Sprint Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Sprint Foundation, the telecommunication giant’s philanthropic arm, supports education, youth development, arts and culture, the environment and other areas where it sees critical need.

IP TAKE: The Sprint Foundation’s commitment to K-12 education primarily focuses on urban schools and is mostly constrained to the Kansas City metropolitan area, but K-12 organizations outside this area are still eligible for support.

PROFILE:  With a goal of serving as "as a champion for our communities," the Sprint foundation's giving includes a specific focus on education, with a special emphasis on "character-education initiatives." In addition, grantseekers serving K-12 youth may also be eligible for funding through its arts and culture, youth development, or community development giving areas (the foundation also gives to support disaster relief).

Where the Sprint Foundation does specifically declare itself is in its geography. Its corporate headquarters are in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb in the Kansas City area, and that is where the foundation focuses a lot of its giving. Applications for funding in other regions "are considered on a case-by-case basis." 

In the past, Sprint has offered K-12 support through donation of high-end technology materials. These partnerships were big in concept and specific in telecommunications execution. More recently, the foundation has highlighted several major contributions, including "$1 million to support an endowed professorship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute of Urban Education" with the goal of developing a model for reducing teacher turnover at urban schools," $300,000 over five years to support Junior Achievement, an organization "dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs," and $2 million over 8 years for the Partnership for Regional Educational Preparation-Kansas City, which serves urban youth by providing materials and improving college readiness.

Over the last decade, Sprint has also provided matching gifts of nearly $3 million for "K-12 institutions" in a variety of regions. These donations have generally tended to be on the smaller side, ranging from a few hundred to the low thousands of dollars in size.

The Sprint Foundation has previously overseen additional grant programs that widen the geographic scope of cash giving. For instance, for three years, a Sprint Character Education Grant Program gave awards to in-school programs that address and promote youth leadership—an amount of giving that totaled more than $1.5 million.

Applications for grants from Sprint are accepted nearly year-round, "from January through the third Thursday in November every year." Funding requests must be submitted to the foundation through the foundation's online application. It is worth noting that as a legally separate entity from its namesake company, the foundation is by law unable to provide Sprint products or services to any applicants, nor can it "provide grants to organizations or individuals that will be used to pay bills for Sprint products or services." 

PEOPLE:

  • Ralph Reid, Vice President of Sprint Corporate Responsibility and President, Sprint Foundation

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