Early Education Intersects With Human Services at The Lawrence Foundation

The mission of The Lawrence Foundation is vague. The foundation merely declares that its mission is to “support organizations that are working to solve pressing environmental, educational, human services and other issues.”

The throughline for this giving is also vague. A family foundation established by Jeff Lawrence and his wife, Diane Troth, with cash accrued when Lawrence sold his Trillium Digital Systems to Intel, the website “explains” that the couple “feel it is important to give something back and support organizations that are trying to make the world a better place.”

This vagueness can make it challenging to present the most incisive grant application; on the other hand, this vagueness means there are a range of opportunities to potentially receive funding.

Recent giving shows that environmental issues unquestionably come first and foremost for The Lawrence Foundation, but attention is also paid to those terms "educational" and "human services." This manifests itself primarily through strong support of youth development programs (on the "educational" side) and issues of hunger and family stability (on the "human services" side).

Meeting in the middle: Early childhood education.

This intersection is represented by a recent grant $5,000 grant the foundation gave to Bright Beginnings in Washington, D.C., an organization that provides homeless families with a range of health, parenting, and early educational services, with a primary goal of preparing young children in these families for kindergarten.

This $5,000 amount, while modest, reflects standard giving for The Lawrence Foundation. Grants typically range $2,000 to $10,000, with the vast majority distributed at the $5,000 mark. The foundation’s application, which is fairly basic (it uses the Common Grant Application, which leadership of The Lawrence Foundation helped create) includes a standard request for goals/objectives/outcomes—a good strategy would be to communicate how this modest grant would strongly support them for your early education program. The foundation will give both general operating and program support, so there's flexibility here.

The Lawrence Foundation has no geographic restrictions on its giving, both domestically or internationally (so long as the international project is operated by a U.S. nonprofit). Its grant application is open to all, and has two grant cycles each year, with deadlines in April and November.