The Adams Legacy Foundation’s Broad-Brush Approach to Education Philanthropy

Schools seek grants for all kinds of purposes, but sometimes their intended purposes just don’t pass muster with the grantmaking foundations. Those foundations may have strict rules in place regarding what they will or will not fund. Some don’t fund construction projects, for example, while others draw a line on religious programs. None of this holds true, however, if you are seeking a grant from the Adams Legacy Foundation. Its grants go out to just about any type of school, and to almost any organization affiliated with a school. And they can be used for just about any education-related need.

Education is one of the two causes that Adams now funds (environmental conservation is the other). And its stated goals in education are quite broad: “We want to help create programs which will assist people who are dedicated to improving their condition.” That would describe any hard-working student in this country, which seems to be the idea.

Students in public schools all throughout the Long Beach Unified School District in California benefitted from the $40,000 that Adams gave to the Long Beach chapter of the nationwide nonprofit Assistance League. The chapter used the grants for its Operation School Bell program, which provides low-income students across the school district with school uniforms (if their schools require them) and school supplies.

Adams grants also make life better for students in public higher education. It gave the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College a $25,000 grant to upgrade the equipment used by the medical school; and another $20,000 in another year to purchase new digital clickers for all of the college’s classrooms.

As referenced above, Adams gives grants to private and church-based schools, too. That includes the $20,000 that it issued to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Bexley, Ohio. The church refurbished its Education Building with the funds.

Yes, building renovations and capital improvements are perfectly acceptable uses of Adams’ grants. The aforementioned Foundation for Santa Barbara City College will attest to this, as it got an a third grant of $18,100 from Adams to buy a construction crane for the college’s Marine Technology Department, followed by a fourth grant of $12,000 to set up a new weather station and weather-monitoring systems on-campus.

As long as you can make that case that your upcoming capital-improvement project will “create better learning facilities,” it is eligible for funds. Also eligible, according to the website:

  • academic-support programs that target specific student populations
  • application of new technology in education
  • visual and performing-arts programs
  • science programs
  • vocational training programs
  • before-school and after-school programs

Organizations that aren’t schools but that do work with students can apply for Adams’ education grants, as well. For example, Adams gave $35,000 in grant awards over the course of several years to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. These grants supported the museum’s training courses for elementary school teachers. Adams likewise gave $100,000 over a two-year period to the Bexley Education Foundation, a nonprofit with headquarters in Ohio, for a project to enhance school playgrounds in Maryland.

If there are any restrictions to Adams’ grants, they might be geographical. The vast majority of its grantees are in California. But note the two Ohio grantees above. Non-California grant seekers are definitely contenders, although they might be in for stiffer competition from all their California-based counterparts.

And no matter where you’re applying from, you must apply via the website. You visit the “apply” page, create an online account, and follow the prompts to post a letter of inquiry. If the letter of inquiry is approved, you follow up with the rest of your application. Adams will take it from there.