Union Pacific Foundation: K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: Union Pacific runs its Community Ties giving program in communities across the U.S. where its parent company operates. With no specific educational initiatives, Union Pacific grants reach K-12 students through the foundation’s safety, workforce development, community spaces and local needs funding programs.

IP TAKE: Union Pacific funds nonprofit organizations in the large geographic area in which it operates. While it does not fund schools directly, it’s current funding initiatives have broad implications for K-12 programs and populations. It accepts applications from organizations deemed eligible through a brief on-line survey.

PROFILE: Originally established in 1959, Union Pacific Foundation is the philanthropic offspring of Union Pacific Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, it seeks to help build “safe, prosperous and vibrant communities by investing in high-quality nonprofits and programs.” The foundation’s current grantmaking program, Community Ties, prioritizes the funding of direct services and organization building in the areas of safety, workforce development, community spaces, and local needs.

The Union Pacific Foundation has funded K-12 projects under each of its funding initiatives. In 2017, the foundation partnered with the American Injection Molding Institute to fund an event that offered workshops in coding, cyber security, robotics and teamwork to 200 fifth- and sixth-graders in Nebraska. The foundation has funded many local enrichment programs for disabled and special needs children in recent years. As the foundation’s web presence consists of a single page on its corporate sister’s website, further programmatic information is unavailable.

The Union Pacific Foundation’s grants range in size from $2,500 to $25,000 and are awarded mainly to non-profit organizations. Schools cannot be funded directly.

A map of areas serviced by Union Pacific Corporation is available on the grant criteria and eligibility page, which also lists other criteria and restrictions to funding. The application process begins with an on-line eligibility survey that is posted on the website in April; organizations determined eligible will be invited to submit applications for grants. Due dates are listed on the application page.

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