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Funding from Foundations


Many definitions exist regarding foundations, and the variety of types or labels ascribed to foundations will probably leave the layperson confused.  For the intents and purposes of funding educational programs, users of this webpage should focus on seeking funds from private foundations.  Private foundations are tax-exempt/501(c)(3), grant-providing entities operating from a principle endowment or fund--not public monies-- in order to provide funds to outside charitable organizations or to perform the charitable activities themselves.  Private foundations fall into these three categories:

  1. Corporate, in which the foundation's grant-making funds are derived from a specific corporation or company; corporate foundations are separate legal entities from its contributing or "sponsor" corporation or company (e.g., Sprint Foundation)
  2. Family, in which the establishing donor and/or donor's family played and continue to play a significant role, both in the initial endowment and operations (e.g., Milken Family Foundation)
  3. Independent, in which a foundation is typically created by an individual by bequest; often a family foundation becomes an independent foundation once members of the establishing family are deceased or no longer play a role in the foundation (e.g., Ford Foundation)

More information regarding foundations can be found at the these websites:

The following foundations focus funding efforts on education or issues relevant to education, although education initiatives are sometimes embedded in the foundation's broad funding efforts.  The foundation will typically explain how to propose a project and might even have a particular proposal form to use.  Be sure to examine the foundation's geographic areas of interest and whether or not unsolicited proposals are currently being accepted before beginning, however, as these two criteria can prevent any initial proposal attempt.

Carnegie Corporation of New York

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Creating Pathways to Educational and Economic Opportunity; Creating Pathways to Citizenship, Civil Participation, and Civic Integration in a Pluralistic Society

Nellie Mae Education Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Early Learning; Time for Learning; Pathways to Higher Learning; Adult Learning; Systems Building

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Democratic Practice; Sustainable Development; Peace and Security; Human Advancement; Pivotal Places; Energy

The Annenberg Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Education and Youth Development; Arts, Culture, and Humanities; Civic and Community; Health and Human Services; Animal Services and the Environment

The Corning Incorporated Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Education; Culture; Community Service; National Programs

The Dana Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Research in Neuroscience and Immunology; Arts Education

The Educational Foundation of America

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Education; Peace & Security; Arts; Environment; Health & Human Services; Democracy; Reproductive Rights

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Affordable Housing; Community & Economic Development; Digital Media, Learning, & Education; Juvenile Justice; Mental Health; Policy Research; Regional Policy

 The Pew Charitable Trusts

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Improving Public Policy; Informing the Public; Stimulating Civic Life

The Spencer Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Education and Social Opportunity; Organizational Learning; Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Resources; Purposes and Values of Education; Field-Initiated Proposals

The Sprint Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: K-12 Education; Arts and Culture; Youth Development; Diversity

The Wallace Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Arts Participation; Education Leadership; Out-of-School Time Learning

 Verizon Foundation

  • Funding Priorities/Areas of Focus: Education & Literacy; Safety & Health