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

Akwasi Aidoo delivers Van Leer Lecture in Denver 20-05-2010

The 2010 Van Leer Lecture was delivered by Akwasi Aidoo on the subject of “Social Justice and Philanthropy in Africa: Transforming Power Relations and the Balance of Stories", as part of the Council on Foundations' 2010 Annual Conference in Denver last month. Akwasi Aidoo is the founding Executive Director of TrustAfrica, a foundation dedicated to securing democracy and equitable development in Africa. The lecture series is a partnership between the Van Leer Group Foundation and the Council on Foundations. It has been running since 2006 and is designed to highlight thoughtful international perspectives on philanthropy. Previous lecturers were Dr. Shimshon Zelniker of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (2006); Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health (2007); Azar Nafisi, Iranian-born author of Reading Lolita in Tehran (2008); and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (2009).

Israel partners promote holistic and integrative approach to ECCD 19-05-2010

On 11 May, the four partners of the Bernard van Leer Foundation who work together in Israel as the Musharaka Trust co-organised with the Ministry of Education's pre-primary department a conference in Nazareth on “Early Child Care and Development – The Holistic Integrative Approach". Attended by 150 representatives of various government and civil society organisations, the conference was lauded by foundation programme officer Marc J. Mataheru for enabling exchange and debate between the various stakeholders on a subject relevant to the foundation's new goal of scaling up quality early learning programmes. More information on the conference is available (in Arabic) on and

Early childhood experts address European Parliament 19-05-2010

Hosted by Plan Belgium, a panel of experts on early childhood presented experiences and analyses to the European Parliament in Brussels on May 5th. Among them, the Bernard van Leer Foundation's Leonardo Yánez made the case for supporting early education as a priority in the South. More information on the Plan Belgium website (in French).

Helping Roma children break the cycle of exclusion 11-05-2010

Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, writes: "Roma children are three times more likely to die before the age of five than other European children. One million Roma children never go to school, another million Roma children are relegated to schools for children with special needs." Read more

ACESS's score card for monitoring children's rights in South Africa 23-04-2010

We have pleasure to share a document prepared for the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) in South Africa, which introduces indicators for monitoring the realisation of the rights of young children and applies them to provinces across the country.

Harry Leliveld, 1939-2010 12-04-2010

With great sadness we wish to inform that Harry Leliveld, a Trustee of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, has passed away. Read more

Bernard van Leer Foundation's Annual Report for 2009 07-04-2010

The Bernard van Leer Foundation's Annual Report for 2009 is now available. Reports on our activities and finances over the last year are complemented by stories from the field showing the impact of selected grants, and an insight into how we arrived at the three goals that will define our grantmaking in the coming years. There is also an executive summary in Spanish.

New issue of Early Childhood in Focus on Supporting Parenting 30-03-2010

Early Childhood in Focus 5 cover image

Supporting Parenting is the latest in our publication series Early Childhood in Focus, published jointly with the Open University. This issue addresses government programmes to support parents in fulfilling their parenting role. How can these programmes be critically evaluated and adapted to local circumstances - and what is "good parenting" anyway? Early Childhood in Focus offers practical and accessible summaries of the latest research to policy makers, practitioners and advocates working in the field of early childhood.

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