Chevron: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Chevron is one of the world’s largest corporations, and while not a foundation, the company’s philanthropic giving emphasizes education as a priority - especially STEM. Funding involves implementing new standards for STEM K-12 education, professional development for instructors, and informal education that emphasizes hands-on learning. 

IP TAKE: Chevron's education giving largely prioritizes the K-12 set, but it has also formed partnerships with a number of postsecondary institutions and minority professional associations. It also has a couple other mechanisms to support universities at smaller levels.

PROFILE: Inspired by the widely reported shortage of American graduates prepared for technical jobs, Chevron has committed a total of more than $140 million to education, with STEM a major focus. Chevron’s funding involves implementing new standards for STEM K-12 education, professional development for instructors, and informal education that emphasizes hands-on learning.  

While some corporate giving programs give mostly medium-sized grants serving their communities, Chevron tends to find a handful of larger programs they can get behind as branded partnerships. Among its biggest partners is the National Academy of Engineering. With Chevron’s support, NAE is working to assemble a working group that will provide recommendations on how to improve educators’ abilities to teach engineering.

Though it is not clear whether this funding is also tied to UPP, Chevron also has built relationships with top universities like Harvard, where it is a sponsor of the university's Environmental Economics Program, and MIT, where it is a member of the university's Energy Initiative.

Chevron also runs a couple of ongoing programs that distribute funding to universities at smaller levels. The University Partnership Program (UPP), for example, is Chevron’s mechanism to "achieve a more technically proficient global workforce" by providing funding to over 100 individual campuses internationally and in the U.S. Funds go toward areas like financial aid, department and faculty funding, and lab upgrades. For some non-partners, Chevron also offers help to “develop talent in disciplines such as engineering, earth science, finance, information technology and environmental science.” Chevron also has a similar community college program offering technical training. 

The company also puts a focus on increasing diversity in its higher ed giving. Through UPP, Chevron boasts partnerships and other relationships with historically black colleges as well as minority professional associations including the GoldShirt program at the University of Colorado and the Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention program at the University of California, Davis.

Another major higher ed initiative Chevron has backed is the co-founding, with the city of Richmond, California, of the nonprofit organization Richmond Promise. Through this organization, to which Chevron has offered $35 million, local graduating high school seniors or recent graduates in the area are eligible for college scholarships of up to $1,500 apiece.

Ultimately, aside from the university program, corporate giving is fairly roped off. But with more than $130 million in STEM funding over the course of several recent years, look for a lot of future activity from the company in this area. 


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