Statement of
President and Co-CEOs

Children Deserve Better.

Over the past months and years, children’s lives have changed in profound ways. Children of all ages around the globe are being affected by COVID-19. Well-meant mitigation measures –– such as school closures –– have often done more harm than good. The shift from school attendance to learning from home has not been successful for most school systems and institutions, and the introduction and use of learning technologies has not had the desired success in many places. Even under most favorable conditions, students made little or no progress while learning from home. Learning losses were most pronounced among students from disadvantaged homes.

We are convinced that children deserve better. In our strategy 2030 we have outlined what we believe needs to happen to offer children the type of education they need to thrive together: understanding and embracing variability in learning. 2021 has been the first year of implementation of this strategy, with a record investment of more than CHF 80 million in programs aimed at improving the lives of children through quality education:

In our strategy 2030 we have outlined what we believe needs to happen to offer children the type of education they need to thrive together.

Children and how they learn deserve to be better understood. The Foundation’s portfolio “Learning Minds” aims at gaining a better understanding of how heterogeneity and individual differences affect learning. The team has started exploring how these findings can be applied in practice, including by making smart use of educational technologies that offer new perspectives for both implementation and empirical investigation.

Children deserve better schools and better technologies helping them to develop the skills needed for their future. “Learning Schools” supports schools by generating and applying evidence and sharing best practices. Both globally and locally, the team has started exploring frontiers of learning by rigorously testing promising approaches and codifying best practices in teaching and school management. A key focus of this work is on promoting evidence-informed decisions among EdTech investors, policymakers, and end-users.

Children deserve better policies and decisions affecting their lives, based on better data. Connecting the relevant entities and building communities around better and more relevant evidence is the pathway chosen by our “Learning Societies” portfolio. It is convening a critical mass of organizations and partners in our target geographies to work together, leverage resources, and lead intended change as a field.

Our mission is to help societies and schools provide children with the education they deserve –– today and in the future. We are profoundly grateful for the many partners that have been collaborating with us to achieve this goal. This report is also about them: individuals and organizations that have once again shown courage in adapting to challenging circumstances. The Jacobs Foundation, too, intends to be such a courageous organization. In 2021 we concluded a two-year process of refocusing on a set of Core Competences, developing an ambitious Learning Agenda, and aligning all processes under the principle of shared leadership and decision-making –– so that together, we can continue to help children learn and thrive.

Lavinia Jacobs


Fabio Segura


Simon Sommer



Milestones 2021


Deployment of CHF 30 million in EdTech Venture Capital with the goal of encouraging more and better use of research and evidence in decision making. Partner funds include: BrightEye Ventures, Educapital, Kaizenvest, Learn Capital, New Markets Venture Partners, Owl Ventures, Reach Capital, Rethink Education and

2021 JF Conference: Education Solutions for a Post-COVID World

Solveathon in collaboration with MIT Solve to enable learning systems to provide children ages 2-12 with equitable educational opportunities. Co-creation, with educators, academics, investors, technologists, funders, and practitioners, of effective, cross-sectoral and scalable solutions to the challenge of learning in a post-COVID-19 world.

Launch of MEL approach & learning partnership

Development of a bespoke MEL framework that lays out JF’s results framework, learning agenda, and approach to monitoring, learning, and evaluation as a core component of the Foundation’s commitment to its role as a leading learning organization. In 2021, Mathematica was selected as the Foundation’s learning & evaluation partner for 2021-2023.

Launch of CERES

CERES (Connecting the EdTech Research EcoSystem) brings together global leaders in computer science, psychology, neuroscience, education, and educational technology to improve digital technologies for children.


Signing of CLEF Agreement

The signing of Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, 2 Foundations and 15 chocolate and cocoa companies marks the accomplishment of JF’s goal of creating innovative partnerships for greater impact.



BOLD is officially re-launched as a platform for learning and development that engages a broad audience in an effort to spread the word about how children and young people develop and learn. The web redesign allows for a more effective exchange of ideas and opinions, via social media and creative formats (videos, podcasts).

2021 KJJ Research Prize

Awards Ceremony in honor of Professors Chuck Nelson and Dan Schwartz, who received the 2021 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prizes in recognition of their efforts to push scientific boundaries within their disciplines in order to identify opportunities for improving children’s education and lives.

Approval of Ghana Strategic Investments

Approval of a suite of mutually reinforcing strategic investments in Ghana, including the mid-term review of the Ghanaian Education Sector Plan, the development of a national Primary Years Assessment, the design of an EdLab, embedded within the national MoE, the implementation of five community-led District Models and the design of a Change Leadership Program.

Launch of the Impact-Linked Financing Facility (ILFF) for Education

Partnership with the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) to provide impact-linked financing to education organizations in sub-Saharan Africa and MENA. Facility to be managed by iGravity and Roots of Impact.

Core Competences

Four mutually – reinforcing competences anchor our approach.

We fund research to advance multidisciplinary scientific breakthroughs and promote the generation and translation into practice of evidence on child learning and development that can have an impact on policy and practice.

JF Research Fellowship
Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award
School Knowledge & Innovation Learning Lab

Generator &


We strengthen the formulation and implementation of education policy by taking advantage of opportunities to introduce or refine evidence-based policy instruments and practices, catalyze change-management processes, and transform leadership capacity and approaches.

Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC)

We ignite multi-stakeholder coalitions among researchers, governments, companies, and schools, with the goal of leveraging capacities, knowledge, and resources and jointly scaling up effective education policies and practices.​

Jacobs Foundation Conference
Connecting the EdTech Research Ecosystem (CERES)
Leveraging Evidence for Action to Promote Change (LEAP)



We use a broad range of financial mechanisms to mobilize our own capital and encourage third-party investment to amplify high-impact opportunities at scale that would not otherwise be realized.​

Learning EdTech Impact Funds (LEIF)
Impact-Linked Fund for Education (ILFF)
Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF)

Strategy 2030

Building a strong
foundation for future

2021 was a major milestone year for the Foundation’s work: While COVID-19 continued to disrupt children’s learning around the world, we embarked on the first year of our ten-year Strategy 2030, paving the way for the next several years of partnerships and programmatic investments. A major development was the implementation of a unified strategic approach that embeds our core theme of embracing variability in learning across the work of our three portfolios –– Learning Minds, Learning Schools, and Learning Societies –– and creates mutually reinforcing programmatic linkages to maximize collective impact.

An important example of this cross-portfolio approach is our work combining expertise in research and impact investing. We invested CHF 40 million in the Connecting the EdTech Research Ecosystem (CERES) research facility and the Learning EdTech Impact Fund (LEIF); these are conceived as complementary efforts with the shared goal of unlocking the impact potential of EdTech. Going forward, we are committed to further amplifying the synergies among different sides of our work as envisioned in our 2030 Theory of Change.

Supporting the world’s leading researchers and practitioners to understand how children develop and learn

Strengthening research and collaboration across the global school system to promote evidence-based practice

Modelling adaptive learning ecosystems by using evidence, mobilizing resources, and supporting community-led system change




CHF 796.637 Million


CHF 83.163 Million



      24.211      Learning Minds
    40.755      Learning Schools
    16.068      Learning Societies
        1.455      Learning Organization
            674     Charitable Activities


CHF 7.5 Billion


CHF 69.596 Million



        11.933     Learning Minds
        15.197     Learning Schools
       15.104     Learning Societies
      27.021     Learning Organization
              341    Charitable Activities

* This includes project approvals of CHF 1.625 million for Foundation-wide Monitoring Evaluation & Learning activities and CHF 1.0 million for corporate communications and the operation of the BOLD platform.

 Read full financials report