Wallace Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Wallace Foundation funds large-scale projects in K-12 education. It invests in school leadership, afterschool programs, building audiences for the arts, summer learning, social and emotional learning, expanded learning, and arts education.  

IP TAKE: Unlike other foundations that fund K-12 education, the Wallace Foundation identifies areas of inquiry and participates with its grantees in the planning and oversight of its largescale projects. Its grants are, on average, larger and disbursed over a longer period of time than those of foundations with similar interests and goals.

PROFILE: In the early 2000s, several smaller philanthropic entities established by Dewitt and Lila Wallace, founders of the Reader’s Digest Association, merged to form The Wallace Foundation. Based in New York City, the foundation seeks to “foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone.” The foundation invests in children, education, and the arts.

The Wallace Foundation does not have a specific program dedicated to education; instead, it funds education broadly, specifically in the K-12 area. Current areas of K-12 funding include school leadership, afterschool programs, building audiences for the arts, summer learning, social and emotional learning, expanded learning and arts education. As a broad, foundation-wide approach, Wallace aims to identify important problems and questions in their areas of interest and to work closely with qualified grantees to “build credible, useful knowledge.” Grantees fall into three categories: organizations that help Wallace develop and test solutions to problems, researchers who are commissioned to evaluate and expand knowledge in specific fields, and organizations that help the foundation disseminate information to policymakers. Participants will be tracked over time on a variety of academic and socio-emotional outcome measures.

The foundation’s average grant size is $400,000, with many grants serving as individual pieces of larger initiatives. The foundation funds work exclusively in the United States and often focuses on children in urban areas. Past grantees include the National Summer Learning Project, which provides academic instruction and enrichment activities to underprivileged children in five different urban areas during the summer months. Applicants can explore the foundation’s past grantee lists.

The Wallace Foundation requests proposals from qualified organizations in their various areas of interest and does not review unsolicited materials.


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