Xerox Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Xerox Foundation, the philanthropic arm of its namesake corporation, spreads its giving across many sectors that improve the communities in which its employees and customers live. It has a particular focuses on college-level science education, environmental affairs, and arts and cultural programming. The foundation also gives directly to college and university science departments, both domestically and abroad, and at a more modest level to K-12 STEM education.

IP TAKE: The Xerox Foundation’s focus on science education is at the forefront of its giving. Unsolicited inquiries are accepted, and you’ll improve your odds if your project stands to increase the diversity and size of tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

PROFILE: The Xerox Foundation is the philanthropic arm of its corporate namesake, and operates under the belief that “a successful corporation must be an active participant in society.” As of this writing, total annual giving from the foundation has come in at an even $13.5 million each year over the past several years.

Against that backdrop, the foundation’s giving is fairly broad in scope, but a commitment to science education is at the forefront of its focus. Considering that foundation also has a “strategic interest” in its ability to “recruit from a highly motivated and talented pool of technically educated people,” it is no surprise that much of Xerox’s higher-ed STEM giving falls under its Education and Workforce Preparedness umbrella.

The foundation’s mission in its Education and Workforce Development realm is to “provide educational access to underserved minorities.” This primarily manifests in the form of support of STEM-related scholarship programs, individual college scholarships to students pursuing STEM study, STEM mentorship programs for underserved college-age students, and support of college/university science departments.

For example, the Xerox Foundation financially supports and manages the Black College Engineering Liaison Program, the Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship Program, and the Hispanic College Liaison Program, each of which distributes grants to colleges and universities throughout the country in direct support of science and engineering education access for underserved students. The foundation has also supported the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the United Negro College Fund, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Like many corporate foundations and corporate responsibility programs, Xerox Foundation also has a matching gifts program. In this funder’s case, giving goes to postsecondary institutions to “support individuals pursuing technical degrees and help the U.S. address its shortage of scientists and engineers.” The foundation reports that in one recent year, “Five hundred different institutions received 1,300 matching gifts from The Xerox Foundation.”

Through a separate program called Science and Technology, the foundation also operates its own Xerox University Affairs Committee, which consists of Xerox scientists from around the world who recommended grants university science programs. In one recent year, this resulted in grants to science departments at 41 different universities (13 of which were located outside of the U.S.).

The Xerox Foundation also likes donating human capital. In conjunction with its grants, it also looks for opportunities for its employees to be involved in the programming it’s financially supporting, so if you can integrate active employee engagement into your financial ask, so much the better.

Along those lines, it has also supported some efforts at the K-12 level. A prime example is its partnership FIRST Robotics and the LEGO League to team up high school “students and Xerox scientists to build a programmed, fully functional robot — from a box of parts or bag of Legos.” Sponsored teams have hailed from states including California, Oregon, and New York.  The foundation has also funded work at individual schools, such as a pilot program to foster interdisciplinary science and art learning at a Kentucky middle school.

The Xerox Foundation has virtually no geographic boundaries. It gives “to the communities from which we draw our employees, our customers, and our freedom to conduct business.” This enormous scope stretches not only coast-to-coast in the United States, but also internationally, particularly for major university centers with a science education focus.

Recent information on Xerox’s giving is accessible, but takes a little bit of digging. Start by clicking here for a list of Xerox’s most recent Global Citizenship reports. Within the most recent report, click on “Caring for Communities,” which will take you to a page that links to breakdowns of the foundation’s annual giving.

The foundation’s open LOI process is a free-form letter (see the header Guidelines for Applying on this page). So there is some flexibility in how you present your project, but make sure to show how you will increase the pool of talented STEM workers of the future. The foundation requests that all proposals and requests be directed to:

Mark Conlin, President
Xerox Foundation
45 Glover Avenue/P.O. Box 4505
Norwalk, CT, 06856

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