BNSF Railway Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The BNSF Railway Foundation broadly funds civic services, cultural organizations, educational initiatives, and other needs in the communities the parent company serves. It also offers scholarships for children and dependents of its employees, and contributes to a number of nationally-known scholarship funds.

IP TAKE: BNSF prioritizes organizations that operate in the vicinity of its railway lines, or ones that have a significant The grant process can take anywhere from three months to year, so grantseekers should plan their applications accordingly.

PROFILE: In 1996, the BNSF Railway company established its charitable arm, the BNSF Railway Foundation, when the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroads merged. Both the corporation and foundation are located in Forth Worth, Texas. BNSF funds civic and cultural services, education, health and human services, youth organizations, and federally recognized Native tribal governments.

BNSF’s educational giving program prioritizes public and private colleges and universities, but “grants of an exceptional nature may be made to vocational and non-college schools.” These grants are primarily aimed at “the improvement of the quality of education,” and may cover “general operating costs,” “general endowment funds,” “computers or computer-related projects,” and “salaries, wages, or administrative expenses.”

Grant amounts range from $2,500 to $500,000. However, most awards generally fall in the $1,000 to $10,000 range. The BNSF foundation geographically limits its grantmaking to the 28 states in which the railways have main lines and communities located near BNSF rail lines.

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications through its website throughout the year. Consult the foundation’s Grant Guidelines for details on how to apply.


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