FCA Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The FCA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and gives grants to community, regional, and national initiatives in support of education, youth development, military families, and multicultural inclusion. The FCA Foundation’s post-secondary STEM education giving supports schools in the communities where Fiat Chrysler has a significant presence, as well as regional and national programs. 

IP TAKE: FCA likes to direct its higher ed STEM funding to scholarship programs, especially those that benefit students from underserved populations. The foundation also has a fondess for automotive-related programs.

PROFILE: Established by the Chrysler Corporation in 1953, what's now called the FCA Foundation (previously the Chrysler Foundation) has distributed more than $500 million in subsequent years. Positioning itself in today’s world of philanthropy, the foundation states that it exists to "help empower people, and build strong, viable communities."

    The FCA Foundation seeks to achieve this goal through the following funding areas:

    • Education—with a particular focus on STEM at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels;
    • Youth Development—to develop skills and leadership qualities;
    • Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives—promoting inclusion and advancement opportunities;
    • Military—assistance for active and retired service members and their families.

    Be mindful that when it comes to supporting local-level programs, FCA primarily focuses on communities where it has corporate operations. Some of these communities are major U.S. cities, but others are less known on the map: Yucca, Arizona; Irvine, California; Englewood, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Belvidere Illinois; Lisle, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kokomo, Indiana; Elkridge, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Syracuse, New York; Tappan, New York; Perrysburg, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Twinsburg, Ohio; Addison, Texas; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

    As suggested above, the foundation favors STEM higher education programs, as well as automotive-related programs—no surprise, given the foundation's corporate parent. In its support of higher education, the FCA Foundation does widen its giving scope, including to colleges and universities not directly in its corporate geographic orbit, as well as to regional and national programs. 

    The foundation also likes to give its higher education dollars to scholarship programs in support of the students who will attend these colleges and universities. Multicultural and diversity initiatives, as well as those that support underserved communities, represent major through-lines of the FCA Foundation's higher education support.

    Some recent examples of FCA Foundation STEM higher education support are:

    • $50,000 to the Society of Women Engineers for scholarships
    • $30,000 to Great Minds in STEM for scholarships
    • $30,000 to Michigan Technological University for scholarships

    Also worth noting: The FCA Foundation stays in the college car game by supporting Forumula SAE programs at the four-year college and university level, as well as automotive programs at the four-year college and community college levels.

    Separately, the FCA Foundation also encourages volunteerism from its employees, with modest financial benefits to the organizations they serve. Its Motor Citizens Volunteer program offers salaried employees up to 18 hours of paid volunteer time per year, and $500 to any nonprofit where 10 employees volunteer for three hours or more.

    Unfortunately for grantseekers, information about how to apply for funding from FCA is not clearly available on the foundation’s web site. 

    PEOPLE:

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