Broadcom Foundation: Grants for Science Education


OVERVIEW: An offshoot of semiconductor and electronics company Broadcom, the large majority of this foundation’s giving goes to STEM education initiatives, with an emphasis on engineering in some programs and mostly serving areas where Broadcom operates. There are some more specific niche programs, but funding is mostly split between support for universities and science competitions.

IP TAKE: Broadcom is really into sponsoring and providing training for science competitions, particularly in regions where the corporation operates. But it also gives unrestricted funds to universities, which are identified by a committee. University funding is invite-only, but the STEM / Community program is more open.

PROFILE: When Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli was a kid, his shop teacher allowed him to take a shot at building a shortwave radio, a project well above the heads of most seventh graders. When he pulled it off, it pretty much locked him in for a life working in tech and engineering. So now that his company is a Fortune 500 leader in semiconductor and electronics, its corporate foundation supports work that “inspires young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through collaborations with community organizations, non-profits, educational institutions and universities that promote project-based learning.”

Broadcom Foundation plays by rules similar to what you see at a lot of corporate foundations. For one, it gives primarily in places where the company operates. It also supports a lot of community projects, especially those its employees can volunteer with. And it mostly gives by invitation only, tending to lean heavily on its favorite programs.

All that said, Broadcom gives to a lot of STEM education, running the gamut from younger kids up to grad students. One of the foundation’s preferred outlets is science competitions.

Broadcom’s flagship program is a project sponsored by the foundation and administered by the Society for Science and the Public is MASTERS. The program, as Broadcom puts it, “the premier science and engineering competition for middle school students around the world.” The U.S. competition hosts sixth, seventh and eighth graders, who vie for cash prizes that can benefit them, their teachers and their schools. Aside from the prizes, Broadcom hopes the competitions spark a love of science during a formative time in life. There’s also an international MASTERS program that serves more than a dozen countries.

Along those same lines, the Foundation backs other local and regional science fairs affiliated with SSP that are held near Broadcom facilities, inviting employees from the company to volunteer as organizers and judges. Really hammering down on those science fairs, there’s another subprogram that helps middle school teachers learn how to effectively participate in science fairs and other project-based instruction. The other main pre-college program involves cash prizes awarded to outstanding STEM teachers.

For college-level funding, Broadcom “supports innovative research around the world to foster innovation, insight and leadership in engineering, communications and related fields...among leading universities in key regions where Broadcom has a presence.” California universities have been major beneficiaries of Broadcom funding, but the foundation supports prominent university engineering programs across the country and around the world.

In addition to its giving areas, Broadcom also encourages volunteerism among its employees and has collaborated with outside organizations to develop additional STEM learning resources such as Design_CODE_Build, day-long, “scalable, out-of-school education experience for middle school students” on computer coding developed in partnership with the Computer History Museum. It is also a founding member of National STEM Funders Network, whose “STEM Ecosystem Initiative is a nationwide program designed to create opportunities for young people to have equitable access to education in science, technology, engineering, and math through formal and informal learning pathways.”

Lastly, on a more modest level Broadcom is also a supporter of local STEM education and local Community work. Unsolicited project proposals for $2,500 or less are accepted between April 30 to June 30 each year (be sure to confirm that your organization qualifies for funding before starting the application).

Again, most of this funding is invite-only. However, the foundation does invite interested parties to contact Executive Director Paula Golden at You can also try calling them directly at (949) 926-9500.


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