About the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Bernard van LeerThe Bernard van Leer Foundation was founded six and a half decades ago by Dutch industrialist Bernard van Leer (1883 to 1958, pictured), and focused by his son Oscar van Leer on children aged 0–8. Since that time, we have been guided by the belief that every child deserves the chance to realise their full potential – and that communities and countries become better places to live when all children are supported to get off to a good start in life. We continuously ask ourselves, what is the most effective way to realise our mission: to improve opportunities for young children growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances? (More about our history).

The Bernard van Leer Foundation receives its income from the Van Leer Group Foundation to fulfil its mission. The Van Leer Group Foundation derives its income from a global portfolio of diversified investments. As an independent, private foundation that does not rely on government funds or public donations, we are uniquely positioned to take risks on promising ideas that are not yet proven, to act with agility when time-sensitive opportunities for impact emerge, and to make commitments to longterm processes of social change. In this spirit, we fund research and innovative pilot projects to determine how best to serve young children’s needs. We help to spread proven ideas and good practices that others can implement at scale. And we look for opportunities to cultivate partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders who can help increase attention to young children on the public agenda.

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