AEGON Transamerica Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The AEGON Transamerica Foundation gives in areas where it has a corporate presence, namely, Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Cedar Rapids, IA; Denver, CO; Exton, PA; Harrison, NY; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Plano, TX; and St. Petersburg, FL. Its giving is focused on the target areas of Arts & Culture, Civic & Community, Education & Literacy, Health & Welfare, and support for the United Way.

IP TAKE: Transamerica Foundation’s open application process is a welcome opportunity for first-time grantseekers, but make sure you check with your regional office’s funding priorities before applying.

PROFILE: AEGON Transamerica Foundation began in 1994, and “supports nonprofit organizations that contribute to the well being of the communities in which we operate.” These include the areas around its offices in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Cedar Rapids, IA; Denver, CO; Exton, PA; Harrison, NY; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Plano, TX; and St. Petersburg, FL.

The foundation has five key giving areas in which it provides support: Arts & Culture, Civic & Community (in terms of development, leadership, and financial opportunities), Education & Literacy, Health & Welfare, and support for the United Way. Transamerica supports these organizations through a combination of modest grants and and matching employee contributions, which combined for close to $2 million in overall education giving in a recent year.

The most direct means of seeking funding for organizations in higher ed are through Transamerica’s Education and matching gifts programs.

First off, it's important to note a disparity between the foundation's stated education priorities as stated on its website, as opposed to those in its recent annual report. In terms of its education program, AEGON Transamerica's Categories of Support page states that the foundation’s goal is to support “[p]rograms with a mission to provide knowledge and to expand individuals’ capabilities, especially in the areas of financial literacy.” This contrasts with its most recent annual report, which has a more direct focus on Colleges & Education through “[m]atching gifts and scholarship endowments to colleges, in addition to programs with a mission to provide knowledge and to expand the capabilities of the individual.”

Most grants generally come in at modest levels, with funds starting at the low thousands (especially for matching gifts) and usually maxing out in the tens of thousands of dollars. In a recent year, for example, the foundation gave two awards totaling $30,000 to Loyola University - Maryland, close to $70,000 over two grants to Mount Mercy University, and $2,500 to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

That said, there have been a few notable exceptions over the years. Back in 2010, for example, the foundation gave $1 million towards UI’s Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance, and it also established a named scholarship for a UI business student “majoring in either accounting or finance.” In 2007, the foundation also gave over $330,000 to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is housed under the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Clarification on this issue would best be obtained by contacting your local Transamerica office, which, coincidentally, is also where you need to submit your grant application. Local office contact information is listed towards the bottom of the foundation’s home page. The foundation notes that funding requests “are reviewed upon receipt by local committee representatives” and that, “The timing of responses will vary by location.”

PEOPLE:

  • Cindy Nodorft, Manager, Transamerica Corporate Communications and Manager,  Transamerica Foundation

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