W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW:  The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is concerned with the "optimal development of children" and seeks to diminish "the profound racial gaps and inequities that exist in our communities." Its primary focus is early childhood (prenatal to age 8), especially in reading and math proficiency, the care and nutrition necessary for "optimal development," and decreasing the number of children and families living in poverty. A large share of WKKF's funding is directed at the "priority regions" of Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans (along with "micro-regions" in Mexico and Haiti), but organizations outside those areas may also qualify for funding. Kellogg is also a big supporter of the charter school movement.

IP TAKE: For most K-12 grantseekers, Kellogg funding will cap out at 3rd grade, but it does give some funding to support older students up to and including high school. Kellogg’s approach to K-12 education is holisitic, seeking to collaboratively and creatively engage governmental and educational institutions, teachers, and parents, and students themselves. 

PROFILE: Under the broad banner of Racial Equity and Community and Civic Engagement, Kellogg has three main areas of focus: Healthy Kids, Secure Families, and its ECE program, Educated Kids. This program has the long-term goal of raising the math and reading skills of children as they enter the third grade, and the majority of Kellogg’s education funding goes to early education—birth (and even pre-natal) through pre-school. (See IP’s “How the Kellogg Foundation Approaches Early Childhood Education.”) But WKKF's program leaves room for a wide range of projects and nonprofits, from advocacy groups to service providers. 

This age focus is distilled into an initiative Kellogg calls GR8by8. You can follow their regular updates in this arena through the Facebook page the foundation maintains for this initiative. Kellogg is particularly focused on targeting third grade education achievement markers (at which point a student is typically age 8) in part because it sees success by this point in life as the stepping stone to future success—high school graduation and opportunities for “meaningful employment,” which are other articulated goals of their Educated Kids program. (For more on why Kellogg has particularly targeted this age group, read its statement “Why This Work Matters.”)

At the same time, Kellogg also backs projects that address K-12 education. Some of this funding still falls under GR8by8 (running through third grade), but support for students and their teachers ranging up to high school has also been provided through grants for professional development, teacher retention, curriculum alignment, policy change, parent and community engageent, and think-tank work.

Kellogg has also shown a willingness to back the charter school networks and nonprofits. With some exceptions, the foundation generally has invested in partners like Michigan Future, Inc. and New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), which provide funding and other support for growing charter networks. Grants have also gone to Teach for America as well as smaller-scale recipients like a charter school that opened in 2013 and was designed by the Boggs Educational Center in Detroit.

In addition, Kellogg funds charters and other education efforts through its Mission Driven Investments (MDI) program, which has allocated more than $100 million “for investments in nonprofit and for-profit entities that advance [its] mission.” In Educated Kids, this has translated to multi-million dollar investments in two separate charter entities: Capital Impact Partners (towards construction projects at charters in New Orleans), and the Turner Agassi Charter School Fund, which makes facilities available to charter schools until they are financially stable enough to purchase the buildings outright.

Kellogg has a comprehensive grant search engine on its website where you can delve into all of the support it gives in this arena. 

In terms of eligibility, the foundation's U.S. geographic areas of focus are the states of Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and the city of New Orleans (internationally, it focuses on the "micro-regions" in Mexico and Haiti). But it also supports projects and organizations in other cities and states, as well as national ones, and this is certainly true in the Educated Kids arena.

According to Kellogg's page for grantseekers, its committee reviews grant proposals year-round and does not impose deadlines for applications. Generally, it does not fund programs during their "operational phases" unless they are part of a "larger program budget being considered for funding." 

PEOPLE:

  • Carla D. Thompson, Vice President, Program Strategy
  • Felicia DeHaney, Director, Education and Learning
  • Jon-Paul Bianchi, Program Officer
  • Arelis Diaz, Program Officer

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