Dominion Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: Dominion Resources, Inc., is a power and energy company. Its foundation focuses on K-12 and college education, environmental stewardship, community development, and social services in the states in which it works and serves. 

IP TAKE: The Dominion Foundation is deeply committed to supporting education and awards a large number of $1,000-$10,000 grants annually. Its open application process allows for a wide variety of applicants and generally prioritize STEM projects, with a specific interest in community-supported efforts in the study of energy and/or the environment. K-12 schools should note that they must apply by spring to be considered for funding for the following school year.

PROFILE: Dominion is a U.S. energy provider and transporter. Like many companies of its kind, it also runs a foundation, and the Dominion Foundation (previously called the Consolidated Natural Gas Company Foundation) seeks "to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies." Education is one of the Dominion Foundation’s cornerstones. In the K-12 realm, it supports communities in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia (see all the details of geography here).

The Dominion Foundation’s K-12 Educational Partnership program supports "new programs to strengthen students’ mathematics and science skills by studying energy and the environment." A large number of grants are awarded each year, as they usually range from $1,000 to $5,000 (though in some cases they reach as high as $10,000) and through the program the foundation aims to award $500,000 annually. 

In terms of scope and project focus, in recent years the foundation has supported schools, regional and local chapters of national organizations, and smaller community groups. Private schools are also eligible, as long as they are registered with the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and/or are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Some recent examples of K-12 education projects the foundation has supported have included a learning garden, outdoor classrooms, efforts to increase student interest in STEM, and a "trout in the classroom" program in which students raise trout of their own in conjunction with stream and habitat studies. A full list of recent recipients is available on the foundation's recent grant awards page.

In addition to its K-12 Educational Partnership, Dominion also partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED on a "Solar for Schools" program for the 2015-2016 school year to provide solar panels and related educational materials and training to a small number of Virginia-based schools. Beyond its K-12 support, Dominion also offers grants in the focus areas of Critical Community Needs, Environmental Stewardship, and Higher Education. 

Dominion is explicit and direct in explaining what it is looking for in a successful K-12 proposal. Applicants are expected to clearly describe the proposed program, target population, anticipated outcomes, evaluation methods, and plans for sustainability beyond the grant period. Moreover, grantseekers should be able to demonstrate how the program is innovative, that it "meets a compelling need," that it has community support, that it will "reach a significant number of students," and that it will be thoroughly planned, documented, and evaluated. The foundation's web site provides sample grants to emulate. 

A major plus for qualifying applicants is Dominion's open application process.  Applications are reviewed quarterly, with the exception of K-12 school applications, which are to be submitted in early spring to receive awards for the following school year. 

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