This is an excellent time to fundraise for STEM education. In recent years, wealthy donors give often for such work in recent years, and more foundations have entered this space. Grantseekers seeking science and STEM grants explicitly focused on higher education institutions should be prepared to conduct in-depth research in order to locate the right fit for their respective projects and programs. Although top science and STEM funders that prioritize higher education have, in recent years, given hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funding, they represent a fraction of the total foundations that award such grants. Include individual giving and that is a considerable amount of funding in this area.
Technology is also key to STEM funding. In that vein, several major foundations are also concerned with increasing the number of students who enroll in postsecondary education and graduate with the skills to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce. Alongside more traditional investments in scholarships, research awards and technology provision, many innovative and forward-thinking programs have taken off lately have sought to use technology to empower students and bridge the pathway from high school to college.
The IP higher ed team tracks and analyzes major individual gifts made to colleges and universities for STEM education in our Campus Cash guide. We look at who's giving, who's getting, what the gifts are for, and how STEM donors are cultivated. READ
The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Foundation (ACGT) focuses exclusively on supporting research for cancer management and treatment through cell and gene therapy. Its awards are substantial, but highly competitive.
If you’re a chemistry student, educator, or researcher anywhere from undergrad through the postdoc and are willing to do a little digging, ACS almost certainly has something to offer for you.
The American Honda Foundation makes elementary and secondary schoolchildren the focus of its STEM philanthropy. Institutions of higher education, however, can receive modest grants for outreach programs aimed at these students.
Most higher ed STEM funding from biotech giant Amgen's philanthropic arm comes through its Amgen Scholar programs at select universities. But there may also be an opening if your focus is on training and retaining pre-university science teachers.
This foundation’s higher ed giving is all about increasing the rigor, reliability, and transparency of research, and it tends to back a relatively small number of recipients. The foundation accepts inquiries online, but unsolicited applications are not accepted.
Beckman promotes research and scholarship in chemistry and the life sciences through programs aimed at elementary school students, college students majoring in life science fields, and promising early-stage faculty in chemistry and the life sciences.
Boeing's higher ed STEM funding supports students directly through scholarships; university partners are eligible to receive funding for research, K-12 curricula development, and providing teacher professional development.
The higher ed funding from the low-profile foundation of this retired venture capitalist goes mainly (but not exclusively) to California-based universities, and mostly for stem cell and other medical research. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.
Higher ed organizations outside of Chicago generally do not receive Brinson support. The main exception is its Scientific Research program, which is national in scope and funds astrophysics, cosmology, biology, geophysics, and medical research.
The Broad Foundation does not have a higher ed STEM program, but it does support postsecondary grantseekers working to advance its interests in science and medical research. For the most part, unsolicited proposals are not accepted.
A relative newcomer to this arena, the Broadcom Foundation supports STEM education and research at top universities across the United States and internationally. It also funds graduate student research in engineering, sponsoring an annual contest.
This funder's higher ed STEM support focuses mostly on backing individual science researchers through highly competitive awards. Many (but by no means all) awards go to early-career researchers.
Carnegie approaches STEM funding in higher education with an eye toward impacting the entire U.S. education system, from elementary to postsecondary. Its STEM education philanthropy includes support for increasing the number of K-12 STEM teachers.
Chevron's philanthropy comes not through a foundation but directly from the company itself. Much of its education giving is directed at the K-12 set, but it has also formed partnerships with a number of postsecondary institutions and minority professional associations.
Coulter's higher ed STEM funding tends to support large-scale partners with strong departments in biomedical engineering. It also gives to a select group of colleges, universities, and professional societies.
Arthur Vining Davis awards grants to private liberal arts and science colleges and affiliated organizations, with special funding earmarked for traditionally black colleges, Native American tribal colleges, and those located in Appalachia. Grants are for undergraduate programs only.
The Dodge Foundation doesn't feature a specific higher ed STEM program, but colleges and universities have occasionally received funding through its Environment program. Note that Dodge targets its funding primarily at New Jersey-based organizations.
The Dominion Foundation's diverse support for postsecondary STEM education is only available in regions where it has a corporate presence. A handful of higher ed grants are also awarded through its Environmental Stewardship program.
Among Dow's many lines of support for higher ed STEM are university partnerships that fund a wide range of initiatives including research centers, scholarships, and facilities construction. Dow also sponsors science competitions and has a program that matches employee contributions.
The Dreyfus Foundation gives funding to chemists from undergrads through emeritus scholars. Awards support chemists' work in teaching, research and mentorships.
The Duke Foundation doesn’t have a funding stream exclusively for higher ed STEM. Instead, support comes through its programs in Medical Research and the Environment.
ExxonMobil's main philanthropic focus areas are STEM education (especially for women and girls), health and biodiversity and conservation. The ExxonMobil Foundation's emphases include math and science education and efforts to combat malaria. The foundation gives globally, mostly in areas where it has a local presence, but unsolicited requests are rarely approved.
The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Foundation gives postsecondary STEM education grants to support scholarships, schools in the communities where Fiat Chrysler has a significant presence, and regional and national programs. It also has a fondness for automotive-related programs.
FirstEnergy gives to higher education colleges and universities for STEM initiatives, as well as to professional organizations working in this realm, so long as they exist in a community that receives FirstEnergy services.
On size alone, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a significant funder for higher education initiatives, including STEM education projects, even though it does not have a STEM-specific program.
GM's STEM grantmaking funds students from third to 12th grade and college students.
Hearst's higher ed grantmaking goes to post-secondary programs that prepare students for the "global society," with significant support for STEM initiatives.
HHMI's grantmaking activities extend to more than medical research, affecting other scientific activities and STEM education. The institute is especially interested in making STEM disciplines more attractive to young people and in improving the quality of undergraduate STEM education.
Unsurprisingly, technology plays a huge part in Intel's philanthropy. Teachers and students receive support through research grants (individual and collaborative), fellowships, scholarships, and initiatives that integrate technology into the classroom.
The Keck Foundation wants to expand research opportunities for undergraduate STEM students with a specific focus on the U.S. west and southwest, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the south and midwest. It also funds scientific, engineering, medical research, and organizations with a national focus on undergraduate education.
Kern is dedicated to fostering an “entrepreneurial mindset” among undergraduate engineering students and integrating it into their curricula. Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) grants go to individuals and institutions, but by invitation only and exclusively for those in or affiliated with the KEEN network.
Kresge supports innovative digital learning projects such as online learning as well as digital financial planning tools, and has also given funding through its environment program to universities researching and working on adapting to climate change.
The Luce Foundation's STEM funding largely comes through grants, scholarships, fellowships, and professorships aimed at increasing the number of women in STEM fields in higher ed. Colleges and universities have also received grants for environmental policy work.
The MacArthur Foundation has given STEM grants but does not operate a STEM-specific higher ed program, so grantseekers will need to do their homework to identify a program area at the foundation that suits their needs.
California Institute of Technology is one of its core investments, but STEM projects at leading universities and research institutes across the country have found support from the Moore Foundation.
This funder's grantmaking includes a heavy emphasis on STEM-related disciplines through supporting initiatives like outreach to underrepresented groups, career development for postsecondary STEM students, and efforts to attract K-12 students into STEM. Priority goes to projects where Motorola has a corporate presence.
Funded largely by the Gates Foundation, the NGLC network is driven to improve student outcomes (particularly high school graduation and college readiness and completion), including a concern with STEM, personalized learning, and innovative incorporation of technology.
Northrop Grumman supports postsecondary STEM education through direct grants to national-level organizations and matching funds for employee giving. Higher ed giving supports scholarships, diversity initiatives, active and veteran servicemen and women, and career pipeline and cybersecurity programs.
PPG's STEM funding supports university student engagement in hands-on activities, enhancing STEM educators's skills, and support for STEM mentor programs.
Reynolds supports higher ed STEM with a focus on the study of geriatrics and improved training for geriatric physicians. The options for first-time grantseekers are limited, but there are sometimes requests for proposals and the very occasional approval of unsolicited proposals.
Simons funds both institutions and individual scientists / investigators, with major research universities being the primary recipients. However, opportunities may also exist for postdoctoral researchers and other early-career scientists.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is one of the best friends and most generous supporters that STEM educators can have. Its grantmaking focuses on improving undergraduate and graduate STEM education, as well as making science and technology careers attractive to a more diverse range of students.
The Starr Foundation's higher ed funding is mostly directed at scholarship and exchange programs, and unsolicited proposals and materials are not accepted, but colleges and universities have received medical science grants through its Medicine and Healthcare program.
Templeton is the most outside-the-box funder in science education philanthropy. It emphasizes an approach to STEM education that addresses the big questions standing at the intersection of science and philosophy.
Walton doesn't have a program focused specifically on higher ed, but postsecondary institutions have received funding through its Environment program, which focuses on freshwater and marine conservation.
Wilson is dedicated to building the nation's future leaders and scholars, but it's not just about the ivory tower. This funder also awards fellowships to attract outstanding STEM teachers in high-need secondary schools in select states.
The philanthropic arm of Xerox gives mostly to postsecondary science education, with an eye toward research as well as increasing the diversity, readiness, and size of of tomorrow’s STEM workforce.