LEGO: Building Creative Kids

The LEGO Children’s Fund’s approach to early childhood education can be summed up in two words: cultivate creativity.

This approach makes perfect sense for the philanthropic branch of LEGO, the private Danish concern whose multicolored toy building blocks have stoked the creative juices of generations of children (the author of this post included). Grants from this funder may not approach the size of those awarded by the Kellogg or Casey foundations, but they reach numerous recipient organizations. Dozens of nonprofits, schools, and children’s centers have received LEGO Children’s Fund grants, which mostly range in size from $1,000 to $5,000. The fund does not donate LEGO toys, so the grants do not come with those cool-looking Star Wars or Harry Potter LEGO sets (sorry, everyone).

Like many early childhood funders, the LEGO Fund prefers groups that support disadvantaged children, as well as groups that are supported by LEGO employee volunteers. This funder considers proposals from across the country, but has a geographic preference for organizations in Connecticut and western Massachusetts, near the company's domestic headquarters.

Programs funded by the LEGO Children’s Fund are as diverse as the recipients organizations, which include such things as elementary school campuses and children’s theatre organizations. Grants have funded hands-on science programs, children’s arts and crafts activities, STEM programs targeting young girls, and creative writing projects. Like the popular LEGO toys, the only limits are the imaginations of grantseekers.

OK, the usual restrictions apply. This funder does not provide grants for general operating costs, scholarships, sectarian activities, or capital projects.