Historically, secondary and elementary education has been the second-most funded education cause, just after colleges and universities. That's fabulous news for all the K-12 nonprofits and public schools out there. For over a decade, there's also been a surge in funding for charter schools and networks (especially those in underserved communities), and education researchers and policy advocates are also eligible for support. The bottom line: There are funders for just about every type of K-12 project.
We are tracking what K-12 funders are doing, and what we're learning is captured in this guide. All the profiles of funders and program officers in the guide are updated regularly, and we continue to add new profiles.
This funder doesn't give out that many grants, and mainly focuses on California. But it does give to organizations elsewhere, and its application process is open, with broad guidelines.
The Alcoa Foundation approaches education on multiple fronts—by supporting large global organizations, by investing in small community organizations, and by creating partnership initiatives.
This funder's support of K-12 education is all STEM and/or environment-focused, and it’s primarily in support of community organizations rather than schools.
If your education program is doing great things for troubled youth in California or New England, definitely try to get on this foundation’s radar.
The huge Anschutz Foundation focuses its education philanthropy in Denver, but also gives limited amounts to national ed groups and schools outside Colorado.
This small but passionate funder dedicates itself to integrating environmental classroom learning with hands-on field study for K-12 students, particularly projects that focus on ecology and conservation.
The Arnold Foundation Education Initiative’s core strategy is to award grants to organizations that increase the number of high-quality educators, increase public engagement in K-12 education issues, and research and develop innovative education initiatives.
It can be tough to tap into AT&T's giving. One way in is through the AT&T Aspire program for innovation in STEM education.
The philanthropic arm of one of the largest U.S. banks supports K-12 education with an eye toward 21st century workforce development. Its support focuses on community programs rather than individual schools.
K-12 giving goes out nationwide to support "transformative learning environments that contribute to strengthening civil society."
This funder is mainly focused in the Southwest, but its ed money occasionally finds its way elsewhere. Its support of education is geared toward college readiness and college achievement.
The ice cream innovators support grassroots efforts for activism and change, with youth as a central focus. Education is key, but the foundation does not give money directly to schools or school-based programs.
The retail giant's philanthropy arm is open to many tech education approaches for teens, with an eye toward preparing kids for college and career. Funds both national and community-level programs.
The Bezos Family Foundation, built and run by the parents of Amazon's founder, is solely dedicated to enriching education for students—starting before formal education begins, continuing through K-12 education, and positioning students for college success and enriched lives.
The giant aerospace company is strongly committed to STEM education, but its grantmaking is wider in scope than that, including other parts of K-12 education.
Unlike many smaller, family-operated foundations, this funder has an open application process and supports innovative K-12 education programs all around the country.
The Broad Foundation focuses its K-12 grantmaking in urban areas only. It does not award grants to individual schools, but rather to entire school districts, charter management organizations, and research aligned with its focus.
If your organization is located in a community where Broadcom has a "significant presence," and you are looking to get middle schoolers excited about STEM, modest funding is available through Broadcom’s Community program.
Philanthropic arm of the international law firm supports education in inner-city communities where the firm has a presence.
The Buck Foundation awards millions of dollars in grants to charter school general operations and exapnsion, out-of-school K-12 STEM ed organizations, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Grants are awarded primarily (though not exclusively) in Connecticut and New York.
A restricted fund of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the foundation funds the purchase of reading and learning materials for school libraries at K-12 institutions with a high percentage of needy kids.
Calder's program areas are charter and parochial schools, teacher and leadership development, public policy, and STEM-related capital projects. There are no geographic limitations, but funding has tended to support organizations in the eastern U.S.
The Campbell Foundation prioritizes organizations "that benefit the development and preservation of the Christian faith,” especially those in Atlanta. Yet independent schools, charters, and education organizations in the other states (Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina) where Campbell gives support are also on its grantmaking radar.
Founded by media mogul Ted Turner and currently chaired by his daughter, the Captain Planet Foundation is dedicated to the environmental education of children in all aspects of their lives.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has a storied history in education funding, and it's one of the most influential K-12 funders in the United States.
The charitable vehicle of businessman Russell Carson and his family, the Carson Trust's K-12 interests include charters, arts education, teacher training, Catholic schools, and out-of-school programs, primarily in New York City. Unfortunately, the trust doesn't have a website or clear means of applying for funding.
This funder approaches education initiatives aligned with its mission of supporting underserved children and their families.
The bank's charitable arm has lately given in limited amounts to K-12 education, with more emphasis on youth development and entrepreneurship. Funds go to programs in states where the bank has a business presence.
This foundation doesn’t have a specific category of K-12 education giving, but in practice, shows a consistent focus on this age group through its support of arts education and environmental education.
Charter School Growth Fund awards millions in charter school grants and loans around the country. "Growth" is the key word, as it's been aggressive in supporting the expansion of top charter schools and networks.
Citigroup’s corporate foundation offers K-12 grantmaking through its Youth Economic Opportunities program. Citi awards its grants to organizations that work with low- to moderate-income families, but proposals and inquiries are by invitation only.
The Coca-Cola Foundation and its affiliates back K-12 education efforts in the U.S. and around the globe. Many education grants include an overlapping focus on community, physical health or environmental stewardship.
The Cohen Foundation gives mainly in Connecticut and New York, but several outfits around the country have also received funding. Its primary K-12 focus is on education reform and charter schools, but it has also supported education, the arts, out-of-school education, and college prep.
While it doesn't have a specific education focus, the foundation funds K-12 education, particularly schools and school districts, through its commitment to both community service and youth development, with an overarching goal of achieving diversity.
In addition to its support for early childhood education, the Daniels Fund also has a presence in K-12 education funding, especially for charter schools and school choice programs in the four-state region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
Dell's K-12 grantmaking focuses on improving the quality of urban education in the U.S., India and South Africa. Its Dell Scholars Program offers U.S. students college prep grants and scholarships through its Urban Education Program.
The Dodge Foundation focuses its grantmaking efforts in New Jersey. Arts programs designed to benefit teenagers continually attract funding.
The philanthropic arm of Dollar General Stores supports youth and adult literacy in traditional classrooms and beyond—in all of the states you can find its stores, which includes most of the U.S.
This funder is the philanthropic arm of an energy company. In the K-12 realm, Dominion supports STEM learning about the environment and/or energy to schools and organizations in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
The insurance company makes grants to K-12 teachers to support a wide range of teacher-driven efforts to benefit communities.
These founders of Gap, Inc. award grants to a small number of longtime grantees in K-12 that work toward increasing student achievement, providing a high-quality education to all students, and the creation and replication of high-performing public charter schools.
This law firm foundation is built on a “tradition to aid those with limited resources,” which includes its take on funding K-12 education programs. While grants are small, it has an open application process and offers general operating support.
Funder from famed music publisher Max Dreyfus, who worked with American greats like George Gershwin and Cole Porter, interested in providing smaller grants that can make a big difference.
While the foundation of retired hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller's main education commitment has been to the Harlem Children's Zone, money flows to other education groups, too, and the foundation has ramped up its giving in recent years.
Ecolab Foundation has a focus on at-risk students and STEM programming through support for classroom educators in Ecolab communities.
The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Foundation gives grants to community, regional and national initiatives in support of education, youth development, military families, and multicultural inclusion.
FirstEnergy gives modest amounts to K-12 STEM classroom projects in communities it services, and also provides funding to community-organization K-12 education initiatives that can have a wider-ranging scope.
This funder supports a wide range of K-12 education programs, including individual schools, community programs, and education management nonprofits throughout the U.S. and beyond.
This funder supports independent, private secondary schools (grades 9-12) across the country, with a particular focus on advancing best practices in teaching and learning.
Following its recent restructuring, Ford's Youth Education and Opportunity program is its vehicle for funding K-12 education organizations.
The fund's ed grantmaking creates partnerships to support public school districts, programs that serve large communities and entire cities, and roadmaps for keeping under-served students in school.
A donor-supported nonprofit that gives grants to pre-K through 12th grade teachers for “self-designed professional development and scholarly exploration.” Grants go directly to teachers, and individuals or teams may apply.
The media company's commitment to developing the many communities where it operates including an explicit focus on education.
The College-Ready Education Strategy at Gates awards K-12 education grants in Teaching, Learning and Innovation programs. Historically, public school systems have received the most attention and money from Gates.
The GE Foundation gives through its Developing Futures in Education program, through which it is currently committed to the betterment of school districts in Louisville, Cincinnati, Stamford, Erie, Atlanta, New York City and Milwaukee.
This funder gives a large number of grants to individual schools and school districts for general operating support. But it also has specific education focuses on literacy and job readiness.
This funder gives to education (both nationally and internationally) through its Goldman Sachs Gives initiative. This program gives big and promotes big—and therefore expects its partners to have a big presence and big plans.
Hearst tends to focus its grantmaking on higher education, but it does award grants for “innovative models of... K-12 education, as well as professional development."
Hecksher’s K-12 grantmaking supports schools and nonprofits in New York City and nationwide. Its scope is fairly broad, and its goals include improving grades and test scores, and increasing high school graduation, college admissions, and graduation rates.
This funder’s agenda is to improve college access and success for students in Arizona and Florida. Its K-12 grantmaking activities include early childhood education (through grade three), the transition from middle to high school, and college readiness.
Hewlett’s education reform grantmaking applies to California only, but its Deeper Learning and Open Educational Resources programs award grants nationally.
Technology is in the DNA of the Intel Corporation. Through the corporation and its foundation, Intel offers free teacher resources, an "accelerator" program for startup nonprofits, high school science and technology fairs and competitions, and a matching grants program for employee donations. Geographic limitations may apply, depending on the program.
Through its Linked Learning initiative, the James Irvine Foundation builds stronger pathways between K-12 and higher education systems, with a focus on specific regions in the Golden State.
If you don't work in Los Angeles, the foundation of billionaire Bruce Karsh will likely be a dead end, since its national-level funding is highly selective. But Karsh is a major ally to ed reformers and could eventually expand giving.
Kauffman concentrates most of its funding on charter organizations and networks with a presence in the Kansas City area, as well as funding its own charter school. It also funds a variety of K-12 initiatives that support both charters and traditional public schools, as well as grants for education research.
Established about 70 years ago by the founder of candy bar maker Peter Paul Inc., the foundation funds nonprofits that create K-12 education programs to teach economic literacy, with a goal of social uplift.
Kellogg's ed funding spans pre-natal care through college and career readiness, with a primary concentration on birth through age eight. Its approach is holisitic, seeking to engage governmental and educational institutions, teachers, and parents, in addition to the students themselves. Kellogg is also a big supporter of the charter school movement.
The Kern Family Foundation is a major player in charter schools and other school choice programs, though it also works with non-charter organizations. Kern's efforts are geared at large-scale, systemic change, and it does not accept unsolicited proposals.
K-12 grants from the Knight Foundation go to innovative nonprofits that engage diverse groups in the arts and arts education at multiple levels. Innovation is key, and grants support a wide variety of organizations and approaches.
This private equity billionaire and his wife give for arts, culture, and higher education, but they also care about K-12 education and have been ramping up their giving in this area in recent years, mainly in the New York City area.
Though this foundation offers little information regarding specific grantmaking guidelines and does not maintain a web site, it has given a large share of grants to K-12 schools and nonprofits around the country, and especially in New York City and its surrounding areas.
This charitable arm of the home improvement chain supports schools needing renovations, facilities safety improvements, technology upgrades, and tools for STEM projects.
Macy’s gives substantially in the K-12 realm through its foundation for national and high profile programming, but much more of it occurs locally through the corporation.
The philanthropic arm of the real estate development firm supports K-12 education and youth development in the eight regions of the country where the company conducts business.
The foundation of the billionaire media mogul John Malone supports gifted students and research into their needs. It also has an interest in developmental disorders.
Established by two education professors, this funder supports K-12 education by funding classroom programs and professional development for educators anywhere in the United States.
Meadows wants to impact the educational landscape of Texas, especially through programs that close the achievement gaps separating different ethnic groups and ensuring more students across the Lone Star State are ready for college.
Established by fans of Phish, the consummate jam band, the foundation raises funds for music education and disburses it to schools around the country.
If your nonprofit is working on new and improved “science learning assessments” or operates a science and technology museum in California’s Bay Area, Moore may be the foundation for you. Outside of this area, however, K-12 education funding is limited, and the foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals.
If you want to stimulate young people's interest in pursuing STEM studies and are concerned with reaching out to populations underrepresented in the STEM fields, this funder may hold the key. Keep in mind that Motorola prioritizes projects in areas where it has a corporate presence.
Mott's K-12 education giving supports community-driven programs, and those that put power in the hands of students, parents, teachers and community leaders. It's been a leader in funding afterschool.
An offshoot of the National Art Education Association, the foundation’s goal is to improve and promote visual arts education and support teachers working in the field.
This group awards professional grants in support of K-12 education through its Mathematics Education Trust. Funds go toward professional development, curriculum support, and specific classroom projects.
The NEA Foundation champions public school education by providing grants, awards, resources and visibility to public school educators, school districts, and education-related unions.
NewSchools Venture Fund is a venture philanthropy outfit. It pools its funders' money and makes grants to innovative organizations that are working to “transform public education for low-income children.” It was founded, and remains heavily backed, by tech industry leaders.
Funded largely by the Gates Foundation, the NGLC network is driven to improve student outcomes through innovative strategies for teaching, learning and assessment. It is especially interested in ensuring college readiness and completion. For K-12 funders, the key programs are "K-12 Breakthrough Models" and "K-12 Tech Innovation."
Northrop Grumman places primary focus on STEM education, giving both through national programs (though the Northrop Grumman Foundation) and local, community-driven K-12 education programs (through its Corporate Citizenship program).
The philanthropic vehicle of William Oberndorf and his wife Susan has provided support for education reform, school choice groups, and charter schools, but making initial contact with this Bay Area-based funder may prove challenging.
Grantmaking at O’Donnell is rather narrow with its Advanced Placement Incentive Program. This program awards grants to organizations that give students the opportunity to take AP classes in high school.
Open Society's Education and Youth program funds K-12 education grants. One current hot funding topic is black male achievement.
The philanthropic arm of the investment management firm supports educational success and college readiness for low-income, high-need students.
This funder's ed giving primarily focuses on STEM education. If you’re not with a national-level education initiative, your K-12 education program should be focused on a community where PPG Industries does business.
The foundation of the power couple Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert is a steady funder of organizations focused on education, arts and culture, and health and fitness—the latter two categories are also geared heavily toward young people. Fundraisers should be aware that the majority of PTFF's grantmaking is focused on Chicago organizations.
K-12 education is a major focus area for the PwC Foundation. It gives directly to schools in 35 states (public, private, and charter), school districts, and organizations working in the K-12 realm.
After five decades, the foundation announced that it will wind down operations and distribute assets equally between two new foundations, the Kozmetsky Family Foundation and the Reissa Foundation.
Headed up by hedge fund billionaire Larry Robbins, this funder focuses mostly on national organizations, New York, and Robbins' home state of Illinois. The foundation supports charter schools, education reform, ending childhood poverty, and other initiatives that interface with education.
Another grantmaker in the K-12 school reform push, the Robertson Foundation awards grants to organizations working toward accountability and closing the achievement gap.
One of Satter's many priorities is education reform (both charters and advocacy organizations) in Chicago, but the foundation also backs national conservative policy organizations whose portfolios include education work.
This funder aims to impact K-12 education across the country and in its hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is especially interested in education reform and exploring new approaches to education.
The Schwab Foundation’s main K-12 concern is education reform, but it's also interested in areas like ed tech and research on educational innovations. Its main geographic focus is California, but organizations outside the Golden State also receive funding.
The K-12 funding of the telecommunication giant’s philanthropic arm primarily focuses on urban schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area, though organizations outside this region are also eligible for support.
Staples Foundation is very much in the K-12 education game, especially for underserved students. For its top-level giving, the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, preferring to meet grantees through staff at local stores.
State Farm supports K-12 education by giving big checks to education organizations, emphasizing some stalwarts. But it also makes some unexpected choices by supporting student-driven initiatives. The State Farm Companies Foundation, a separate entity, provides scholarships and supports "associate-driven" initiatives and volunteer efforts.
The Starr Foundation awards need-based financial aid to help students who would like to attend tuition-based secondary schools. Starr also supports U.S. students who would like to study abroad and foreign students who would like to study in the U.S. Unfortunately, unsolicited proposals or other materials are not accepted.
This family foundation funds K-12 education efforts both in Toledo, Ohio (where the foundation is based) and beyond.
The Surdna Foundation’s mission is focused on “sustainable communities” with a community-based strategy geared toward social justice. K-12 grantseekers should apply through Surdna's Teens' Artistic and Cultural Advancement sub-program.
Target's philanthropic giving has recently shifted toward healthy eating and wellness. This includes a significant youth and K-12 component, and grantseekers should research upcoming or recent awards for a better sense of Target's current funding strategy.
Tosa is huge grantmaker in K-12 education that does not seem to favor big education names over lesser-known organizations, but information for grantseekers is hard to come by. A large portion of its giving is directed to recipients in California, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.
This foundation likes direct impact. It doles out grants to K-12 STEM projects that teachers implement in the classroom, including funding for the materials needed to make those projects happen.
Travelers is all about improving K-12 academic achievement and developing student readiness for life after high school whether that be college or a career. Preference is given to organizations in Hartford, Connecticut, and St. Paul, Minnesota, though support for grantseekers outside of those areas isn't out of the question.
Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones is well known for his anti-poverty work, but he's also been a longtime supporter of charter schools, networks, and advocacy groups, mainly in New York and Connecticut. The foundation also supports literacy and scholarship programs, as well as a number of organizations in Australia and the U.K.
Union Pacific Foundation places an emphasis on K-12 education through its support of community organizations and programs (rather than school-based initiatives).
The U.S Bancorp Foundation is a significant grantor of K-12 education programs—including for general operating costs—viewing this support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift.
The philanthropic offshoot of Voya Financial (formerly known as ING), the foundation’s primary focus is children’s education, particularly through its signature Unsung Heroes program.
This funder concentrates its grantmaking activities on fostering effective school leaders, supporting afterschool and other enrichment programs, and building appreciation for the arts. It tends to favor research-based project ideas.
The Walton Family Foundation is a giant ed funder that awards grants to organizations that are creating new charter schools, improving existing schools or working to change public education policies.
Wells Fargo's giving priorities are subdivided by state, and sometimes also by regions within those states. Gives to K-12 programs in 40 states.
WEM's education grantmaking involves charters, education advocacy groups, and scholarships. There is also the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Program, which awards funds to educators, administrators, and academic challenge coaches from Minnesota public or non-public schools and educational institutions.
The Wilson Fellowship Foundation dedicates its efforts to building the nation's future leaders and scholars. But it's not just about the ivory tower; this funder also awards fellowships to attract and train outstanding STEM teachers in high-need secondary schools in select states.
K-12 funding prioritizes efforts to provide minority and underserved K-12 student populations with access to high-quality education—especially STEM study and career mentorship.