50+ grant making foundations together for largest ever education philanthropy summit

More than 50 of the world’s leading grant-making foundations involved in education will meet in Dubai on the eve of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Education & Skills Forum to discuss some of the most pressing issues in education philanthropy and share their expertise.



President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, will join the Philanthropy Summit at the Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai on Friday March 22

More than 50 of the world’s leading grant-making foundations involved in education will meet in Dubai on the eve of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Education & Skills Forum to discuss some of the most pressing issues in education philanthropy and share their expertise.

The President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, who campaigned on the development of human capital as his first priority, will join the discussion to give his perspective as a politician who is leading a country where 65 per cent of the population is under 30.

The Philanthropy Summit, in partnership with Co-Impact and Bernard Van Leer Foundation, will be chaired by Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation. It will break new ground by convening a large number of grant making foundations rather than a wider meeting of the third sector. Attendees will share expertise on which of their programmes have had the greatest impact on the lives of young people on the ground. They will also discuss the different pathways they follow to achieve their goals as well as conduct workshops on a range of issues, including early Childhood Development, Education in Emergencies, Funding Research, Innovative School models, Grant-making, Collaboration and Advocacy.

The summit recognises that if we are to solve the crisis in global education, government action alone will not be enough. More than 260 million children are out of school globally, and of the 650 million primary school-age children in school, 250 million are not learning the basics. In order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all, we will need to recruit 69 million teachers by 2030. To meet these serious challenges, the world’s major philanthropic organizations must come together and learn from one another the most effective ways of improving education outcomes and ensuring global access to quality education.

Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation and Chair of the Philanthropy Summit said:

“We are honoured to have President Bio join us in our discussions and I applaud his spirit of openness and dialogue on this crucial issue of our time.  Through exchanging views with the President, whose country was put under such strain by the Ebola crisis, we can understand how grant-making foundations can help support public education systems, often, in extremely testing circumstances.

“I would also like to thank all the foundations that are joining us in Dubai, who will give us a rare opportunity for a focused debate between grant-makers on how we can use our resources to make an outsized impact on global challenges such as those of the SDG’s.

“We want these foundations to share the different pathways they are taking to reach their goals and to take stock on what has and hasn’t worked.  This sharing of experiences will improve our understanding and better equip us all to achieve the systematic transformation we are looking for.”.

A list of all the foundations attending the meetings are below:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Co-Impact, Holland LLP, Luminos, Omidyar Network, Porticus and Morgridge Family Foundation from the US; Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, Art Jameel, Dubai Cares, and NMC Healthcare from the UAE; Global Innovation Fund, The Lawrence Ellison Foundation, The Peter Cundill Foundation, The Saville Foundation, and Tony Blair Institute for Global Change from the UK; Bernard van Leer Foundation and Ikea Foundation from the Netherlands; Mastercard Foundation from Canada; Aga Khan Foundation, Drosos Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, Roger Federrer Foundation, and UBS Optimus Foundation from Switzerland; EdelGive Foundation, EkStep Foundation, and Shiv Nadar Foundation from India; Lemann Foundation, Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal, and The Instituto Ayrton Senna from Brazil; Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, C&S Ryan Group, and The Douglas Murray Trust from South Africa; Atlassian Foundation from Australia; CJ Group from South Korea; Chen Yidan Foundation and Yidan Prize Foundation from Hong Kong; Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation from Jordan; Community Jameel from Saudi Arabia; Fundacion Compartir and Luker Foundation from Colombia; Fund of Aliya Nazarbaeva, Private Fund of Kazakhstan, and Zhandanu Alemi Fund from Kazakhstan; Inicia Education from Dominican Republic; LEGO Foundation from Denmark; Ozyegin Social Investments from Turkey; Prudence Foundation and Yayasan Hasanah from Malaysia; Robert Bosch Foundation from Germany; and Sawiris Foundation for Social Development from Egypt.




  1. The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world and we continue to play a leading role in influencing education debates on the status of teachers around the world. https://www.varkeyfoundation.org
  2. The Philanthropy Summit will be held on the eve of the Global Education & Skills Forum. Each year the Global Education & Skills Forum brings together world leaders from the public, private and social sectors and seeks solutions to achieve education, equity and employment for all. This year’s Forum asks: ‘Who is changing the world?’ Find out more here: https://www.educationandskillsforum.org/