Northrop Grumman: Grants for STEM Higher Education


OVERVIEW: The Northrop Grumman Foundation supports STEM education initiatives designed to increase opportunity and diversity in the science, technology and engineering fields through both direct grants to national-level organizations and matching funds for employee giving. Higher ed giving comes largely in the form of scholarship funds and support for diversity programs, current and former members of the military, career pipeline programs, and cybersecurity programs.

IP TAKE: This funder is especially interested in efforts to make the STEM professions more representative of the nation as a whole. Higher ed institutions and nonprofits looking to extend STEM opportunities to women, African Americans, Hispanics, and other underrepresented groups should take note.

PROFILE: Northrop Grumman is a leading aerospace and defense technology firm. The company produced the B-2 bomber, many of the unmanned drone aircraft used in U.S. military operations, is building the James Webb Space Telescope for NASA, has developed some of the most advanced radar and sensors available, and works in cyber security.

The foundation directly lays out its “top priority” as “providing unique education experiences” in STEM for teachers and students alike. To that end, it looks to “diverse and sustainable national-level programs that enhance the education experience for students and provide teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom.”

Northrop Grumman fulfills this objective through two mechanisms: a Matching Gifts For Education program “that allows employees to double their contributions to qualified educational institutions,” and  grants that give “funding to national-level STEM programming.”

Funding priorities appear to vary depending on program. Employee matching donations in the past have about split between K-12 and colleges, while the grants program has gone primarily to K-12 education. One big outlet for these grants has been competitions, fairs and camps for students and teachers, mostly at the K-12 level. But some competitions extend to higher education students, including the VEX Robotics international robotics competition, backed in partnership with the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation.

The foundation also supports higher ed STEM by giving to scholarship funds, diversity programs, organizations serving current and former members of the military, career pipeline programs, and cybersecurity programs. Beneficiary organizations have included academic or professional diversity organizations, scholarship funds, a variety of programs at universities, colleges, and community colleges. Initiatives have included undergraduate mentorships, efforts to attract more women and underrepresented minorities into the field, an honors undergraduate program, and an initiative to get more two-year college STEM grads to pursue a four-year and graduate-level education. Separately, the foundation has also been a supporter of a number of associations and programs (some of them STEM-related) for military servicemembers and veterans in higher education.

Northrop Grumman will not accept unsolicited proposals for its grant program. Your first step must be to request a meeting by sending “a brief summary of both your organization and the project that would be supported” to If approved to move forward, your full proposal should be submitted through the foundation’s online system.

For “verified” employee donations, the foundation will match donations from up to four separate individuals dollar-for-dollar, with a $2,500 cap on matching donations per calendar year. Primary, secondary, and non-profit postsecondary and vocational schools are all eligible, but there is an extensive list of programs the foundation will not support, so be sure your initiative qualifies for the matching grant.

Finally, while not under the umbrella of the foundation, Northrop Grumman’s Aid to Higher Education program gives funding to support initiatives that “promote the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math at targeted colleges and universities.” Apply online here.

The Northrop Grumman Corporation also directly supports the areas of "education, services for veterans and the military, health and human services, as well as the environment," with application deadlines and additional information listed here.


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