Wawa Foundation

OVERVIEW: This corporate funder supports health, hunger, and everyday heroes in six East Coast states. It's headquartered near Philadelphia, and much of its giving is focused there.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, hunger, military, veterans, first responders

IP TAKE: The foundation has been gaining a lot of local attention in Philadelphia for its Hero Awards. Look into this opportunity as a way to get involved with this relatively new funder for the long-term.

PROFILE: The Wawa Foundation is the grantmaking arm of the Wawa chain of convenience stores and gas stations throughout the East Coast. The company's headquarters are outside Philadelphia, and the Greater Philadelphia area is a priority area.

The first Wawa store opened in 1964, but the foundation has only been in operation since 2014. The foundation awards grants in six states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Areas of interest are health, hunger, and everyday heroes.

Health grants have gone to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Hunger grants usually go to local food banks and regional suppliers. Support for heroes goes to members of the military, veterans, and first responders such as local police and fire departments. 

This foundation recently set a goal to give out $50,000 over a five-year period. An update on the funder’s giving thus far can be viewed here.

A big part of this funder’s local giving is the Wawa Foundation Hero Award. Greater Philadelphia nonprofits are chosen and voted on by the general public for a chance to win grants. The winner of this grant competition receives $50,000, and three runners-up receive $10,000. Past grantees have included the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, and Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey.

To apply for a Wawa Foundation grant, visit the funder’s Apply for Support page. This is the place to go for local grants, regional grants, national grants, in-kind donations, and sponsorships for charitable events. Only nonprofits in Wawa’s service area are eligible to apply for grants.

Grants over $2,500 may be applied for in January, April, July, and October. This is when letters of inquiry are typically accepted. There are several grantmaking cycles throughout the year; online applications are welcome. Local connections grants are less than $2,500. You can request one of these small grants at any time of the year and expect to hear back from the foundation within about a month. Get started with the submission process here. In addition to grants, this company and its foundation participate in volunteering at community events and in-store fundraising.

A list of foundation board members can be found here. The board consists of various Wawa company staff managers and directors.  General questions can be directed to the foundation via online form or by letter to 260 West Baltimore Pike, Wawa, Pennsylvania 19063.


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