OVERVIEW: The Beaumont Foundation has a broad social mission to help "less fortunate children and youth, families, and the elderly." Education funding figures prominently in its work, with much of it geared towards college readiness and college achievement and a special focus on the area of East Texas. Education funding supports academia at all levels, so K-12 grantseekers will be competing with higher ed organizations for the same education funds.
IP TAKE: Beaumont believes that college success leads to life success in work, family, and community. A wonderfully inclusive goal, but getting funding is competitive: the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, so they need to find you.
PROFILE: The Beaumont Foundation was established in 2001 for a very specific reason: The technology behemoth Toshiba had to provide restitution stemming from a national class-action lawsuit involving faulty computer equipment. The case settled for more than $2 billion, with an arrangement that any unclaimed funds would go into a foundation with the mission to “close the digital divide in all 50 states.” The Beaumont Foundation was born.
These days, the Beaumont Foundation has shed that skin (and its affiliation with Toshiba). It now focuses on bettering communities—particularly in East Texas—by supporting education, social services, and health services for children, families, and the elderly. In recent years, the biggest piece of the foundation’s pie went to its Education program.
The Beaumont Foundation describes its philosophical approach to its education support in this way:
Knowledge empowers choices that influence our social and family environment, health and mental well being, career and income, home and neighborhood, and community and world view. The correlation between quality of education and quality of life is undeniable. It is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth.
Its education program therefore focuses largely on college readiness and college success, with the longer-term aim of strengthening under-served and low-income communities. As the foundation puts it, this focus manifests in:
increas[ing] access for young people, especially those who face greater challenges in life, to attend and graduate from college through grants and endowments for scholarships to colleges and universities, (2) promote excellence in education with special emphasis on expanding and enhancing the availability of high-quality college preparation programs for disadvantaged children and youth, and (3) recognize and reward superior contribu- tions of teachers whose leadership and dedication inspire a spirit of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.
The foundation primarily focuses on east Texas, but its giving in education is certainly not limited to that region.
The foundation keeps the specific nature of the programs it supports impressively sub rosa (not even any press releases to be found from its recipients touting the projects the foundation supports). Deduced from the minimal information available, it’s clear that the Beaumont Foundation is loyal; many of the same schools and organizations make the list year after year in amounts ranging from $7,500 to $250,000. The institutions the Beaumont Foundation supports are frequently private ones, and many (though certainly not all) have faith-based affiliations.
The Beaumont Foundation also recognizes a number of teachers in Texas and New Mexico annually through its Excellence in Education Program, which awards teachers $10,000 for their "superior contribution." These cash prizes go to the teachers themselves (not their classrooms).
Separately, Beaumont also has a Children and Youth program that partners with "non-profit organizations who strive to improve the conditions of children who are living in less fortunate situations."
Seeing the shape of whom (if not precisely what) the Beaumont Foundation supports is important, because they do not accept unsolicited letters or proposals. They have to find and invite you. If you’re looking for your entrée to making that happen, best to start by perusing its Board of Directors and the foundation staff (see below).