Founded in 1982, the IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is a charitable foundation headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands. In the early days, the IKEA Foundation focused solely on architecture and interior design. Over the years, IKEA became active in addressing the root causes of child labour as well as endeavours with major partners to promote child rights and education. In 2009, the IKEA Foundation was able to expand its charter to include a broader mission of improving children’s opportunities, to help them ultimately take control of their own future. Today, all global IKEA social and philanthropic efforts are found together under the umbrella of the IKEA Foundation.
Ingvar Kamprad is the founder of IKEA and the IKEA Foundation:"Today, our goal with the IKEA Foundation is in keeping with exactly what we’ve always tried to do as a home furnishings company – create a better everyday life for as many people as possible around the world.” IKEA believes that home is the most important place in the world and children its most important people. The founder wanted to ensure that some of the profits are used to help create a better life for the many people in need. Everyone shares the basic needs: a secure home, good health, a regular income, a desire to keep our children safe, to see them get a good education and succeed in life. That’s why the IKEA Foundation has decided to focus our funding on these key necessities, in order to improve the situation for children and youth across the developing world so that they can create a better future for themselves and their families.
To create substantial and lasting change by funding holistic, long-term programmes in developing countries that address children’s fundamental needs: home, health, education and a sustainable family income.
Developing countries mainly
The foundation support long-term programmes that help turn the cycle of poverty into a circle of prosperity. The focus is on programmes that address children’s fundamental needs:
A place to call home
Supports survivors of conflicts and large natural disasters – such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan – to address children’s critical needs for a safe place to call home.
Current projects address:
- Improving life and education in refugee camps
- Reconnecting displaced families
- Improving emergency shelters
A healthy start in life
A healthy start is fundamental for children’s development and opportunities in life. That is why the foundation place such a strong emphasis on preventive care, nutrition, and sanitation initiatives.
A quality education
The foundation funds access to quality education with the aim of reducing a child’s vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and disease. Girls particularly are at greater risk of such abuse when they aren’t in school. Getting girls into schools and ensuring they stay and learn has therefore proven to be of tremendous importance. Through their annual Soft Toys for Education campaign, the foundation also helps fund UNICEF's Schools for Africa programme and Save the Children’s educational projects in Asia and Eastern Europe.
A sustainable family income
Women are the most important catalysts for change for their children. That’s why the IKEA Foundation supports programmes that help women gain knowledge about children’s rights and the importance of education – because when they do, women have the power to influence the whole community. In addition, funding programmes that give women a better chance to contribute to the family income – by learning a marketable skill or getting a micro loan to start a small business – helps ensure that children can stay in school instead of dropping out to help feed their family.
Donations after natural disasters and conflicts
After major natural disasters and conflicts, the foundation donates selected IKEA products to support humanitarian relief efforts. Later, it may contribute financially to projects addressing the longer-term reconstruction and rehabilitation work after disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and cyclones. This is done through our partners Save the Children, UNICEF and UNHCR based on their needs assessments.
Starting in 2012, the foundation also started providing UNICEF with educational toys and stationery from IKEA for their early childhood development (ECD) kits, sent out in response to disasters. Depending on the need, over two years these kits could reach 1.2 million children, giving them a child-friendly learning environment to help them cope with life in a camp.