Malone Family Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Malone Family Foundation has historically done most of its K-12 education grantmaking through the Malone Scholarship Program, which supports high-achieving secondary students at private schools across the country. Recently, the foundation has launched other projects, including an Atypical Development initiative, and it is also interested in educational research. 

IP TAKE: The Malone Scholarship program has now concluded the endowment phase of this foundation's strategy, with 50 schools under its wing. Its "next educational mission" has yet to be announced, so this is a funder to check back on for updates.

PROFILE: Billionaire John Malone was born in Milford, Connecticut. His father was an engineer, and Malone himself went on to receive an engineering degree from Yale, as well as degrees at Johns Hopkins University and NYU, and has been described by Forbes as "arguably the most powerful man in cable." 

Malone and his wife Leslie are based in Colorado, where they run the Malone Family Foundation, which was established in 1997 and gives away tens of millions of dollars annually. This is good news for K-12 grantseekers, as the foundation's primary focus is on improving access to quality education, particularly for gifted secondary school students "who lack the financial resources to best develop their talents."

The foundation's education philanthropy thus far has mainly taken place through its Malone Scholars Program, which operates at 50 independent secondary schools ("Malone Schools") across the country. From the endowment established by the foundation, each school gives out scholarships to exceptional secondary students ("Malone Scholars") based on merit and financial need. In a recent year, Stanford University also received nearly $5 million towards establishing the Stanford University Online High School, a full-time accredited independent school for gifted 7th-12th grade students "around the globe" who do not have "access to a brick-and-mortar Malone network school." OHS was later named the 50th and final Malone Scholars School. The foundation also runs the Malone Schools Online Network (MSON) for its Malone Schools, providing upper level students (usually juniors and seniors) with additional coursework and curricula to supplement the work at the school. 

Another important (and more recent) Malone project is the Atypical Development initiative. ADI looks to support "developmentally based educational and service delivery centers for children with developmental challenges" as well as "curriculum development for this population, primarily within the context of these centers."

Apart from secondary education providers, another interest of the Malones is higher education, and millions of dollars have gone to Malone's alma maters of Yale and John's Hopkins. Closer to home, Colorado State University also recently received more than $40 million. In the past, the foundation also demonstrated an interest in education research, funding centers throughout the country such as the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford University, and the Civic Education Project at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern, among others, though the degree to which it is currently interested in supporting research projects is less clear. 

According to its website, the Malone Family Foundation is no longer looking for new schools to fund through its Malone Scholars Program, and is preparing for a new phase of its philanthropy. Although the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, grantseekers should stay apprised of the foundation's activities and new philanthropic direction.

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