Given its aerospace and defense technology corporate inclination, it’s no surprise that Northrop Grumman places primary focus on STEM education, including emphasis at the K-12 level. What makes Northrop Grumman unique is that it places parallel emphasis on national STEM education programs and local STEM education programs.
As a seeker of Northrop Grumman's funds, you need to determine where the money will come from, because the process for procuring national-level funds versus local-level funds is different.
If you're program is national in scope, K-12 STEM education support will flow through the corporation’s Northrop Grumman Foundation. The Northrop Grumman Foundation’s STEM education pot is divided between K-12 education and higher education. In 2013, the foundation gave more than $11 million in grants across the board. It does not report the breakdown between K-12 and higher education. Then again, there is also some fluidity here, because the Northrop Grumman Foundation supported nine K-12 STEM Pipeline programs in 2013 alone.
At the national level, Northrop Grumman Foundation isn't shy about going high-profile. In 2013, it was the presenting sponsor for the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program, a “high school cybersecurity defense competition designed to excite, educate and motivate the next generation of cyber-defenders.” (Talk about right in Northrop Grumman’s wheelhouse.) It was also the presenting sponsor of the 2013 VEX Robotics Competition, in which teams of elementary and middle school students design and build a robot for a game-based engineering challenge. Both of these programs are the beneficiaries of multiple years of support from the foundation.
Northrop Grumman Foundation also supports SciGirls, a PBS television program and digital platform where girls go on STEM-related adventures. Other national K-12 STEM education programs supported by the foundation in 2013 included the MATHCOUNTS Foundation, Science Buddies, Teach for America, and Wolftrap Foundation.
At the national level, before you can formally apply for a grant, you need to send the foundation an email introducing yourself.
If you're a local-centric K-12 STEM education program, Northrop Grumman's money flows from the corporate side of things, through its Corporate Contributions Program. The biggest difference when you’re looking for K-12 STEM funding on a local level is that education is not the company’s sole focus in this realm. The Corporate Contributions Program also supports the veterans and active military, health and human services, and the environment—again, all on a community level. But all community giving is not created equal, which is good news since you’re in the market for K-12 education funding. That’s because Carleen Beste, who is Director of Global Corporate Citizenship, directly shared with IP that Northrop Grumman dedicates 50 percent of its corporate giving to education.
Like its national giving, local-level giving funds visible, big-ticket projects as well as providing smaller acts of granting kindness. Biggies include $1 million to George Mason University’s Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement program, which focuses on improving science teaching, student learning, and professional development of elementary and secondary teachers at high-need schools in Virginia. Northrop Grumman also granted the Maryland State Department of Education $250,0000 for a variety of pre-K through high school STEM-related programs that were implemented on a school-based level.
Smaller, local-level grants include the Neil Armstrong Academy (West Valley City, UT), a pre-kindergarten through 6th grade school that used the funds to purchase and install a weather station, educating students about meteorology and air quality; East Central High School (Moss Point, MS) for its Technology Discovery program, which is used to expose students to new technology in the workplace; and the Mississippi Children's Museum to fund exhibits in its science and technology gallery.
The application process for local K-12 STEM education grants through the Northrop Grumman Contributions Program takes place online, with deadlines twice annually (April and August).
A caveat: There are K-12 STEM education programs out there that might be both national and local in scope. Such was the case for the Community College of Baltimore County in 2012. It received $30,000 in combination from both the corporate side and the foundation for its program in partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools (local) and the National Science Foundation (national) to develop the Enhancing the STEM Engineering Pipeline initiative, providing high school students greater access to STEM education and create successful pathways to engineering careers.
If you're wondering where your program falls on Northrop Grumman's giving spectrum, best to reach out to them to find out. The support is certainly there; it's only a matter of where it comes from.