OVERVIEW: Amgen Foundation makes grants in two areas—science education, and community improvement in places where the company operates. The foundation’s science education program splits its giving between teacher development and providing students with hands-on learning experiences.
IP TAKE: Amgen gives both multi-million dollar grants for large, ongoing initiatives and modest grants to more limited programs. Organizations in communities where Amgen operates have an advantage. The foundation accepts LOI’s year-round.
PROFILE: Created in 1991, the Amgen Foundation is the philanthropic branch of Amgen, one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies. The foundation “seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work.” Amgen’s grantmaking prioritizes funding for both educators and students.
Amgen’s Programs for Students seeks to give students and teachers resources to encourage young people to pursue science careers. The foundation states that it gives “2,000,000 Students Hands-on Experiences in Science.” The first of these, the Amgen Biotech Experience, collaborates with “leadership from university and other partners” to give “teacher professional development, teaching materials, and research-grade lab equipment to high schools” in the U.S. and Great Britain. Next is the Amgen Scholars program, which offers “cutting-edge research experiences and exposure to biotechnology and drug discovery” to undergraduate students at select universities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The Amgen BioTalents is limited to Puerto Rico and offers training and exposure to the biomanufacturing process, industrial legal and safety standards, and management and leadership development. Finally, Amgen partnered with MIT to develop an online course that exposes students to “biologics manufacturing, increases global undergraduate exposure to the field, and encourages students to pursue careers in manufacturing life-saving medications” and with Khan Academy to help “increase access to biology resources for students and teachers.”
Amgen also offers several Programs for Teachers. In addition to the Biotech Experience and MIT and Khan Academy collaborations described above, the foundation also offers teacher support through Amgen Teach, which gives European teachers “training workshops and distance-learning events...that emphasize hands-on, inquiry-based experiential learning for their students.” Another of the foundation’s signature programs is a multi-million, multi-year commitment to Teach for America to send recent college graduates in science and math to teach in rural and urban schools. Finally, in collaboration with MIT and the Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning, Amgen offers the Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program to give “cutting-edge, competency-based teacher education for the life sciences at the middle and secondary school level.”
Grant amounts start at $10,000 but can range into the multi-millions. Grantseekers should look at the foundation’s grants report to get a better sense of Amgen’s funding priorities. Also, new grantseekers should consult the Letter of Inquiry Checklist and the Grant Application Checklist before applying. The foundation reviews LOIs quarterly, which must be submitted online.
- Eduardo Cetlin, President, Amgen Foundation