FCA Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The FCA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, funds community, regional, and national initiatives in support of education, youth development, military families, and multicultural inclusion. The foundation also supports scholarship programs.

IP TAKE:  The foundation’s STEM education grantmaking prioritizes communities where the company has a presence. It also supports regional and national programs and focuses on underserved student populations and automotive-related programs. The grant application process is not entirely clear and FCA accepts requests for funding by invitation only.

PROFILE: Established by the Chrysler Corporation in 1953, what's now called the FCA Foundation (previously the Chrysler Foundation) distributed more than $500 million in grants intended to "help empower people, and build strong, viable communities." Through its education grantmaking, the FCA Foundation seeks to build “the skills and competencies that lead to achievement and support educational access and success.”

New Grantseekers should remember that this foundation primarily focuses on communities where it has corporate operations. Some of these communities are major U.S. cities, but others are smaller urban areas: Yucca, AZ; Irvine, CA; Englewood, CO; Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Belvidere IL; Lisle, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Kokomo, IN; Elkridge, MD; Detroit, MI; Syracuse, NY; Tappan, NY; Perrysburg, OH; Toledo, OH; Twinsburg, OH; Addison, TX; and Kenosha, WI.

At the K-12 level, these localized grants typically go to schools and community centers’ education programs, though not exclusively so. In its support of higher education, the FCA Foundation does broaden its grantmaking and funds colleges and universities not directly in its corporate geographic orbit, as well as to regional and national programs, particularly those that support STEM higher education for underserved student populations. The foundation also prioritizes higher education scholarship programs that support students who will be attending these colleges and universities. Multicultural and diversity initiatives, as well as those that support underserved communities, also represent major funding areas. Examples of past funding include $30,000 in scholarships to both Great Minds in STEM and Michigan Technological University and $50,000 in scholarships to the Society of Women Engineers.

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, FCA does not accept unsolicited proposals and requests for funding are by invitation only.  

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