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

Working Paper on children's right to play 21-12-2010

A new working paper entitled Children’s right to play: An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide is now available. Wendy Russell and Stuart Lester of the UK's University of Gloucestershire argue that play is fundamental to the health and well-being of children, and that state signatories to Convention on the Rights of the Child - as well as adults more generally - should recognise, respect and promote play as a right.


Early Childhood Matters on children in cities 16-12-2010

Young children in cities: Challenges and opportunities

A new edition of BvLF's biannual journal, Early Childhood Matters, looks at the issue of Young children in cities: Challenges and opportunities. Articles look at various aspects of how urban life affects children, from exposure to violence through lack of space to play, and feature contributions from across four continents.

A One-Stop UN Shop for Kids 06-12-2010

Does anyone remember the introduction of the convenience store in the fifties, the prequel to our modern mega supermarkets? That was when the private sector figured out that convenience is key to meeting consumer demand and boosting profits. Not only do customers prefer to get their flu shot, new outfit and bread all in the same supermarket, it is also cheaper for the service providers. Read more

Lisa Jordan writes about Roma children in Alliance magazine 02-12-2010

In the December issue of Alliance, the philanthropy and social investment magazine, BvLF executive director Lisa Jordan writes about the foundation's work for young Roma children, stressing the importance of action at local level and leadership from civil society. The article is available in pdf form here, courtesy of Alliance magazine, and the full issue is available by subscription at


Lisa Jordan addresses UNICEF panel on child rights 15-10-2010

An interactive panel discussion on ‘Implementing Child Rights in Early Childhood’ was held at UNICEF House in New York last night to highlight the importance of the period between birth and three years. Among the panellists was BvLF's executive director Lisa Jordan, who stressed that only 53 per cent of countries have comprehensive national early childhood development programmes in place. Read a full report on the panel discussion here


How UNESCO's World Conference exceeded expectations 15-10-2010

‘And what do you expect from UNESCO?’, the Dutch Ambassador to UNESCO Mr Barend ter Haar asked me quite candidly at UNESCO's World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in Moscow last month. Armed with talking points I rattled off two areas of intervention that UNESCO could champion. However, the first answer that came to mind was ‘Not much’. Read more

The essentials of impact assessment 08-10-2010

In the autumn edition of the European Foundation Centre's Effect Magazine, BVLF's Executive Dirctor Lisa Jordan co-authors a piece discussing The essentials of impact assessment (pdf).

Our strategy in Israel 08-10-2010

‘There is nothing for these kids and families. This is the area of greatest need in this country. Where are you?’  This was one of many responses we got when I visited Israel last month to determine how our new goals – bringing quality early learning to scale; reducing violence in young children’s lives; and addressing the physical environment in which young children live – respond to one of the local contexts in which we work. Read more 

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