Creating better connections. Neural and otherwise.
Researchers know more than ever about how children learn and develop, and about how their learning informs their path in life. But too often, those insights don’t make it into the hands of those who can make the most of them.
We champion the science of learning—and support the critical relationships that help learning happen—through a combination of grantmaking and our own programs, using the latest research as our north star. We aim to address systemic inequities by partnering with the people and communities most in need.
We start with the science.
Our work is grounded in the latest research showing how kids learn and what they need to thrive. We help provide experiences, environments, and person-to-person connections that meet those needs and foster the skills and mindsets to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
We fuel research in learning, child and youth development, and educational practices, particularly where there are gaps in knowledge.
We connect learning science to everyday life, promoting evidence-based practices for families, educators, childcare workers, and other adults positioned to help children learn and thrive.
We amplify the research, informing educators, systems leaders, policymakers, and the general public, so that the latest, best science can be understood and applied at a transformational, society-wide scale.
A focus on the first 18 years.
Learning is a lifelong journey, but science tells us there are two stages in which we can learn and grow exponentially, in ways that can determine the course of our lives: during our earliest years, and during adolescence. We focus our work on research and experiences that promote positive learning environments from birth through age 18.
During the first few years of life, children’s brains form one million neural connections per second. What happens in those years significantly influences how children will learn, grow, and succeed. We help support children’s development from their earliest days (and even earlier, through support of perinatal programs). Our efforts help caregivers cultivate richer relationships with children. These interactions between children and the adults in their lives help young minds grow strong and flexible, promote skill development, and provide moments of joy, caring, and connection whose impact can last a lifetime. See early learning grants.
Adolescence is second only to early childhood as a time of rapid brain development—a period of remarkable opportunity and growth. Young people at this stage are forging their identities and becoming aware of the world beyond their own. They need a sense of belonging, but also increasing autonomy. And they need to develop mastery, through learning that has meaning and purpose. We support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of adolescents, bringing young people together with educators and others who can help them spark their curiosity, act on their passions, practice leadership, and contribute to their communities. See adolescent grants.
Grants + programs.
We advance learning science and its application and expand equitable opportunities in two ways: through grants to researchers and nonprofit organizations worldwide, and through our own programs. Each of these approaches informs the other, giving us insight into the latest understanding of how learning works, while keeping us firmly anchored “on the ground” in the many contexts where learning happens daily.
Our work is guided and shaped by five core beliefs and actions:
We believe all children deserve equitable access to opportunities.
Children are born with incredible potential, but too often encounter systemic barriers that impede their success. Our work aims to expand equitable access so that children and youth are supported to learn, contribute, and shape their path in life.
We believe science is key to understanding and meeting the needs of children and youth.
Experiences and environments grounded in developmental and educational science can unlock the potential of all learners. We invest in this research and its application to help young people thrive and foster a more inclusive future for all.
We believe effective learning engages the whole person.
From the earliest years, children need joyful, enriching educational experiences that nurture their cognitive, social, and emotional capacities. We support holistic learning environments—inside and outside the formal education system—that meet developmental needs, promote skills young people need to thrive, and enable them to put their learning to use.
We believe healthy growth and development happens in the context of positive relationships.
Children’s success is deeply influenced by relationships with caring adults and positive peer interactions. From families and caregivers to educators and mentors to strong peer networks, we look to further high-quality relationships and support networks that help learning happen for children and youth at every stage in the continuum.
We believe in accelerating what works.
Partnering with those closest to the issues can drive the strongest and best ideas. We back individuals with great ideas and work to accelerate the reach and impact of science-based practices, programs, and organizations to create stronger pathways for young people to reach their full potential.
Proposals to the Bezos Family Foundation are by invitation only. The Foundation has no obligation to review, accept, or return unsolicited materials.