Foundation Funding Programs

The world can be a generous place! Read on to learn more about organizations that are waiting to help.

Step 1: Gather Information/Conduct a Needs Assessment

What do you want funded and why? Some foundations give money for general operating expenses, but most want to give towards a specific, special project. Establish a planning committee with a variety of stakeholders such as teachers, principals, parents, students, and community members to conduct a needs assessment and create a project plan. You should be able to closely link your intended project with identified needs of students and staff. Gather information on project costs, possible matching funds, other donor funds, etc.

Step 2: Find a Funding Source

Foundations are most likely to invest in organizations with similar philosophies and missions. The more your project has in common with the foundation, the better. For example, a Christian education foundation located in Minneapolis is most likely to fund Christian schools in Minnesota. Think of each similarity as a point. The more “points,” the more likely the foundation will be interested in your proposed project. Look for foundations with ties to your school’s geographical area or that have an interest in the content area you wish to fund.

Many foundations have a website, so use your favorite Internet search engine to search for “foundation grants.” You can narrow down the search by including your state or city name. There are also numerous subscription-based grant search sites.

Step 3: Approach Funding Sources

Most applicants’ first contact with a foundation is through a short letter of intent or inquiry (LOI), usually about 3 pages long. Since foundations must read many proposals, your LOI should be brief, but interesting and compelling. Be sure to take the time to customize your LOI for every foundation you approach. The letter should demonstrate how your project aligns to that particular foundation’s mission and values. Always follow any stated LOI requirements from a foundation, but in general, here is an easy way to structure your LOI: Compelling summary of project, 1–2 sentences long Explanation of needs that will be addressed Summary of how needs will be addressed Overview of organization Budget (inclusion will vary by foundation)

Here are a few foundations to investigate for a potential match to your project plans. Be sure to note any regional preferences and read the website carefully to determine whether to contact a foundation.

General K-12 Education

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
Build a Bear Workshop Foundation National $1,500 More Info
Hearst Foundation National $127,000 More Info
American Savings Foundation Connecticut, especially New Britain or Waterbury, CT $250 to $202,000 More Info
Abell-Hanger Founmdation West Texas $5000 to $175,000 More Info
BJ’s Charitable Foundation CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, ME, MD, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, VA $10,000 to $290,0000 More Info

Early Childhood

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
W.K. Kellogg Foundation Nationally, with emphases on Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans Highest award has been $16 million More Info
Harry W. Bass Foundation Dallas, Texas $1,000 to $15,000 More Info
Bella Vista Foundation San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. $30,000 to $150,000 More Info
Mary Black Foundation Spartanburg County, SC $25,000 to $150,000 More Info
Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation Colorado $20,000 to $428,000 More Info

Personalized learning environments

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
Cabot Corporation Foundation giving primarily in Alpharetta, GA, Tuscola, Il, Franklin, and Ville Platte, LA, Billerica, Boston, and Haverhill, MA, Midland, MI, Boyertown, PA, Pampa, and The Woodlands, TX Up to $350,000 More Info
Dell Foundation Nationally $500 to several million dollars More Info
Ford Foundation Nationally $300,000 to $2 million More Info
JP Morgan Foundation AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MN, MO, NJ, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, WA, WI, and WV, with emphasis on NY Up to $5 million More Info
Verizon Foundation National, with some emphasis on CA, NY, and DC $4,000 to $3 million More Info
Next Generation Learning Challenge National, focused on blended learning in secondary schools Varies by grant program More Info


Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
American Honda Foundation Nationally, with some emphasis on CA $20,000 to $75,000 More Info
Bayer USA Berkeley and Northern CA, Shawnee KS, Sheffield MA, Kansas City MO, Raleigh-Durham NC, northern NJ, Tarrytown NY, Newark OH, Greater Pittsburgh PA, Baytown TX, Houston TX, Institute WV, New Martinsville WV, and South Charleston WV $50 to $1.5 million More Info
Carnegie Corporation Nationally Up to $3 million More Info
Kinder Morgan AL, CO, TX Up to $44,000 More Info
Motorola Emphasis on CA, Washington, DC, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, TX $15,000 to $250,000 More Info
Northrop Grumman Foundation Nationally Up to $200,000 More Info
Piedmont Natural Gas NC, SC, and TN Requests over $10,000 must be board approved More Info
3M Foundation Emphasis on St Paul, MN and Austin, TX Varies by grant program More Info
Anderson Corporate Foundation Washington County, MN and portions of Western WI. Secondarily, the East Metro area of St. Paul. Also, Menomonie, WI; Des Moines, IA; Dubuque, IA; Page County, VA; Marion, OH and North Brunswick, NJ $1,500 to $100,000 More Info

Catholic Schools

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
Big Shoulders Fund Catholic schools in inner city Chicago Not available More Info
Connelly Foundation Catholic schools in/near Philadelphia and Camden, NJ $100 to $750,000 More Info
Lynch Foundation Massachusetts $90,000 to $100,000 More Info
Hannon Foundation Los Angeles $100 to $625,000 More Info
Westerman Foundation National $50,000 maximum More Info
E.L. Wiegand Foundation AZ, ID, NV, OR, UT and WA $50,000 to $500,000 More Info

Protestant Schools

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
CDV Foundation Western Michigan, especially Grand Rapids $500 to $2 million More Info
Clark and Nancy Bonner Foundation CA and OR $100 to $750,000
The Ryrie Foundation National $3,000 to $20,000 More Info
A.T. & Mary H. Blades Foundation Eastern Maryland $10,000 to $90,000 More Info

Jewish Schools

Foundation Regional Preference Average Awards Website
Covenant Foundation Jewish schools in North America $20,000 to $50,000 More Info
Charles H. Revson Foundation CA and OR $100 to $750,000 More Info
Ahavas Yisroel Charitable Foundation Miami Beach, FL and Brooklyn and New Square, NY $2,500 to $250,000
Aufzien Foundation, Inc New York City, Washington DC, NJ, and PA $500 to $200,000 More Info
The Rockwern Charitable Foundation Cincinnati, Ohio $10,000 to $230,000 More Info
Jewish Education Innovation Challenge via Mayberg Foundation Middle/high schools Up to $50,000