Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF) funds college access programs. Most of its work prioritizes college advising and other efforts designed to improve college access among students with high potential, but low incomes.

IP TAKE: JKCF's awards are few, and it rarely funds unsolicited proposals. Organizations committed to increasing the number of underserved students who earn a post-secondary degree should consider approaching this funder.

PROFILE: The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, established in 2000, believes far too many low-income students fall short of their educational potential through lack of challenge in school and the high cost of a college education. Headquartered in Landsdowne, Virginia, JKCF works at “providing students both counseling and financial support from middle school to graduate school” through “significant grants for noteworthy and innovative initiatives that support high-performing, low-income students.” JKCF supports this mission through a combination of scholarship programs and grantmaking activities.

JKCF conducts higher education grantmaking through a variety of scholarships. Among them, Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships work to “encourage and support outstanding students who work hard and have financial need” through high school, college, and graduate school. Cooke Scholars receive funding and guidance from advisers and mentorship from professionals and civic leaders. In addition, the College Scholarship Program, available to high school seniors, provides “up to $40,000 per year, college planning support, ongoing advising, and the opportunity to network with the larger Cooke Scholar community.” The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship supports “the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges or universities” and also provides up to $40,000 per year.

Through its Grant program, JKCF also “partners with educational leaders that share our commitment to advance the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need.” The foundation often awards millions of dollars a year in artistic development and academic achievement grants. Its College Access and Excellence partners with Northern Virginia Community College, the National College Advising Corp, and the Community College Transfer Initiative.

Grants range from $50,000 to $500,000. More information on the foundation’s partnerships may be found in its Grants Database.

Individuals may apply to JKCF’s scholarships, but the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for any of its grants. It encourages interested grantseekers to subscribe to its newsletter for future information on possible opportunities.

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