The Stranahan Foundation, a family foundation established in 1944 in Toledo, OH by the founders of the Champion Spark Plug Company, seeks “to assist individuals and groups in their efforts to become more self-sufficient and contribute to the improvement of society and the environment” in both Toledo and throughout the United States.
The foundation also clearly believes that the more synergy in this pusuit, the better.
The synergy comes first and foremost in the foundation five focus areas: Education, Arts & Culture, Ecological Well-Being, Physical & Mental Health, and Human Services. For its K-12 education granting, the Stranahan Foundation does give to schools for "standard" academic programming (with a particularly affinity for charter schools and after-school/summer academic enrichment), but its favorite way to give to the K-12 set is to combine with its Arts & Culture and Ecological Well-Being efforts. Some recent examples of this include:
- $55,000 to Veggie U (Milan, OH) for student hands-on learning about planting and growing vegetables;
- $50,000 to IS183 (Stockbridge, MA) for its arts education programming;
- $40,000 to Community MusicWorks (Providence, RI) for its Daily Orchestra Program for students ages 6 – 8;
- $36,000 to the New Mexico School for the Arts (Santa Fe, NM) to enhance its Media Arts program;
- $25,000 to the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education (Monticello, UT) for its Bioregional Outdoor Education Project to train elementary and middle school teachers;
- $25,000 to the National Dance Institute of New Mexico (Santa Fe, NM) for its In-School dance program for 3rd – 5th graders;
- $20,000 to the Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, OH) for its school-age afterschool program;
- $20,000 to the Green Farms Academy (Green Farms, CT) for tuition-free summer and weekend programming for low-income K-8th grade students.
Syngergy is also the watchword on a community level. The Stranahan Foundation is looking to support programs that parlay a community's strengths and partner with like-minded community organizations and individuals.
The Stranahan Foundation is also synergistic itself, and prides itself on the integration of its own individuals into the grantees programs. The foundation points out that its Board of Trustees is often hands-on with its granted programs, serving as committee members and volunteers. And while Toledo-area-based 501(c)(3) education organizations/programs can freely submit an LOI, programs outside of the region must be invited—so "integrating" the trustees' interest into your K-12 education program is a good way to get the foundation's attention.