OVERVIEW: Boeing is the second-largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world, and it awards grants with a scope and breadth that is commensurate with that. Primary areas of focus are education, workforce development, the environment, financial stability and health—but there are more opportunities, as well.
IP TAKE: To position yourself in the strongest way possible, look for ways to engage Boeing employees in your K–12 project. STEM is one key priority.
PROFILE: As the second-largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world, it comes as no surprise that Boeing is committed to STEM education. But Boeing’s grant giving is wider in scope than that, including other parts of K–12 education.
In the most general terms, Boeing states that it supports “organizations that are leaders in what they do, demonstrate innovation, and align and collaborate with others to achieve workable solutions to community issues.” This includes its K–12 education support, which often extends beyond STEM education to include arts and culture education and environmental education.
The “often” is because Boeing’s areas of K–12 education focus vary by state across the 20 states (plus Washington, D.C.) where it provides grants. Boeing provides a user-friendly drop down to select your state and see more details about its K–12 giving focus, deadlines, and contacts. Areas of emphasis vary, but a prevalent commonality is a focus on providing support for professional and curriculum development. (Some states, like California, take this focus on professional and curriculum development to the extreme by stating outright that they will not directly fund schools themselves, only districts and outside organizations creating K–12 education and leadership development change.) An example: Boeing recently gave $25,000 to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence to support sending the state’s public school teachers to STEM professional development conferences.
In the K–12 environmental education realm, the Aquarium of the Pacific received a grant to create the 2015 Boeing Teacher Institute, a week-long intensive that introduces teachers to the “Southern California’s diverse ecosystems and current research being conducted by local scientists.” As you can glean from the name of this program, Boeing likes being involved in its granting—in name, but even more so in participation. Your proposal will be stronger for suggesting ways to engage with the company and its employees.
There’s another funding stream through which to engage those Boeing employees, too. It’s called the Employees Community Fund of The Boeing Company, bankrolled solely by Boeing employee donations. It also breaks down its giving—and giving priorities—by state, and sometimes region within a state. There are 19 different community funds (across 17 different states, plus D.C.), and the website also provides an excellent drop-down menu for these purposes to share specific guidelines for each of these funds. Not all of these community funds are committed to K–12 education, but many of them are, often in significant ways.
There are valuable opportunities for K–12 funding through Boeing, if your program syncs up with regional priorities. Check out those drop-down lists to get started.
- Lianne Stein, Vice President for Global Corporate Citizenship