+
LEGO donates $143 million to address 'global early childhood emergency' exacerbated by pandemic
Photo courtesy of The LEGO Foundation

The Build A World of Play Challenge will award organizations innovating for early childhood development.

Kids' play fads come and go, but there are certain classic toys that never get old. Of such timeless toys, the simple LEGO brick stands out as it has spanned multiple generations and is still going strong. In fact, LEGO building sets have only seemed to get better and more popular in recent decades. (Full disclosure: Huge LEGO fans in my household.)

As the Danish company celebrates its 90th year in business, it's re-upping its dedication to early childhood development. The LEGO Foundation is launching a whopping $143 million grant challenge—its largest public grant ever—to help mitigate issues facing young kids, many of which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Build A World of Play Challenge is a global grant competition for organizations around the world that are "exploring evidence-based innovative solutions to the biggest problems" affecting early child development, including "access to quality early childhood education and care, adequate nutrition, eradication of toxic stress in homes and communities, reduction of violence in homes and communities, protection from pollution, and supporting the social and emotional well-being of the whole family."


The competition is now open, and participants enter by registering first (via this link before April 7, 2022) and then submitting a full application prior to May 17, 2022. Submissions will be evaluated on how impactful, feasible, sustainable and community-oriented their work is. Three winning organizations will receive approximately $30 million and two will receive $15 million. Ten additional finalists will receive approximately $1 million each to "strengthen their proposed plans, start building the team, and skill up to successfully implement their innovation."

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, chair of the board of directors at The LEGO Foundation (and fourth-generation member of the LEGO owner family), emphasized that children have the right to safety, quality education and healthcare, but early childhood development has been grossly underfunded.

“Children are the builders of tomorrow," he said in a statement. "To build a better world for future generations—focusing on innovation and action—we must work together. If we do not invest in the youngest children in our society, we don’t invest in our collective future.”

The LEGO Foundation CEO, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, explained why the organization is focusing so intently on kids from birth to age six:

“We are currently facing the biggest global early childhood emergency that the world has ever seen. The quality of experiences in the first few years of a child’s life is where brain development is in its most adaptive and rapidly developing state. They also provide the foundations for learning, health and behaviour in the long-term – investment in which we know improves educational outcomes, develops holistic skills, and enhances quality of life. Providing whole-child support through early childhood development interventions is one of the most powerful and cost-effective equalizers we have at our disposal. Through the Build A World of Play Challenge, we want to join forces with others to urgently address the biggest challenges societies globally face, with creative, actionable ideas that put children at the centre of global decision making. We must start building a world that puts the youngest in society first: building cities, education systems, healthcare systems and solutions to save our planet, at the forefront. This competition is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the youngest children.”

Kudos to LEGO for putting a flood of resources toward the well-being of the youngest among us. Children truly are our future, and if we neglect their needs and their potential in their earliest years, we are harming not only them but ourselves.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A 92-year-old World War II fighter pilot flies her plane for the first time in 70 years.

"It's the closest thing to having wings of your own and flying that I've known."

Photo pulled from BBC YouTube video

World War II vet flys again.

This article originally appeared on 05.19.15


More than 70 years after the war, a 92-year-old World War II veteran took to the sky once again.

It's been decades since her last flight, but Joy Lofthouse, a 92-year-old Air Transport Auxiliary veteran, was given the chance to board a Spitfire airplane for one more trip.


Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.20.21


Sometimes you see something so mind-boggling you have to take a minute to digest what just happened in your brain. Be prepared to take that moment while watching these videos.

Real estate investor and TikTok user Tom Cruz shared two videos explaining the spreadsheets he and his friends use to plan vacations and it's...well...something. Watch the first one:

So "Broke Bobby" makes $125,000 a year. There's that.

How about the fact that his guy has more than zero friends who budget $80,000 for a 3-day getaway? Y'all. I wouldn't know how to spend $80,000 in three days if you paid me to. Especially if we're talking about a trip with friends where we're all splitting the cost. Like what does this even look like? Are they flying in private jets that burn dollar bills as fuel? Are they bathing in hot tubs full of cocaine? I genuinely don't get it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

Keep ReadingShow less