OVERVIEW: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the financial services company, and provides grants in the areas of education, workforce development, economic development, affordable housing, and arts and culture in the areas where its bank has a presence. The foundation’s college readiness funding falls under the “Providing Pathways for Success to Post-Secondary Education” sub-focus of its “Community Possible Grant Program.”
IP TAKE: U.S. Bancorp has an open grant application process, but only for programs in the states where its corporate side offers banking services.
PROFILE: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of U.S. Bancorp, the financial services company based in Minneapolis. In addition to the education initiatives discussed below, U.S. Bancorp's priorities also include two streams that provide support for small businesses, an an additional focus on financial literacy training for people of all ages.
The foundation’s college readiness funding falls under the “Providing Pathways for Success to Post-Secondary Education” sub-focus of its “Community Possible Grant Program.” This focus has two main priorities, which the foundation describes as "[o]rganizations and programs that help low-income and at-risk high school students prepare for post-secondary education at a community college, university, trade or technical school," and "post-secondary institution programs and initiatives that support access opportunities for low-income and diverse students."
Some college readiness grants dispensed by U.S. Bancorp Foundation in recent years include College Possible (St. Paul, MN), the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN), College Now Greater Cleveland, College Access Now (Seattle, WA), GRADCincinnati, LACER Afterschool Programs (offerings include a College and Career Prep program), Educating Young Minds (another nonprofit that offers College Ready programs), the Education Advantage Foundation (with a mission to “promote higher education by providing scholarships and free after-school mentoring/tutoring programs in cooperation with apartment building residents”). Grants for these organizations generally came in at the $10,000-$25,000 range.
In addition to its college readiness programs, U.S. Bancorp Foundation makes grants to a wide range of K-12 programs and organizations. Recent giving history shows a spectrum that includes public and charter school systems; individual public, charter, private, and parochial schools; community groups; local/regional chapters of national organizations; afterschool, arts education, physical education, literacy, and job training organizations; and many more. if you’re interested in a more comprehensive look at U.S. Bancorp Foundation’s K-12 funding, check out their K-12 funding profile here.
Across all focus areas of giving, the foundation’s watchwords are “innovative” and “effectiveness.” It doesn’t further define either adjective, but they are descriptors to be mindful of when approaching U.S. Bancorp Foundation for a grant.
Applying for grants is a state-by-state endeavor, and for larger states, by region within those states. Each state/region has its own grant managers, contact information, deadlines. Applications are also available online.
One final note: The company U.S. Bancorp is often referred to as U.S. Bank, which is the signage their bank storefronts (and commercial website) use. By extension, U.S. Bancorp Foundation is often referred to as U.S. Bank Foundation—on its own website, the two names are used somewhat interchangeably. But be aware that formally speaking (including by IRS designation), the foundation discussed here is the U.S. BancorpFoundation.
- John Pacheco, Director, U.S. Bancorp Foundation
- Dan Bernert, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Sponsorships