Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation funds very specific health programs both domestically and internationally. New York-based organizations are welcome to apply with program proposals in the areas of veterans' mental health, diabetes prevention, chronic disease treatment, and science education. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health and well-being, mental health, and diabetes prevention

IP TAKE: To give back to the community and keep up its positive corporate image, Bristol-Myers prefers to fund well-established organizations over little-known start-ups. Perhaps the best chance to receive Bristol-Myers funding in New York City is to pitch a mental health program for veterans.

PROFILE: The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is one of those corporate responsibility philanthropies with a one-track mind. This New York-based bio-pharmaceutical company is responsible for putting the popular drugs Abilify, Plavix, and Reyataz on the market, and its giving strategy predictably revolves around health as well. Since 1955, the foundation has been trying to reduce health disparities at home and abroad.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has four very specific issue areas overseas: cancer in Europe, Diabetes and hepatitis in India, and HIV and cervical/breast cancers in Africa. In the United States, the foundation gives for lung cancer in the southeast U.S., access to lung and skin cancer specialty care, diabetes, access to HIV specialty care, and veterans' mental health and well-being. 

Although the foundation awards mental health grants to organizations around the country, a good portion of those grant dollars go to New York City nonprofits. One large New York-based partnership has been the Mental Health America of New York State initiative, which aims to boost resilience and recovery for veterans and military families after deployment. That particular grant was for $596,454, which is about average for this funder. Bristol-Myers grants do hit the million-dollar mark, but rarely.

Bristol has made headlines by funding programs for underserved diabetes patientscancer patients around the world, and by awarding a $2 million grant for a pediatric emergency care center at St. Mary's Medical Center.

In recent years, the foundation included a fifth issue area, which is diabetes prevention in the United States. For the past five years, Bristol-Myers has funded causes that promise to strengthen patient self-management, provide education, and involve community-based support services. Although the grants are very competitive, given the foundation's broad geographical scope, the issue areas are very narrow. Simply put, your proposal should address the mental health needs of military veterans if you're going to work with Bristol-Myers. With the list of previous grantees as a guide, it's clear that the foundation does not stray from its objectives.

In addition to this five-tiered grant system, Bristol-Myers has also awarded community building grants in the United States. These grants support chronic disease treatment, improving science education, and civic/community programs providing essential services. For New York-based nonprofits, community grants are more accessible.

Keep up with Foundation News on the Bristol-Myers website. Recent large domestic grants have been going to cancer centers, veteran programs, and STEM education. Take a look at the How to Apply page to learn about the application procedure. General inquiries can be emailed to 


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