Carnegie Corporation of New York: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Carnegie Corporation takes a holistic approach to education with its STEM grantmaking. The foundation wants to affect both the K-12 and higher education systems by making STEM-related disciplines more appealing to all students. It also aims to increase the number of STEM teachers in America's K-12 classrooms.

IP TAKE: Carnegie wants to raise an army of STEM teachers from the ranks of college students majoring in science and technology fields. Although Carnegie does not have grantmaking program completely dedicated to STEM projects in higher education, if you're thinking about higher education as a means of systemic change in education from childhood on, your agenda is Carnegie's agenda.

PROFILE: Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 in order to "promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," the Carnegie Corporation is distinguished as "America's oldest grant making foundation." Today, Carnegie's programs focus on the key issues of "international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy." While the corporation does notably have a program specifically for "Higher Education and Research in Africa," it is Carnegie's Education program that will be of primary interest to higher education STEM grantseekers.

In addition to its funding of STEM projects for higher education, Carnegie extends its grantmaking activities in this crucial area to the elementary and secondary levels as well. Carnegie's annual science-related grantmaking has a heavy STEM focus in both K-12 and higher education. K-12 teacher and principal “recruitment, training, evaluation, and leadership development with an emphasis on positions in the STEM fields” is one of the key objectives of Carnegie’s Education program.

One of Carnegie's biggest forays into STEM is its support of the 100Kin10 initiative. 100Kin10 is a multi-partner effort, launched in 2011, to address the shortage of K-12 teachers in STEM subjects. By encouraging more college students to study STEM-related disciplines and bring that knowledge to K-12 classrooms across the country, the initiative hopes to train 100,000 science, mathematics, and technology teachers by 2021. This campaign also hopes to retain more high-quality STEM teachers. Partners in the 100Kin10 initiative include colleges and universities, museums, foundations, non-profit organizations, and teacher recruitment organizations such as Teach for America.

Outside of the 100kin10 initiative, Carnegie does not have an education program dedicated exclusively to STEM. Nevertheless, the sizes of Carnegie grants for STEM education have ranged significantly, generally falling between $15,000 and $500,000 in recent years.

The bottom line: at Carnegie, there are certainly grants available for higher education nonprofits and colleges, both domestic and international. To get started, review the eligibility criteria under the How to Apply section before sending your letter of inquiry (accepted year-round), but bear in mind that the foundation does “not seek” and “rarely fund[s] unsolicited grant applications.”  

If your project is not U.S.-based, keep in mind that Carnegie support is only able to offer support “for a small percent of funding to be granted to nonprofit organizations based in countries that are, or have been, members of the British Commonwealth.”

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