Saving Brains

The Challenge: To develop sustainable ways to promote and nurture health child and brain development in the first 1000 days at a scale of with lasting impact on human capital in low-resource settings.

Saving Brains: Grand Challenges for Development

As many as 200 million children fail to reach their full potential, and children in poverty have a higher chance of adversity that risks disrupting brain development. This is a devastating waste of human capital that leaves the next generation ill equipped to solve the enormous challenges that lock individuals, communities and societies in poverty. Saving Brains promotes the fulfillment of human capital potential by focusing on interventions that nurture and protect early brain development in the first 1,000 days of life. The portfolio currently includes innovations addressing three components of healthy development: health and nutrition, enrichment, and protection.

Current partners are Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, Norlien Foundation and World Vision Canada.

Total Investments to Date: $33 million invested in 76 projects and a platform to accelerate progress against the challenge.


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF)

    United States | Staff size: Unknown
    They are focused on the areas of greatest need, on the ways in which they can do the most good.


  • Grand Challenges Canada

    Implementing NGO
    Canada | Staff size: 26-50

    Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact® in global health. We are funded by the Government of Canada and we fund innovators in low- and middle-income...

  • World Vision

    Implementing NGO
    Staff size: 10,000+

    World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of...

  • Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC)

    United States | Staff size: 26-50

    Aga Khan Foundation Canada is a non-profit, non-denominational development agency established in 1980 that promotes sustainable and equitable social development. It is a registered Canadian...

  • Bernard van Leer Foundation

    Implementing NGO, Foundation
    Netherlands | Staff size: 26-50

    The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. Their mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult...

  • Norlien Foundation

    Canada | Staff size: Unknown

    Created in 1997, the Norlien Foundation is a proactive private foundation with offices in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. The Foundation is active in knowledge translation and mobilization,...

  • Fundacao Maria Cecilia Souto Vidiga (FMCSV)

    Implementing NGO
    Brazil | Staff size: Unknown

    The Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation is a family foundation which was created in 1965.

    After acting for nearly 40 years in the areas of hematology and hemotherapy, the...

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Key Information

  • Start Date 2014
ValueUSD 33 Million