Wawa Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Wawa Foundation is a corporate funder that 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 funder for the long-term.

PROFILE: Established in 2014, 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. The funder’s purpose is “championing life-saving research and care for people in need, leading hunger-relief efforts and supporting the heroes making a difference every day.” Grantmaking 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. A big part of this funder’s local giving is the Wawa Foundation Hero Award. The funder encourages the public to choose and vote on Greater Philadelphia nonprofits for a chance to win these 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.

Overall, a majority of grants range from $1,000 to $50,000. The funder typically shares press releases about new grant awards. The foundation awards grants in six states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Only nonprofits in Wawa’s service area are eligible to apply for grants. In addition to grants, this company and its foundation participate in volunteering at community events and in-store fundraising.

The Wawa Foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests from nonprofits. 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. Grants over $2,500 may be applied for in January, April, July, and October. There are several grantmaking cycles throughout the year; online applications are welcome. Local connections grants are less than $2,500. Nonprofits 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. Grantseekers should direct 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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