Caterpillar Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Caterpillar Foundation supports organization’s alleviating the root causes of poverty.

IP TAKE: This funder seeks collaborative organizations addressing pervasive global challenges, particularly poverty. Education is a strong factor in breaking the cycle of poverty. The Caterpillar Foundation offers widespread support to higher education institutions in the United States.

PROFILE: The Caterpillar Foundation was established in 1952 as the philanthropic arm of the Peoria, Illinois based heavy machinery company Caterpillar. The foundation works with partners around the world to “alleviate poverty and place people on the path to prosperity,” and focuses its grantmaking on education, the environment, and basic needs.

Caterpillar’s education grantmaking supports “programs that achieve a measurable knowledge increase, improvement in academic progress, or employment outcomes for individuals.” The foundation’s grantmaking ties into its main goal of addressing root causes of poverty as education often helps break generational cycles of poverty.

While grant amounts vary widely, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few million, most higher education grants range from $5,000 to $125,000. Past grantees include a number of colleges and universities across the country such as Temple University, the University of Portland, and Dartmouth College. To learn more about select grantees, explore the foundation’s partners page.

The Caterpillar Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding or grant applications. Those invited to apply for a grant must submit their applications between February 1 and July 1.


  • Michele Sullivan, President
  • Jennifer Zammuto, Foundation Manager