History and income of the Bernard van Leer Foundation
Bernard van Leer (1883-1958) was a Dutch industrialist and philanthropist. In 1919 he founded a packaging company which became a world leader and provided him with the means to establish, in 1949, a charitable foundation with broad humanitarian goals.
After Bernard van Leer's death in 1958, his son Oscar van Leer gave the foundation a clearer organisation and focus. From 1964 the Bernard van Leer Foundation focused on young children, primary education and youth, and since 1980 has concentrated exclusively on disadvantaged young children. It funded its first international project, in Jamaica, in 1966.
The Bernard van Leer Foundation receives the bulk of its income from the Van Leer Group Foundation, a charitable entity based in the Netherlands. The members of the Van Leer Group Foundation's governing council also form the board of trustees of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
In the late 1990s, the Van Leer Group Foundation sold Royal Packaging Industries Van Leer N.V., which it had fully owned; the foundation's income now derives from a venture capital company and a global portfolio of equities, securities and property.
Timeline Bernard van Leer Foundation
Video about Bernard van Leer
This video is part of a special broadcast on Dutch television, on the occasion of the foundation's 50th anniversary in 1999:
- The Bernard van Leer Foundation's statutes are available in English and Dutch.
- Published in 1999 to mark the foundation's 50th anniversary, A legacy for humankind tells the story of Bernard and Oscar van Leer.
- Read a summary of De vatenman, Bernard van Leer (1883-1958), an autogiography of Bernard van Leer by historian Pauline Micheels published Amsterdam 2002.
- In 2009, Geert-Jan Johannes published Why not? Oscar van Leer and his quest for the ideal synthesis of business and philanthropy.
- The Bernard van Leer Foundation's archive of documentation is housed at the Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchief.