American Express: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: American Express supports colleges and academic institutions across the United States; however, it prioritizes giving in Phoenix, New York City, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, South Florida, and Washington D.C.

IP TAKE: This corporate funder supports a wide range of higher education projects and programs. 

PROFILE: Global financial services company American Express conducts its philanthropic work through the American Express Corporate Social Responsibility program, which broadly seeks to "bring to life the American Express value of good corporate citizenship by supporting communities in ways that enhance the company's reputation with employees, customers, business partners and other stakeholders."  The program awards grants in Leadership, Historic Preservation, and Community Service.

American Express does not prioritize higher education, but it awards most of its higher education grants through its Leadership program, which has the goal of “creating and funding programs that strengthen leaders within nonprofit and social purpose organizations working to solve the world's biggest challenges.” Past grantees include the Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation, which received a grant for its Leadership Fellowship’s program, and Georgetown University, which received a grant for its New Strategies program. To learn more about American Express grantees, explore its most recent grants list.

Institutions of higher education may also consider American Express’s other focus areas, if their missions align. Its historical preservation program supports “projects that help communities preserve or rediscover major historic landmarks and public spaces, providing sustainable, ongoing access to the public, now and in the future,” while its community service program prefers to “partner with nonprofit organizations to build volunteerism into their business model, focusing on long-term engagement rather than one-off events.” It prioritizes “building the capacity of nonprofits by assisting them in developing, engaging and retaining community members as volunteers.”

American Express grants range from $5,000 to $1.5 million. Most grants, however, typically fall in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. While it awards grants to organizations located across the United States, it prioritizes Phoenix, New York City, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, South Florida, and Washington D.C.

American Express accepts unsolicited grant applications from eligible organizations on a rolling basis. PEOPLE:

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