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

Business leaders voice support for early childhood investments 01-10-2015

ReadyNation open letter SDGsMore than 120 business leaders from five continents have signed an open letter applauding the United Nations for including early childhood in the new Sustainable Development Goals.

The letter will be presented during ReadyNation's first-ever Global Business Summit on Early Childhood Investments, which is being held on October 1 and 2 in New York City. The Bernard van Leer Foundation supports ReadyNation, and Executive Director Michael Feigelson will be addressing the event.

A good start: Video and infographic 23-09-2015

To mark the launch of the July 2015 edition of Early Childhood Matters, A good start: advances in early childhood development, the Bernard van Leer Foundation has produced a one-page infographic (download the pdf) and short video (watch on YouTube).

New campaign launched on healthy brains 16-09-2015

Healthy brain campaign

Launched today in the Netherlands: a campaign on the importance of a healthy brain, with input from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. Visit the website and see a PDF of our contribution (both in Dutch only).

BvLF partner Promundo nominated for Human Rights Tulip award 14-09-2015

Human Rights TulipPromundo, a longstanding partner of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, has been nominated for the Human Rights Tulip, an award of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for courageous human rights defenders who promote and support human rights in innovative ways. You can vote here (vote closes at 23:59 on Wednesday 16 September).

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


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