Sandler Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Sandler Foundation supports higher education institutions across the country. 

IP TAKE: This foundation often provides long-term support to its grantees.

PROFILE: Established in 1991 by Herb and Marion Sandler, the Sandler Foundation invests in “[s]trategic organizations and exceptional leaders that seek to improve the rights, opportunities and well-being of others, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.” The foundation believes transformative and sustainable change begins with strong leaders. As it suggests on its website, the foundation believes it has a “high tolerance for risk” for offering financial support to organizations with dynamic leaders. Sandler seeks organizations working to advance policy change through policy development and advocacy; exposing corruption and abuse; systemic reform; strengthening research and networks’ and innovative scientific research to improve health.

While it does not have a grantmaking program dedicated to higher education, its tax filings indicate an interest in supporting such organizations. As a result of not providing a specific program dedicated to higher education, the foundation prefers to fund such institutions and concerns more broadly rather than funding only a small subset of issues related to higher education.

Grant amounts range from $75,000 to $2.5 million; however, most awards range from $75,000 to $500,000 range. Past Sandler Foundation grantees include the Regents of the University of California at Berkeley in support of its Center for Latin American Studies; and Stanford University, which received a grant for its Stanford Center on Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). Click here to learn more about the types of organizations the foundation supports. 

The Sandler Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications or requests for funding.


  • Steve Daetz, Executive Vice President
  • Sergio Knaebel, Grant Director