J. Bulow Campbell Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Atlanta-based Campbell Foundation is a major regional education funder, focusing primarily on Atlanta and the state of Georgia. To a lesser extent, the foundation also makes grants in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina. In the past few years, Campbell has underwritten a few charter grants in these states through its education program.

IP TAKE: The foundation targets privately funded, accredited schools and gives priority to those that are Christian-based, which was part of J. Bulow Campbell's vision from the foundation's beginning. More broadly, the foundation prefers independently funded schools, which leaves the door open for charter schools and related nonprofit organizations, but most of its funding has generally gone to a small, focused network of grantees.

PROFILE: Having awarded more than $640 million since its founding in 1940, The J. Bulow Campbell Foundation is focused on “serving the general welfare of the community, education, youth, public spaces and cultural amenities, and Christian concerns,” mainly in the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

The foundation does not have a specific charter school grantmaking program, so grantseekers will have to compete with everyone else vying for Campbell's grant dollars. Also, those grants that it does award are “for capital funding rather than operating or program support.”  

What does make Campbell an attractive funder for charter nonprofits is its inclusion of funding for individual independent schools, which has included charter schools in the past, and schools have received funding for building new installations such as a library or a science lab. The takeaway is that Campbell has shown a willingness to work with charter organizations. As charter schools continue to expand their footprint in urban areas, they might receive more attention from the foundation. Other grant recipients from Campbell include some of the top charter networks in the country, such as KIPP, and public K-12 ed organizations like Teach for America.

But Campbell certainly isn't the funder for every charter organization. As the foundation itself states, most of its grants go to a small, focused group of nonprofits and independent schools.

With that in mind, you might want to reach out to foundation staff before submitting an initial one-page letter of request (all correspondence should be sent to Associate Director Betsy Verner). Letters are reviewed four times annually, when the Board meets in January, April, July, and October. To be considered for a particular quarter, your letter must arrive no later than the first of that month’s meeting.


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