Goldman Sachs Foundation: Grants for Higher Education


OVERVIEW: Goldman's higher education grant funding come mostly through its 10,000 Small Businesses and 10,000 Women programs, both of which are designed to increase access to education and training for entrepreneurs around the world. Through Goldman Sachs funding, U.S. and international colleges and universities become training centers in the world's most important financial hubs. Goldman also facilitates need-based scholarship grants.

IP TAKE: Goldman Sachs has developed partnerships with many colleges across the country, but it doesn't accept unsolicited proposals and what it looks for in partner schools is a bit murky. 

PROFILE: The Goldman Sachs Foundation focuses on "venture philanthropy," and currently in the United States, small businesses are getting a big boost. The foundation's 10,000 Small Businesses program has driven a large percentage of its grantmaking in recent years, supporting business educational programs at colleges and universities across the country.

Through the program, Goldman states that it has helped found 10,000 small businesses, and has continued to invest in and grow the program. Early grants supported the development of a business education curriculum, and currently the foundation is providing grants to roll out the program in cities across the United States.

Since the program's inception, Goldman Sachs has developed partnerships with colleges and universities at all levels, from Ivy League schools to smaller community colleges. The current list of cities and education partners can be found here.

10,000 Small Businesses also supports entrepreneurs by exposing them to an intensive training program (offered through partner colleges and universities) and by providing a pool of financial resources for expanding small businesses. Lastly, the program provides business assistance services to enrollees.

Goldman has also laid out some pretty clear goals for the program. The most obvious goal — 10,000 — is the number of trainees the program aims to benefit. But reporting is also built into the foundation's goals, as it closely tracks the success of business owners involved in the program.

Another signature Goldman Sachs Foundation program is 10,000 Women, which is similar to the small business program. 10,000 Women is focused on providing training, financial support, and business services to female entrepreneurs, but the focus is more on international and emerging markets. Many U.S. colleges and universities are involved in the program, and it drives a substantial portion of Goldman's higher education funding.

Building on this program, in a recent year Goldman announced a collaborative effort with the World Bank to “enable approximately 100,000 women to reach capital” by providing seed funding for the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, which it billed as “the first-ever global finance facility for women-owned small and medium enterprises.”

Lastly, there is Goldman’s Increasing Educational Opportunities effort. This falls under the company’s donor-advised Goldman Sachs Gives fund, and “aims to facilitate the promotion of innovation and excellence in education worldwide, especially for the underserved.” A key component of this initiative is the Goldman Sachs Scholars program, through which “the current and retired senior employees of Goldman Sachs have recommended grants exceeding $185 million to 200 colleges and universities for need-based financial aid and scholarships.”

Goldman has established a commitment to both the Small Business and the Woman initiatives, and the programs are likely to continue to receive the bulk of higher education grants. For example, Philadelphia was a recent addition to the 10,000 Small Business markets list. But the foundation selects schools on an invitation-only basis, so it's hard to gauge exactly what it takes to become a partner school.


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