The LEGO Foundation becomes single largest private sector contributor to UNICEF’s COVID response with $70 million donation

The new funds will go towards COVID vaccination efforts, part of the Foundation’s pledge to support families affected by the pandemic and advocate for vaccine equity

25 September 2021
A student smiles as she participates in a class at the UNICEF rehabilitated School 8 in Mbera camp, Mauritania
UNICEF/Raphael Puoget
A student smiles as she participates in a class at the UNICEF rehabilitated School 8 in Mbera camp, Mauritania

NEW YORK, 25 September 2021 – UNICEF welcomes the LEGO Foundation’s announcement today of a $70 million contribution to UNICEF’s work within the COVAX and ACT-A facility. This is the single largest private sector donation to UNICEF’s COVID-19 response. It is part of the LEGO Foundation’s $150 million pledge to support children and families affected by the pandemic across the world.

The donation will help accelerate in-country vaccination to protect health and social care, including educators and primary caregivers, to minimalize further disruption in children’s lives. As vaccines become more available, helping countries around the world ensure these vaccines turn into vaccinations is of critical importance.

“Over the past 18 months, the lives of millions of children were put on hold as the pandemic shuttered schools, disrupted health services, and kept children away from relatives and friends,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Children, like us, want their lives back. UNICEF believes that equal access to vaccines for all countries is the surest pathway out of the pandemic. We thank the LEGO Foundation for sharing in this belief and hope that their support inspires other organizations, businesses and individuals to be as generous.”

To date, some 5.8 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, but only 2 per cent have been administered in Africa.

The funds from the LEGO Foundation will go towards supporting UNICEF’s in-country delivery and administration support of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 14 million people in ordinary settings, and over 10 million people in humanitarian settings. 

“This donation builds on the LEGO Foundation’s core values of finding creative solutions to the difficult challenges, caring for children and the communities they live in, and the power of collaboration to address the challenges, and opportunities, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer, LEGO Foundation. “Together we need to make a leap in playful learning, creating a future that promotes inclusive education, lifelong learning opportunities for all children, and where holistic skills and innovation are central. We call on the private sector, philanthropic organisations, governments and other donors to donate generously to the global COVID-19 response. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”  

The LEGO Foundation and UNICEF have partnered since 2015, focusing on child wellbeing and empowering children to become creative, lifelong learners through play.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. UNICEF is the largest vaccine buyer in the world and has been working with governments for over 30 years, reaching half the world’s children with vaccination every year.  Find out more about UNICEF’s work with the COVAX Facility here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.

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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 learning through play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.

Media contacts

Sohini Roychowdhury
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Geneva
Tel: +4179 533 5264

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow UNICEF on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and YouTube