State Street Foundation: Boston Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The State Street Foundation is an investment corporation philanthropy that awards grants to education and workforce development organizations both locally and globally. Grant applications are accepted by online submission throughout the year from organizations based in places where the company operates.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, job skills, college success, credentials, work experience, adult literacy, workforce development

IP TAKE: Pitch a proposal that focuses on getting high school students ready for college the workforce. State Street wants to work with organizations that crank out productive members of society by putting kids into traditional and secure employment environments.

PROFILE: You could say that the State Street investment and securities giant is already trying to train a future generation of employees. The Boston-based financial services holding company is using its grantmaking budget to get people educated and ready to clock in for a good ole' 9-5 job. And in fact, the State Street Foundation has thirty-nine community support committees in twenty-six different countries working to make that possible.

In a recent year, State Street was named the top charitable contributor in the state of Massachusettes. In 2012, State Street provided more than $21 million in charitable contributions. State Street Executive Vice President, Alison Quirk, added,  "Last year, our employees globally gave more than 87,000 hours of volunteer time to nonprofit groups and donated approximately $2.7 million through State Street's Matching Gift program and Global Giving Campaign." The foundation was also named in Working Mother magazine's "100 Best Companies" list because of its progressive programs, child care, and paid family leave.

The history of the State Street Corporation goes back to 1792, making it the second oldest financial institution in the whole country. However the corporation foundation has only been operating on the grant scene since 2006. The foundation almost exclusively operates to provide funding for training programs that make disadvantaged people employable and therefore, self-sufficient and productive members of society. The main targets of State Street grants tend to be people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, youth, and the economically disadvantaged.

Current areas of focus are education, job readiness, college success, credentials, work experience, and employment. Education and workforce development are the two two funded categories.

Boston-based non-profits get a lot of special attention because the corporation is based here, but the foundation also spreads its love around to the other locations where it conducts company operations. This includes the states of California, Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as a scattering of countries in Europe and Asia. Overall, it awards grants to nonprofits and NGOs in 26 countries. To show how global of a corporation State Street really is, the foundation even accepts grant proposals in French, German, Italian, and Polish.

State Street grants tend to be between $500,000 and $750,000, and the foundation gives out several hundred of those each year. Some past grants in the Boston area include $1.9 million to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, $250,000 to Action for Boston Community Development, $250,000 to Year Up Inc., and $200,000 to the Boston Foundation.

At the end of a recent year, the foundation claimed over $53 million in assets and over $12 million in total giving.

The foundation has considered proposals that ask for everything from annual campaign funds to building renovations, emergency funds, program development, and sponsorships. The grantmaking process is separate for domestic and international causes, so your organization will only be competing against your closer neighbors.

Organizations have a two-step application process to follow, which includes a preliminary grant application and a full grant application. To get the ball rolling, just log on to the foundation's online portal and provide all the right answers on the eligibility quiz. If you pass, you complete a preliminary application, wait eight weeks for approval, fill out a full application, and wait another 12 weeks for approval. Everything's done online, and State Street accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.

    The philanthropic process is fairly segmented within the State Street Corporation, and there's plenty of separate support committees, donor programs, volunteering programs, community event sponsorships, and community development initiates to keep its thousands of employees busy. Don't get lost in the web and stick to the grantmaking program if you run a Boston non-profit. It helps to be computer-savvy when applying for a State Street grant, and the best way to ask a grant-related question is via online form.

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