Lincoln Financial Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: The Lincoln Financial Foundation awards nearly $10 million in grants each year to the communities in which Lincoln Financial Group operates. Philadelphia is one of these six communities. In a recent year, the funder awarded 138 education grants totaling $2.7 million. 

FUNDING AREAS: Youth education, arts and art education, job training, workforce development, human services

IP TAKE: Although Philadelphia is just one of six geographical focus areas for the Lincoln Financial Foundation, this funder does have a big presence in the city. During an eight-year period, LFF gave over $18 million to nonprofits in Philly. Fortunately, this funder also accepts unsolicited grant applications. Check the foundation website for current deadlines.

PROFILE: The Lincoln Financial Foundation is the grantmaking arm of the Lincoln Financial Group, a Fortune 500 company that has over 9,000 employees and offers life insurance, annuities, retirement plan services, and group protection. The Lincoln Financial Foundation (LFF) was established in 1962 and donates about $10 million to grantees annually.

Although our focus here is on Philadelphia, LFF is committed to awarding grants in each the communities where the company has a strong presence:

  • Concord, New Hampshire
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

LFF gravitates toward youth education causes that close the achievement gap and help high school students earn their diplomas. Pitch a proposal for pre-K programs that prep for kindergarten, K-12 programs that boost graduation rates, and college programs that help students transition and graduate.

Support for human services typically revolves around helping low-income families meet their basic needs for food, housing, and independent living. Food programs that provide meals, housing programs that provide emergency and transitional housing, and self-sufficiency programs that enhance basic skills are considered for grants.

LFF’s economic/workforce development grantmaking program funds adult education and job skills training programs for adults. LFF likes to see proposals that train people for in-demand jobs, that grow local businesses, and that enhance financial, language, and entrepreneurial literacy.

And LFF support for the arts mostly involves using art education to impact at-risk youth and increasing access to the arts for people of all ages and backgrounds. Access is the focus here for both school children and disadvantaged adults with limited exposure to the arts.

At the end of a recent year, LFF reported over $4.9 million in total assets and over $9.4 million in total giving. In a past year, LFF made 113 grants totaling $2,107,640 in the Greater Philadelphia region in the aforementioned program areas. The most Philadelphia-specific grants went to education (38 grants totaling $836,569), followed by the arts, human services, and finally economic/workforce development.

Education continues to be the largest grantmaking category, but arts & culture/quality of life, economic/workforce development, and human services giving areas have been more evenly matched. In the 10-year period between 2006 and 2016, the funder gave $22.2 million in Philadelphia with 91 grants for a total of $2.1 million in a recent year.

 A list of Philadelphia grants can be viewed on the funder's website. Lincoln Financial employees in the Philadelphia area participate in a workplace giving program with the United Way. The foundation also matched 132 employee donations to nonprofits in Pennsylvania, totaling $122,093, as part of a company matching gift program in a past year. 

Fortunately for grantseekers, LFF does accept unsolicited grant requests and uses an online application form process. Each program focus area has its own application due date, and these deadlines are scattered throughout the year. Keep in mind that LFF likes to hear from organizations that adequately represent women and ethnic minorities on their boards of directors. As a general rule, LFF does not award grants to public or private elementary or secondary schools, general operating support, hospitals, health organizations, or capital funding.

“As a company, we believe that people can be their own Chief Life Officers – embracing opportunities and getting the most out of life for themselves and their loves ones,” said Nancy Rogers, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility. “As a Foundation, we invest in opportunities to help people throughout our communities live this kind of life.”

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