Deloitte Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERIEW: The Deloitte Foundation is dedicated to funding higher education initiatives that “better prepare students for tomorrow’s business challenges.” The foundation has a generous employee matching funds program and supports organizations and events as well as doctoral scholarships and fellowships.

IP TAKE: The application process for Deloitte is not entirely clear, but many Deloitte grants have supported efforts related to the study of tax and finance. Although these are grants, Deloitte does often like to be attached as a named partner of the programs it supports. 

PROFILE: The philanthropic arm of its namesake financial consulting firm, the Deloitte Foundation is likewise focused on finance, tax, and related business consulting—with a higher education slant.

The foundation doesn’t have a traditional mission statement per se; its guiding philosophy is more of a marketing tag: “Accelerating education to meet the pace of business.” The Deloitte Foundation seeks to do this by “working alongside leading educators” and sponsoring “real-world and classroom initiatives to better prepare students for tomorrow’s business challenges.”

If the latter action statement—the sponsorship—sounds like Deloitte is seeking to brand while it also seeks to support, you’re right. Recent giving includes underwriting the Deloitte/Federation Schools of Accountancy Faculty Consortiums, the DePaul University-Deloitte Professorship Endowment Fund, the University of Florida-Deloitte Foundation Professorship in Accounting, and the Deloitte FanTAXtic Case Study Competition. Another commonality here—even when Deloitte isn’t a named funder—is a focus on higher education professional and faculty consortiums, seminars, and symposia, institutional professorship support and student competitions. Amounts here range from $15,000 to more than $100,000.

The Deloitte Foundation earmarks even more directly for students, operating an Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program (with nearly $300,000 in scholarship distributions each year) and a Doctoral Fellowship Program (which distributes approximately $250,000 annually in $25,000 grants for each student). 

Lastly—and not to be overlooked—the Deloitte Foundation has an enormous employee matching gifts program, focused on matching its employees contributions to “degree granting colleges and universities” across the U.S. and beyond its borders. The foundation gives more than $5 million annually through this funding stream to higher education institutions including Ivy League universities, major state university research hubs, and small public and private regional colleges. The Deloitte Foundation will match a lot of dollars, $5 million or so each year spread across approximately 400 schools, with amounts as large as a recent gift of more than $330,000 to University of California-Berkeley.

Tapping into this matching gifts program takes some institutional initiative, as will connecting with the Deloitte Foundation’s other granting programs. With the exception of its scholarships and fellowships for students, the foundation doesn’t advertise how to apply for its dollars.

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