OVERVIEW: The FCA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and gives grants in support of education, youth development, military families, and multicultural inclusion. Higher ed giving supports schools in the communities where Fiat Chrysler has a significant presence, as well as regional and national programs. Support for scholarship programs also abounds.
IP TAKE: The FCA Foundation is particularly mindful of underserved student populations and automotive-related programs, but the process of applying for funding is not entirely clear.
PROFILE: Established by the Chrysler Corporation in 1953, what's now called the FCA Foundation (previously the Chrysler Foundation) has distributed more than $500 million in the years that have followed. Positioning itself in today’s world of philanthropy, the foundation states that it exists to "help empower people, and build strong, viable communities."
The FCA Foundation seeks to achieve this goal through the following funding areas:
- Education—with a particular focus on STEM at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels;
- Youth Development—to develop skills and leadership qualities;
- Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives—promoting inclusion and advancement opportunities;
- Military—assistance for active and retired service members and their families.
Be mindful that when it comes to supporting local-level programs, it primarily focuses on communities where it has corporate operations. Some of these communities are major U.S. cities, but others are less known on the map: Yucca, AZ; Irvine, CA; Englewood, CO; Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Belvidere IL; Lisle, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Kokomo, IN; Elkridge, MD; Detroit, MI; Syracuse, NY; Tappan, NY; Perrysburg, OH; Toledo, OH; Twinsburg, OH; Addison, TX; and Kenosha, WI.
In its support of higher education, the FCA Foundation does widen its giving scope, including to colleges and universities not directly in its corporate geographic orbit, as well as to regional and national programs, particularly those that support STEM higher education for underserved student populations.
As suggested above, STEM higher education programs are favored for this foundation, as well as support of automotive-related programs—no surprise, given the foundation's corporate parent. The foundation also likes to give its higher education dollars directly to scholarship programs in support of the students who will be attending these colleges and universities. Multicultural and diversity initiatives, as well as those that support underserved communities, represent major throughlines of the FCA Foundation's higher education support.
Past FCA Foundation support has included:
- $195,000 to Howard University for automotive program initiatives
- $100,000 to establish the National Black Farmers Association Scholarship Program, which will provide scholarships up to $5,000 to fund agriculture-related post-secondary study
- $50,000 to the Society of Women Engineers for scholarships
- $30,000 to Great Minds in STEM for scholarships
- $30,000 to Michigan Technological University for scholarships
- $20,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Separately, the FCA Foundation also encourages volunteerism from its employees. Its Motor Citizens Volunteer program offers salaried employees up to 18 hours of paid volunteer time per year, and $500 to any nonprofit where 10 employees volunteer for 3 hours or more.
Unfortunately for grantseekers, information about how to apply for funding from FCA is not clearly available on the foundation’s web site.
Joseph “Jody” Trapasso, President