American Honda Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education


OVERVIEW: The American Honda Foundation is the U.S. philanthropic branch of the ubiquitous car manufacturer. Since the foundation’s establishment in 1984, it has distributed more than $32 million across every state of the union, with an emphasis on STEM, environmental education, job training, and literacy.

IP TAKE: If you're thinking about ways for your institution to engage the college students of tomorrow and heighten their interest in science and technology, check out this funder. 

PROFILE: The American Honda Foundation began in 1984 and has provided more than $32 million since then, focusing on STEM education projects. Like many foundations that are company offshoots, the American Honda Foundation's “basic tenets, beliefs, and philosophies” are largely aligned with those of its corporate founder, which it describes as "imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative."

More specifically for higher ed grantseekers, the foundation primarily directs its funding at "the scientific education of youth." “Scientific education” in this context is defined as including "the physical and life sciences, mathematics and the environmental sciences," while a “youth” may be anyone “pre-natal through 21 years of age.” Fundraisers should therefore keep in mind that the applicant pool may include programs supporting everyone from pregnant mothers to college seniors.

AHF also has specific funding goals. In addition to an emphasis on “innovation,” the foundation is looking for programs that are non-duplicative of other organizations' work, that draw on "untried methods," that seek a broad impact, and that are “dedicated to improving the human condition of all mankind” within the context of “providing solutions to the complex educational concerns currently facing the American society.”

TThis is not the foundation to approach for major projects related to undergraduate research or large-scale initiatives designed to improve STEM instructional method: individual grants range in size from $20,000 to $75,000 per year. Grantseekers should note that these figures establish a ceiling and a floor, meaning that applications for amounts below $20,000 or above $75,000 will not be considered. The foundation's total giving has generally averaged between $1 million and $2 million per year.

Funding provided to colleges and universities to date has often supported outreach programs for primary and secondary students. Examples of these types of awards have included university-organized initiatives for K-12 students such as science enrichment activities, academic workshops, career exploration, college success, a math camp, summer sessions on environmental science, anatomy and physiology, biology, genetics, computer science, and efforts to attract more girls into STEM-related studies.

A full list of grant awards is broken down by year under the heading “Grant Awards” at the bottom of the foundation’s home page.

In sum, if your postsecondary department or institution is looking to leverage the wealth of expertise and knowledge at its disposal by educating and inspiring the scientists and mathematicians of tomorrow, this could well be the the funder for you.

Applications for an American Honda Foundation grant are submitted via an online process and reviewed quarterly. Interested organizations can start the process by verifying their eligibility for funding by completing an online quiz.


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