OVERVIEW: The American Honda Foundation is the U.S. philanthropic branch of the ubiquitous car manufacturer. Since the foundation’s establishment in 1984, it has distributed more than $32 million across every state of the union, with an emphasis on STEM, environmental education, job training, and literacy.
IP TAKE: Program providers who emphasize the innovativity, uniqueness, and broad impact of their projects are most likely to catch this funder's attention. Honda's broad definition of "youth" means that K-12 grantseekers will be in competition with organizations servicing other age groups, and the foundation's K-12 funding is mainly focused on community nonprofits rather than schools.
PROFILE: Like many foundations that are offshoots of their corporate founders, the American Honda Foundation's “basic tenets, beliefs, and philosophies” are largely aligned with those of Honda itself, which it describes as "imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative."
More specifically for K-12 grantseekers, the foundation primarily funds "the scientific education of youth." “Scientific education” in this context is defined as including "the physical and life sciences, mathematics and the environmental sciences," while youths may be anyone “pre-natal through 21 years of age.” K-12 fundraisers should therefore keep in mind that the larger applicant pool will include programs supporting everyone from pregnant mothers to college seniors.
American Honda Foundation has specific goals for its funding. In addition to an emphasis on “innovation,” the foundation is also looking for programs that are non-duplicative of other organizations' work, that draw on "untried methods," that seek a broad impact, and that are “dedicated to improving the human condition of all mankind” within the context of “providing solutions to the complex educational concerns currently facing the American society.”
For organizations that can meet those criteria, the foundation offers significant support. The foundation’s grants range from $20,000 to $75,000 and are year-to-year. The foundation rarely gives directly to specific classroom or even district-wide projects; instead, AHF supports community organizations, either locally-based or chapters of national groups. It particularly supports low-income and underserved populations, including projects that provide inspiration and direct-training for science-related careers. Recent award recipients have worked on projects such as afterschool programs, STEM programs, mentorships, and project-based learning initiatives, among many others. Annual awards dating back to 2005 can be found under the "Grant Awards" heading found at the bottom of the foundation's home page.
Applications for an American Honda Foundation grant are submitted via an online process and reviewed quarterly. Interested organizations can start the process by verifying their eligibility for funding via an online quiz.
- Donna Hammond-Cotton, Senior Program Officer