In recent years, concern has grown regarding the state of science education in the U.S. A range of leaders—in business, education, politics, and philanthropy—are joining forces despite their widely varied motives and interests. Not since Sputnik, it seems, has there been more urgency around this issue. Still, that does not mean that grants for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education are easy to secure. There are many institutions that seek funding, and seemingly just as many ideas about the best approach to improving science education.
We are tracking what funders in this arena are doing and what we are learning is captured in this guide. All the profiles of funders and program officers in the guide are updated regularly.
To boost student interest in mathematics and in the actuarial profession, this funder provides modest but accessible grants at the K-12 levels and scholarships for higher education.
STEM is one of two priorities here, and Alco gives big in the U.S. and internationally. Recipients, include nonprofits, school districts and workforce trainers. Giving is concentrated in areas where Alcoa operates.
ACGT exclusively supports research for cancer management and treatment through cell and gene therapy. Its awards are substantial in size, but highly competitive.
ACS education grants support chemistry students, educators and researchers from high school on up. If you’re a chemist and are willing to do a little digging, ACS almost certainly has something to offer.
Focusing its grants exclusively on youth STEM education, the American Honda Foundation makes one-year awards to public and private elementary and secondary schools, as well as youth education programs.
This funder's science education funding focuses on two priority areas—professional development for teachers and practitioners, and giving teachers and students the tools for hands-on learning experiences.
Awards undergrad scholarships in life sciences, chemistry, biochem, biology and medical science education. It also supports young faculty and new post-docs conducting high-risk, potentially transformative research.
Getting funding from the philanthropic arm of AT&T is tough. It supports college and career readiness with an emphasis on improving STEM education opportunities at the the K-12 level.
Bechtel is spending down by 2020, and while STEM grantmaking has been on the rise, it has stopped taking unsolicited inquiries. It is even more of a longshot for programs outside of California.
The charitable arm of the electronics giant supports a range of tech educational programs to help prepare teens for college and careers, with emphasis on computer and digital skills for the 21st century.
The Bezos Family Foundation explicitly states that it seeks to partner with "organizations that bring thoughtful innovations in K-12—with emphasis on STEM education."
The philanthropic arm of the Cambridge-based drug maker, the Biogen Idec Foundation benefits the communities in which it operates, primarily in North Carolina and Massachusetts, but also internationally.
Boeing has deep pockets and a penchant for hands-on science learning programs. The foundation likes to be at least somewhat involved or prominently featured in programs it supports, so it's very interested in partnerships.
The majority of the foundation's backing is for STEM education. Funding mostly serves areas where Broadcom operates; funding supports universities, science competitions, and local K-12 initiatives.
The charitable arm of the law firm Brown Rudnick supports K-12 and STEM education programs in areas where it has a significant business presence.
The fund supports both early-stage and accomplished researchers. It also supports increasing diversity in the field, career preparedness, and job training. K-12 STEM education giving is mostly limited to North Carolina.
Cabot funds organizations that encourage students to explore science, technology, engineering, and math. It also awards grants to educators working in STEM.
Cargill funds organizations that build others’ skills in science, technology, and engineering.
Carnegie's education funding is heavily focused on STEM through improving standards, recruiting and training teachers, and school and classroom design.
Chevron prefers forges partnerships with a small number of bold flagship programs. But it does have a couple of mechanisms to support K-12 schools and universities at smaller levels.
While not a foundation, the company’s corporate sustainability program funds science education, including afterschool and summer STEM programs and scholarships.
The philanthropic arm of this chemical goliath integrates giving with its business strategy, supporting causes like STEM ed in K-12, higher ed funding, chemical research and community development projects.
Ecolab has a firm commitment to education, particularly for at-risk students and STEM programming. It supports classroom educators and outdoor experiences in communities where Ecolab has a presence.
STEM priorities include K-12 teacher training, improving the quality of STEM education, funding higher ed through research and scholarships, biodiversity and conservation.
The insurance company funds K-12 teachers promoting STEM education through two grant/contest programs that involve public voting for prospective grantees.
FCA's education giving focuses on STEM at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels. The foundation focuses on specific cities for its community giving, but also supports regional and national programs.
FirstEnergy is a funder of STEM education through both the Corporate Affairs & Community Involvement departments and through the company’s charitable arm, the FirstEnergy Foundation.
Gates approaches its K-12 ed giving, including science education, with the goal of improving college access and readiness, and student success once they get there. Its higher ed giving also supports science research.
Among the foundation's key initiatives is supporting improvements and innovation in math and science teaching. GE targets urban school districts and works with a small number of grantees for large-scale partnerships.
HHMI is a massive private funder of science education and research. Awards fund individual biomedical research, diversity initiatives, early career support, and improving science education.
Intel's philanthropy is devoted to STEM education. Emphases include support for women and minorities, education competitions, scholarships, fellowships, and teacher development.
The Lemelson Foundation supports programs in the U.S. and internationally to “create a pipeline of inventors and inventor-based enterprises.”
This charitable arm of the home improvement chain focuses on public K-12 STEM education and community betterment projects. It awards grants in every state where a Lowe's store is located.
This funder dedicates itself to integrating environmental classroom learning with hands-on field study for K-12 students, particularly scientifically rigorous projects that focus on ecology and conservation.
It will come as no surprise that Microsoft Philanthropies supports computer science and STEM education, but it also has a broader mission to teach computational thinking and problem-solving for all young people.
Motorola's science grants support all levels of education and include support for increasing student interest in STEM, teacher training, and bringing more women and underrepresented minorities into the field.
Murdock is a large regional funder dedicated to improving the lives of people in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Two of its key funding interests are science research and science education.
As a “pass-through” foundation, this is not a source of funding unto itself. Rather, NMSI is an initiative launched by some huge donors to put resources into successful projects and replicate them nationwide.
Northrop Grumman and its namesake foundation support STEM education initiatives designed to increase opportunity and diversity in the science, technology and engineering fields.
Schlumberger predominately awards grants through its ’s flagship grantmaking program is Faculty for the Future, which provides Ph.D. and postdoc fellowships for women who work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
RCSA supports the junior faculty research, undergraduate education, and teaching that draws from one's research. It also supports many small- and mid-sized grants across a wide geographic range.
Siebel Scholars is a competitive program that awards a $35,000 grant to grad students with outstanding abilities in bioengineering and computer sciences. Siebel Scholars also serve as key advisors to the foundation.
Siemens supports STEM education, mostly in the form of its Siemens Scholars competition in Math, Science and Technology, but also through targeted grants.
Sloan has a major program devoted to higher ed in science focused on improving minority access to STEM higher ed and careers, and research into making STEM education effective and attractive to students.
Sprint gives to science ed through STEM partnerships, grants, matching gifts, and providing technology to schools. Much giving focuses on the Kansas City area, but funding is available for K-12 programs nationwide.
Templeton often supports work that addresses "the big questions" or those that fall outside more traditional funding sources. It makes grants for contests, online education resources, and general support for higher ed.
Toshiba America Foundation focuses on science and math learning in K-12 classrooms by supporting classroom teachers. Grants typically fund projects that make math and science learning fun and engaging.
Toyota is solely dedicated to support of STEM education. It gives out large amounts, primarily for the K-12 set. Science education funding is also available through the corporation's community and education programs.
Walton does not specifically target STEM education, but it's a major education funder. Walton is particularly interested in charter schools, school choice, and preparing grads for the high-tech workforce.