Dominion Foundation Does STEM Differently, With Green Projects

The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, Inc., a U.S. regional power and energy company. The foundation focuses on K-12 and college education, environmental stewardship, community development and social services in the states in which it works and serves. In 2013, it gave $15 million to 1,400 organizations.

That's a decent chunk of change, and another reminder of a point we make often here at IP: Energy companies are loaded these days and, thanks to fracking, operate in more parts of the country than ever before. So there are a lot of opportunities in this corner of corporate philanthropy, particularly for ed institutions and even more so for STEM educators, since many energy companies struggle to find enough skilled workers and see education giving as one way to address this problem. 

Related - From Appalachia, Another Example of Why This is a Golden Age of Energy Philanthropy

Like many other power and energy companies, the Dominion Foundation focuses its education attention on STEM learning. But the Dominion Foundation sets itself apart by taking that mission one step further: It supports STEM learning specifically geared toward environmental education.

The foundation gives grants to hands-on learning for K-12 students, and it picks really catchy sounding projects to support in the name of air, land, and sea. In 2014 they've included:

  • Marymount University's K-12 education program called “Portable Planetarium” ($5,000);
  • Chickahominy Middle School's "Dead Zone Revival: A Student Driven Project to Restore a Watershed" ($4,500);
  • Espes Elementary School's "Insect Avenue" ($500);
  • Calvert Country School's plan to create a Forest and Outdoor Classroom ($10,000);
  • Portsmouth Schools Foundation's "Green Ships and Ports ($5,000).

Dominion earmarks $325,000 each year for its K-12 environmental ed STEM projects, and it clearly has its eye on fun stuff. But it also has its eye on specific regions in the U.S. Check out those places here.