KPMG Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The KPMG Foundation is the charitable arm of the major accounting firm KPMG. It funds higher ed with a focus on business education through partnerships with funding for select organizations, scholarships, sponsorship of academic conferences, and a matching gifts program.

IP TAKE: The KPMG Foundation’s business-oriented higher ed philanthropy gives big for both education and diversity initiatives, but this is a funder that needs to come to you - unsolicited proposals are not accepted.

PROFILE:  The KPMG Foundation was founded in 1968 as the charitable arm of the major accounting firm KPMG, which traces its roots back more than three centuries and has a presence in over 150 countries. In 2005, the firm admitted to major wrongdoing. Six former KPMG LLP partners and the former deputy chairman of the firm were accused of designing and marketing illegal tax shelters for its clients that claimed $11 billion dollars in bogus tax losses. In what was then the largest criminal tax case ever filed, KPMG paid a fine of $456 million for criminal violations that, according to the IRS, “cost the United States at least $2.5 billion dollars in evaded taxes.”

Today, KPMG touts its responsibility “as a steward of the capital markets.” It now states that its corporate responsibility includes “Integrity, Corporate Citizenship, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Environment.”

The KPMG Foundation backs capitalism and free enterprise as the road to success. The foundation’s stated intention is to “bring about systemic change in business and society” through encouraging “an increase in the diversity of ideas.” Its strategy is to embrace a “multiplier effect”: by giving to a single program, the foundation will impact many, or as the foundation puts it, “It's a burgeoning of knowledge, a proliferating of ideas, a propagating of understanding.”

There are several higher ed KPMG initiatives that warrant notice. One is ENACTUS, a nonprofit active on more than 1,600 campuses in 37 countries that “works in partnership with business and higher education to provide college and university students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills through learning, practicing, and teaching the principles of free enterprise.” The KPMG Foundation is also providing a three-year support grant to Campus Compact, “a coalition of 1,100 college and university presidents committed to educating students for active citizenship and building strong communities.” Additionally, foundation supports the Beta Alpha Psi Scholarship Program, which “encourages community involvement for Financial Information students and professionals.” The KPMG Foundation allots $100,000 per year “to fund ‘superior’ chapters and ‘gold chapter’ awards.”

At the advanced end of the academic spectrum, there are the KPMG Foundation Minority Accounting Doctoral Scholarships. The scholarships offer $10,000 each to African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American doctoral students in order “to further increase the completion rate among African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American doctoral students.” There is also a related outreach program, the Ph.D. Project, which works "to increase the diversity of business school faculty by attracting African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Native Americans to business doctoral programs and providing a network of support during their doctoral programs." Alumni and scholars affiliated with the Ph.D. Project are also encouraged to engage with middle and high school students through Junior Achievement, a partner that KPMG describes as “the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.”

The KPMG Foundation also sponsors several academic conferences throughout the academic year for organizations including the American Accounting Association, the American Tax Association Doctoral Consortium, New York University Journal of Law, the University of Chicago Journal of Accounting, the University of Illinois, and the University of North Carolina.

The foundation also provides opportunities for its parent company’s employees to directly support institutions of higher ed. Through its Matching Gifts Program, partners and employees of parent KPMG LLP fund their alma maters as well as the more than 50 professorships around the country that the foundation “established and continues to fund.”

KPMG Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for grants, but its staff does look for organizations and opportunities that align with the ends it supports. To get your group on their radar, contact the foundation at us-kpmgfoundation@kpmg.com.

PEOPLE:

  • Rebecca P. Sproul, KPMG LLP Partner, National Managing Partner of University Relations and Recruiting
  • Bernie Milano, President, KPMG Foundation
  • Tara Perino, Director, KPMG Foundation

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