Bernard van Leer Foundation

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.

The foundation is guided by the vision of Bernard van Leer’s son, Oscar, that all children deserve a good start in life. It 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.

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The Bernard van Leer Foundation provided USD 14.3 million for development in 2020 through its grantmaking activities. Compared to 2019, this amount represents a slight decrease of 4% in real terms.

In 2020, USD 700 000 (5%) of the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s development finance was provided in the context of its COVID-19 response.

In 2020, the Bernard van Leer Foundation provided USD 2.3 million to the multilateral system, all of which was earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes through United Nations entities (the UNDP, WHO and PAHO) and regional development banks (the IADB). The remainder of its grants and investments were mostly channelled through non-governmental organisations and universities, research institutes and think tanks.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation’s development finance was primarily focused on America (USD 5.3 million) and Asia (USD 4.6 million), accounting respectively for 37% and 32% of gross bilateral contributions, noting that 21% was unspecified by region in 2020. The top recipients of the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s grants included Brazil, India and Jordan.

A majority of the commitments made by the Bernard van Leer Foundation in 2020 targeted other social infrastructure and services, with a particular focus on child-oriented social protection (under other infrastructure and services).

In terms of the 2030 Agenda, the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s development finance mainly supported SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG 4 (quality education).

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