The Lego Foundation Awards Multi-million Dollar Grant to Education Cannot Wait to Help Increase Access to Quality Learning in Emergencies and Protracted Crises

Available languages:
John Goodwin, Lego Foundation CEO, announces the contribution at the Education Cannot Wait event at this year’s UN General Assembly.

$12.5 million grant announced during this year’s U.N. General Assembly is part of a joint pledge made with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) to support education in crises situations

Billund, Denmark

View original Lego Foundation Press Release.

Today, the LEGO Foundation announced a $12.5 million grant to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to bring quality learning experiences to children in emergency situations.  ECW is a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The grant is part of a joint pledge announced with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM.)

“We recognize that high quality early childhood education supports school readiness and the social and emotional learning needed for successful transitions from emergency situations,” said John Goodwin, CEO at LEGO Foundation. “We are proud to join USAID and PRM in support of Education Cannot Wait, as we stand to lose an entire generation if we don’t take immediate action to support education in crisis settings.”

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The fund was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to help prioritize education on the humanitarian agenda, foster a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and raise additional funding to ensure that every child impacted by crisis is learning. The fund is widely supported by organizations and governments around the globe, including Denmark where the LEGO Foundation is headquartered.

“I want to commend the LEGO Foundation for taking a leading role in promoting ‘learning through play’, an important Danish tradition. I hope this will inspire other private actors to similar innovative partnerships. Furthermore, I look forward to developing our partnership with the LEGO Foundation on education in humanitarian situations,” said Rasmus Prehn, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark.

The joint pledge was announced during a panel discussion hosted by Education Cannot Wait on the main stage at this year’s United Nations General Assembly. Among the many topics of discussion during week long events, is progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) ECW operates in support of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities.)

ECW’s mandate is both to inspire political commitment so that education is viewed by both governments and funders as a top priority during crises and to generate additional funding to help close the $8.5 billion funding gap needed to reach 75 million children and youth. The Fund is a catalyst for a wide range of partners to collaborate towards achieving learning outcomes for children and youth in crisis settings.

“This support provided by The LEGO Foundation, USAID and PRM will allow us to deepen our investments in the future of the millions of children and youth who are left furthest behind in armed conflicts, disasters and forced displacement. These are among the most vulnerable, excluded and hard-to-reach girls and boys in the world,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are very grateful to The LEGO Foundation for this new strategic partnership. We have a shared vision and outlook, which is inspiring. Our joint focus on pre-school aged children will support Education Cannot Wait in allocating 10 per cent of the Fund’s resources to early childhood education. Together with our partners, we must ensure children in crisis contexts have a better start in life.”


About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play. Learn more on

About Education Cannot Wait
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. For more information:

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

Kent Page: