PPG Industries Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: PPG Industries Foundation is the philanthropic arm of PPG Industries, and focuses on education, civic development, arts and culture, and human services by providing grants to national programs and community organizations. When it comes to K-12 education, PPG Industries Foundation primarily focuses on STEM education.

IP TAKE: If you’re not a national-level education initiative, be sure your K-12 education program is centered in a community where PPG Industries has a business presence (the good news: there are many).

PROFILE: PPG Industries Foundation was established in 1951 as the philanthropic arm of PPG Industries, to “demonstrate the values” of the corporation “by enhancing the quality of life in communities where it has a presence.”

That presence is composed of more than 40 communities and cities in 17 states across the country, including a particularly fondness for Pittsburgh, where the corporation is headquartered. The foundation also supports national-level K-12 education initiatives. No matter where your program takes place, you must either be a 501(c)3 or a school/public organization; though the foundation supports many outside-of-school programs, it’s also committed to funding schools directly (public, charter, and private).

STEM education is at the forefront for PPG Industries Foundation, so much so that the foundation declares a specific STEM Support Statement on its website. The thrust of that statement is that the foundation is keen to education students in the arena in which its corporation pursues its industry, and that the foundation seeks to pay particular attention to underserved student populations. Neither of these aspects is revolutionary in the world of corporate support for K-12 education, but it’s always good to be aware.

The foundation does differentiate itself by also stating that it supports students who are already on a track of “high academic achievement,” in order to ensure these K-12 achievers become and remain attracted to the study of science. At the K-12 level, the foundation is also interested in programs that “impact on quality of teaching and motivate students to realize their potential.” Its giving also shows a commitment to reading skills and literacy.

PPG Industries Foundation has an open application process. It used to involve contacting community liaisons (or corporate headquarters if you were a national or Pittsburgh-based program). That open application process has recently moved online for all giving, and all grant applications are now assessed by the foundation’s Screening Committee and Board of Directors.

When it comes to selected winning grant applications, PPG Industries Foundation assesses your program’s financial needs, but also looks for you to have other established financial resources. It wants your K-12 education program to have scope and impact, but also seeks to support programs that are uniquely designed and situated to fulfill a need. The foundation also assesses your organization’s “capability and reputation,” so be sure to market yourself in appropriately positive terms.

Recent recipients of K-12 education grants from PPG Industries Foundation include this sampling:

                                                  PPG Industries Foundation also gives to a basketful of Junior Achievement chapters. In 2012, this amounted to $8,150 across seven locations. And although it’s tangentially related to K-12 education, it’s worth noting that the PPG Industries Foundation gives more than $350,000 annually to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The News section of PPG Foundation's website shares press releases related to its most recent giving, a good resource for you to keep up to date on the foundation's choices and direction in K-12 education support.

                                                  PPG Industries Foundation reviews online applications on a “regular” basis. If it’s interested, you’ll hear more. Its rejection process is a gentle, passive one; if your proposal doesn’t meet its “strategic interests,” you simply won’t hear back from the foundation.


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