now been released, exploring questions of impact, scalability, sustainability and governance. Several partners of the Bernard van Leer Foundation participated in the workshop.

Video marks new campaign by Children of Prisoners Europe 18-06-2015

Not My Crime, Still My Sentence

Bernard van Leer Foundation partner Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) has just launched 800,000 Voices, a 2-minute animated film that illustrates the different experiences and reactions of children whose parents have been imprisoned.

The film forms part of COPE's new campaign, Not My Crime, Still My Sentence, on behalf of the 800,000 children who are separated from their parents each year as a result of incarceration in Europe. These children frequently experience trauma stemming from violent separation from their parent, social stigmas and prejudices.

The original script was written by a group of children whose parents are in prison. The film is available in English, French, Italian, Norwegian and Dutch.

State of the World's Fathers report launched 16-06-2015

Mencare video thumbnail

Bernard van Leer Foundation partner MenCare is today launching the first State of the World's Fathers report, providing a data-driven snapshot of the state of men’s contributions to parenting and caregiving globally by addressing four issues related to fatherhood: unpaid care work in the home; sexual and reproductive health and rights, and maternal, newborn and child health; men’s caregiving and violence against children and women; and child development. Around 80 percent of the world’s men and boys will become fathers in their lifetime, yet engaging men in caregiving is only just beginning to be recognised as an important way to advance the global gender equality agenda.

Michael Feigelson interviewed in Alliance Magazine 03-06-2015

"We will try to develop more partnerships with institutions that are capable of reaching hundreds of thousands or millions of children and where the nature of the relationship is more about sharing expertise than giving grants."

In the latest edition of Alliance Magazine (subscription required), BvLF's Executive Director Michael Feigelson is interviewed about his plans for the Foundation, his background at McKinsey and as a street outreach worker in Mexico, and his views on impact investing and social change.

© 2015 Bernard van Leer Foundation | Sitemap | Disclaimer | Privacy & Cookies | Contact us | Vacancies