OVERVIEW: The Bezos Family Foundation prioritizes education, from birth through high school, to position students for college success and enriched lives. STEM is an explicit focus of the foundation.
IP TAKE: The foundation that funds STEM primary and secondary education on a structural level; however, it does not accept unsolicited inquiries or proposals.
PROFILE: The Bezos Family Foundation was created by Jackie and Miguel (Mike) Bezos, parents of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. It seeks to support “rigorous learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action.” The Bezos Family Foundation defines its support of youth education into three areas: Excellence in K-12 Education, Early Learning, and Youth Leadership and Global Engagement.
Under its Excellence in K-12 Education program, the Bezos Family Foundation seeks to partner with "organizations that bring thoughtful innovations in K-12—with emphasis on STEM education." It also prioritizes creating a consistency of experience—across geography, socio-economic, and racial barriers—so that any student has equal opportunity. This goal is a strong guidepost for the foundation's STEM education support.
The Bezos Family Foundation’s grantees work throughout the country, but the foundation prioritizes Washington, Bezos’ home state. Past STEM education grantees have worked on projects like partnering with school districts to provide meaningful STEM education and academic support to students, supporting robotics teams in low-income schools, research on character development, and providing STEM teachers with professional development programs.
While STEM funding is less common in Bezos’s Youth Leadership and Global Engagement, this program is still a potential option for STEM education grantseekers. As its name suggests, this program supports “young, motivated leaders by providing opportunities that expand their awareness of global issues” by facilitating their readiness “to meaningfully contribute ideas and solutions for our most pressing social challenges.” Fewer overall grants have been made in this category, but the foundation’s partners have worked on STEM-related issues like fostering youth leadership in environmental conservation as well as mentorship for “high-potential, low-resourced” youth to encourage them to pursue STEM careers.
Unfortunately, the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. Without direct access to the foundations’ founders or its small group of staff, new grantseekers will find it difficult to secure funding.