GE Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The GE Foundation supports health, skills, education and public Policy. Its higher education grantmaking supports academic research, conferences, program support, scholarships and a matching gifts program.

IP TAKE: GE prioritizes its K-12 commitments over its higher education funding, but there are still a lot of postsecondary dollars to go around through its other programs. Unfortunately, unsolicited proposals are "discouraged." 

PROFILE: The GE Foundation, the charitable branch of General Electric, is dedicated to solving “some of the world’s most difficult problems,” and including Education, Developing Health, and Disaster Relief.

GE conducts much of its Education funding through the Developing Futures program, which supports K-12 education in seven major urban school districts. Through this program, the GE Foundation has dedicated resources and corporate expertise to train administrators and teachers across those school districts and to expand access to programs that prepare students for success after high school. According to GE, the Developing Futures Program has invested more than $225 million and thousands of hours to support student achievement and professional development for teachers in public schools across the U.S.

But the foundation also supports higher education by allocating funds towards academic research, conferences, and program support. Under the Developing Health initiative, for example, GE has supported the Emory University Center for Global Safe Water (CGSW), which “works to evaluate needs for safe water and promote changes in practice through research, training and capacity-building.”

In addition to its grants, the GE Foundation also offers postsecondary scholarships in the form of the GE Star Awards, a modest prize open to high school seniors who are children of GE employees.

Finally, postsecondary education funding is available through GE’s matching gifts program, which matches employee contributions to qualifying schools dollar-for-dollar and boasts more than $1.2 billion in giving since it began in 1954. Organizations in more than 75 countries are eligible to receive funds through this program. In one recent year, matching gifts tended to be more modest, but sometimes can range between $25,000 to $50,000.

GE is not transparent about its grantmaking habits, with no publicly available grants database. The foundation also does not accept unsolicited proposals, with the exception of the scholarship program.

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