Bernard van Leer Foundation

Introduction

The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a financially independent foundation based in the Netherlands, which was established in 1949. The foundation’s income is derived from the bequest of Bernard van Leer. Guided by the vision Bernard van Leer’s son Oscar that all children deserve a good start in life, the foundation works worldwide to inspire and inform large-scale action to improve the health and well-being of babies, toddlers and the people who care for them. It provides financial support and expertise to partners in government, civil society and business to help test and scale effective services for young children and families.

Programmes with a focus on selected developing countries include Parents+, Urban 95 and Building Blocks.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation has been sharing its commitment data with the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate since 2018. For charts and analyses using disbursement data, commitments are used as a proxy for disbursements.

Private development finance

In 2017, the Bernard van Leer Foundation provided USD 14.2 million in private development finance through standard grants.

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All of the foundation’s funding was provided bilaterally. However, 7.0% of the total was implemented by multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions).

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In 2017, USD 5.4 million (37.8%) of the foundation’s activities was channelled to/through civil society organisations (CSOs) and USD 3.2 million (22.2%) to/through universities, colleges or other teaching institutions, research institutes or think tanks. Moreover, USD 1.8 million (12.8%) was channelled through other private sector entities and USD 1.4 million (9.9%) through governments. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, the foundation’s financing was primarily focused on Asia and America. USD 5.7 million (39.9%) was allocated to South America and USD 2.4 million (17.2 %) to the Middle East. In addition, USD 1.8 million (12.4%) was provided to developing countries in Europe (i.e. Turkey).

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In 2017, the Bernard van Leer Foundation distributed its country-allocated grants amongst nine countries. These funds amounted to 73.6% of the total. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 0.3 million in 2017 (2.4%).

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In 2017, USD 8.1 million (57.3%) of the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s financing was allocated to upper middle-income countries and USD 0.9 million (14.1%) to lower middle-income countries, noting that 26.4 % was unallocated by income group.

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In 2017, 79.1% of the foundation’s activities was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 11.2 million, mainly focusing on education, health and population, and other social infrastructure and services. Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 3.0 million (20.9%), mainly referring to the foundation’s relief to refugees.

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Additional resources

Bernard van Leer Foundation: https://bernardvanleer.org

Role of philanthropy in financing for development: www.oecd.org/development/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/beyond-oda-foundations.htm

OECD CRS database, Private philanthropy for development: https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=DV_DCD_PPFD

Reporting to the OECD since 2018.

Bernard van Leer Foundation