The Pershing Square Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Pershing Square Foundation supports K-12 education, New York, and some charter schools.

IP TAKE: The foundation prioritizes organizations in the New York area; however, it still funds organizations beyond its regional grantmaking. Pershing Square does not accept unsolicited grant applications, which makes securing a grant more difficult. However, grantees enjoy “flexible and unbureaucratic” support.

PROFILE: Established in 2006, the Pershing Square Foundation seeks to "support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact across the globe." It was originally founded by Bill and Karen Ackman who both announced in 2012 that they would sign the Giving Pledge, which dedicates at least half of their fortune to charity. The foundation invests in health and medicine, arts and urban development, education, economic development and social justice.   

While Pershing Square does not name specific programmatic priorities, its education program tends to fund broad educational causes. Ackman sits on the board of directors at Boys & Girls Harbor, a Harlem-based arts educational nonprofit and multiple past grantee. In the past, the foundation has also supported Minds Matter, iMentor, Teach for America. The program does not impose geographic restrictions on its education grantmaking. Instead, it supports organizations across the United States, Africa, and Asia; however, it prioritizes organizations in the New York region.

Beyond New York, the foundation also focuses its grantmaking in Boston. Both Ackman and Karen attended Harvard University. Past grantees include Year Up in Boston, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Peace First, an organization that awards summer enrichment scholarships to young people who have worked to make their communities more peaceful. 

Related: Inside the Pershing Square Foundation: A “Catalytic” Funder on the Fast Track

PSF does not accept unsolicited proposals. Grantseekers should examine the foundation’s Who We Fund page to get a concrete idea of the non-profit and for-profit organizations that have received, or are currently receiving PSF support.


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Pershing Square Foundation

10 Melville Park Rd.

Melville, NY 11747