K-12 Education to "Make the World a Better Place"

The mission of The Lawrence Foundation is vague. The foundation simply declares its desire to “support organizations that are working to solve pressing environmental, educational, human services and other issues.”

The throughline for this giving is also vague. A family foundation established by Jeff Lawrence and his wife, Diane Troth, with cash accrued when Lawrence sold his Trillium Digital Systems to Intel, the website says that the couple “feel it is important to give something back and support organizations that are trying to make the world a better place.”

This vagueness can make it challenging to present the most incisive grant application, but it also suggests a broad range of interests to potentially receive funding.

Recent giving shows that environmental issues a clearly foremost for The Lawrence Foundation. Its educational interests, especially within the K-12 age group, appear to synergize with human services, resulting in support for programs perhaps more aptly defined as youth development rather than education.

But purer support for K-12 education does remain, reflected in a recent grant of $5,000 to Pencils of Promise in New York, NY, "to give every child access to quality education by creating schools, programs, and communities around the common goal of education for all."

Another recent K-12 education grant shows that blending K-12 educational programming with environmental issues (the foundation's favorite cause) is also a strong way to go: Lawrence granted $5,000 to Nature Bridge in Woodland Hills, CA, to provide "hands-on environmental field science education for children and teens" in national parks.

These $5,000 amounts, while modest, are standard-size checks for the foundation. Grants typically range $2,000 to $10,000, with the vast majority distributed at the $5,000 mark. The foundation’s application, which is fairly basic (it uses the Common Grant Application, which leadership of Lawrence Foundation helped create) includes a standard request for goals/objectives/outcomes—a good strategy would be to communicate how this modest grant would strongly support your K-12 education program. The foundation will give both general operating and program support, so there's flexibility here.

The Lawrence Foundation has no geographic restrictions on its giving, both domestically or internationally (so long as the international project is operated by a U.S. nonprofit). Its grant application is open to all, and has two grant cycles each year, with deadlines in April and November.

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