Goldman Sachs Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Goldman Sachs's higher education grant funding prioritizes providing entrepreneurs with educational opportunities to help them flourish in business, including a program dedicated to women entrepreneurs.

IP TAKE: Goldman Sachs has developed partnerships with many colleges across the United States, but it does not accept unsolicited proposals and is not transparent about what it seeks in partner schools. 

PROFILE: The Goldman Sachs Foundation was established in 1999, the year the investment bank went public. It focuses on “helping women, small business owners, and the betterment of communities.” The foundation’s grantmaking programs support 10,000 small businesses, 10,000 women, the environment, veterans, and local communities.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation conducts its grantmaking to higher education through its 10,000 Small Businesses program, which supports business educational programs at colleges and universities across the United States. The small business program seeks to help found 10,000 small businesses, and has continued to invest in and grow the program. Since the program's inception, Goldman Sachs has developed partnerships with colleges and universities at all levels, from Ivy League schools to small community colleges. The foundation maintains a current list of capital and education sites. The 10,000 Small Businesses program also supports entrepreneurs by offering an intensive training program through partner colleges and universities, and by providing business assistance services and a pool of financial resources. Reporting is also built into the foundation's goals, as it closely tracks the success of business owners involved in the program.

10,000 Women is another signature Goldman Sachs Foundation program, similar to the small business program. 10,000 Women provides training, financial support, and business services to female entrepreneurs with a focus 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,  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 the Goldman Sachs Gives fund, which is “committed to fostering innovative ideas, solving economic and social issues, and enabling progress in underserved communities globally.” This is a donor-advised fund through which current and retired employees may recommend grant recipients. They do not accept unsolicited applications.

Goldman seeks its partnerships on an invitation-only basis, which suggests that its foundation is not transparent regarding its criteria for becoming a partner school.

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