Gannett Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Gannett Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Gannett Company, of international media and marketing fame. In addition to supporting the future of the media industry, the Gannett Foundation provides a wide range of grants in many different areas.

IP TAKE: The Gannett Company's inclusion of an explicit focus on education is good news for the locally-based organizations in communities where the media powerhouse does business.

PROFILE: The Gannett Foundation is the philanthropic filter for the Gannett Company, an international media and marketing giant. In one recent year, the totality of Gannett Foundation grants and matching gifts programs amounted to $6.6 million of giving, 21 percent of which went to “youth/education.”

Like many foundation offshoots of corporate entities, the Gannett Foundation has a mission to give back to the communities in which the corporation embeds itself. This results in a very long list (nearly 100) of small towns, to the largest of cities, to everything in between—throughout the U.S. and beyond (think Guam) where the Gannett Foundation is supporting community development. (Perhaps you’ve never heard of Opelousas, Louisiana or Bucyrus, Ohio, but you sure do know New York City and Atlanta.)

The Gannett Foundation’s support of these communities flows through its Community Action Grants program. The foundation lists this program’s priorities as:

  • Education and neighborhood improvement 
  • Economic development
  • Youth Development
  • Community problem-solving
  • Assistance to disadvantaged people
  • Environmental conservation
  • Cultural enrichment

Having this broader sense of everything the Gannett Foundation seeks to accomplish within a community can only be valued-added to your cause. Of particular note is that the foundation includes education with “neighborhood improvement,” which indicates that the foundation sees education as a community development issue on the most local of levels.

When it comes to its Community Action Grants—and therefore its K-12 education support—the Gannett Foundation heavily relies on terms such as “grass-roots” and “local.” If you’re a national program that happens to be headquartered in one of Gannett’s communities, this funding isn’t for you, but the foundation will grant to local chapters of national organizations.

In addition to your K-12 education program being explicitly oriented for your local community to implement on a grass-roots level, be sure you’re a 501(c)(3). This includes elementary and secondary schools, but be advised that the foundation only seeks to support school-based projects and initiatives that are beyond a school’s standard scope-of-budget.

Gannett Community Action Grants have an average range of $1,000 to $5,000. Recently distributed grants in the K-12 education realm include:

  • Castor High School (Shreveport, LA) in support of music appreciation and composition program for 1st – 4th grade students;
  • Communities in Schools (Atlanta, GA) in support of its West End Performance Learning Center to help high school students stay in school and earn their diplomas;
  • Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina (Greensboro, NC) in support of its K-12 mentorship program that brings local community business leaders into schools.

Applying for a Gannett Foundation Community Action Grant is also a grass-roots enterprise—proposals should be sent to your local Gannett newspaper or television station. The foundation considers application twice a year, typically with late February and late August deadlines.

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