KPMG Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

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

IP TAKE: The KPMG Foundation’s business-oriented higher education philanthropy funds both education and diversity initiatives. However, this funder does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE:  The KPMG Foundation was established 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.” The foundation invests in all levels of education, from primary to post-graduate.

KPMG partners with or supports colleges and universities through a variety of program areas:

  • Primary/Secondary—partnerships include the National Academy Foundation, which is “a leader in preparing young people for college and career success,” and Junior Achievement, “the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential programs.”

  • Undergraduate—The Beta Alpha Psi Scholarship Program “awards $100,000 per year to be used to fund “superior” chapters and “gold chapter” awards. The Foundation also provides a $10,000 grant to offset expenses for BAP’s annual Student Community Service Day.”

  • GraduateMinority Accounting Doctoral Scholarships “aim to further increase the completion rate among African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American doctoral students.” Meanwhile, the PhD Project “reaches out to bright, highly motivated minority individuals, encouraging them to consider doctoral studies in business and careers as business professors.”

  • Faculty—KPMG sponsors dozens of academic conferences in the fields of accounting and tax policy, while the Campus Compact “is a national coalition of more than 1,000 college and university presidents – representing some 6 million students – dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education.”

  • KPMG Professorships—The foundation currently sponsors endowed professorships at 52 universities across the nation.

The KPMG Foundation is not transparent about its giving to various partner organizations, although it does publish Annual Reports. Unfortunately, the foundation prefers to seek its own partnerships and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

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